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Title: A study of the British Library manuscripts of the Roman de Troie by Benoît de Sainte-Maure : redaction, decoration, and reception
Author: Prosser, Siân
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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Recent studies of the Roman de Troie have highlighted the need for more research on the extant manuscripts, because of the unreliable nature of the critical edition and the importance of the text to scholars of twelfth -century literature. This study seeks to contribute to knowledge of one of the most popular versions of the Troy legend in medieval France by describing and analysing two little-known manuscripts of the text. London, British Library, Additional 30863 (L2) presents an abridged version of the poem that provides insights into the reception of the poem in the early thirteenth century. London, British Library, Harley 4482 (L 1) contains a series of decorated initials which exhibit a higher than suspected level of engagement with the text on the part of the manuscript's makers. Part I of the thesis concentrates on L2, beginning in chapter 1 with a codicological and palaeographical description, and a discussion of its likely provenance. Chapter 2 develops the codicological analysis, looking at specific evidence of scribal editing and comparing the manuscript with its closest relative to see which abridgments are unique to L2. It concludes with case studies that illustrate the scribe's abridgement techniques via the presentation of the principal female characters. Chapter 3 looks at how the abridgements affect principal warrior figures such as Hector, Achilles and Penthesilee, concluding that the redactor and his public may have had a less nuanced vision of heroism than Benoit. It contrasts L2 with an abridged version of the text in Paris, BibliotMque nationale, fonds fran~ais, 375, in order to bring out the specificity of its approach. Part II focuses on L 1. Chapter 4 provides a full codicological and palaeographical description, and explores the likely provenance of the codex. Chapter 5 consists of a detailed examination of the manuscript decoration, while chapter 6 examines the reception of the Troy myth as evidenced by the contents of the historiated initials, focusing on Hector, Achilles and Penthesilee. The Harley initials are examined within the context of the illuminations of the wider manuscript tradition. Appendix I: the historiated initials of London, British Library, Harley 4482, Montpellier, Bibliotheque interuniversitaire, section medecine, H.25I, and Paris, Bibliotheque nationale, fonds fran~ais 783.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available