Chapter

A Library of Evidence: Robert Cotton's Medieval Manuscripts and the Generation of Seventeenth-Century Prose

Jennifer Summit

in Memory's Library

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780226781716
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226781723 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226781723.003.0005
A Library of Evidence: Robert Cotton's Medieval Manuscripts and the Generation of Seventeenth-Century Prose

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This chapter focuses on the early-seventeenth-century library of Sir Robert Cotton, which represents a later stage in the history of the post-Reformation library and its response to the medieval textual past. It argues that the first users of the Cotton Library generated protocols concerning the uses of medieval manuscripts that became foundational for modern scholarship—chief among them, a conviction in the truth-wielding capacities of the original source. But they did so by effacing the original contexts and drastically altering the protocols of reading from which those manuscripts first drew their meaning.

Keywords: early seventeenth century; Sir Robert Cotton; post-Reformation library; medieval manuscripts; reading

Chapter.  24580 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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