Materiality and Medieval Oral Tradition
|Peter Ramey 1 post(s)||
A particularly fruitful direction for future studies in medieval oral-derived literature is the intersection of material and oral traditional aspects of texts. In many respects, some excellent work has already been carried out in this area--folks working with manuscripts and the role oral tradition plays in manuscript encoding and transmission, for example. Recently Lori Garner has studied the interplay of Anglo-Saxon architecture and Old English oral poetics as well. Numerous--limitless--other lines of inquiry might be explored, complementing the "material" turn in literary studies as a whole. In particular, the burgeoning critical category frequently labeled "history of the book" might prove (somewhat paradoxically, perhaps), to be particularly ripe for further exploration from oral-traditional angles. Oral Traditional scholarship has long outgrown the simple dichotomous view of oral-literary, although those unfamiliar with recent work sometimes still presuppose this mid-20th century conceptual framework. More in-depth explorations of early book history and oral tradition will put this dichotomy to rest, once and for all.
So how might such an approach proceed? I'm currently working on a book project that considers the Old English "writing riddles" in terms of the interplay of oral tradition and early book production. This might be a useful forum for sharing ideas in this area. Any thoughts?
|Rebecca Rich... 1 post(s)||
Actually, I have been considering this interplay between materiality and orality myself with regard to the Cotton Nero A.x MS that contains Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I have been looking at the placement of the ornamented capitals within that text and their proximity to oral traditional heroic themes. I think this might be one area that could be expanded and then help us to break down that oral/literate dichotomy, especially since this is a fourteenth-century text.
I'd also be interested in others' thoughts about such an approach like you, Peter, suggest.
|Raymond F. P... 2 post(s)||In a forthcoming essay I draw from medieval studies (O'Brien O'Keefe, Doane, Lionarons) to support my understanding of the relationship between multiformity in oral traditions and the textual plurality of ancient texts (Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew Bible). I think this kind of work, especially with regards to the materiality of the Dead Sea Scrolls, holds great promise and my work is moving in this direction. If you would like an electronic copy of this forthcoming essay, let me know.|