contributor.author: Sharon M. Rowley

title.none: Lendinara, Lazzari, D'Arinco, eds., Form and Content of Instruction (Sharon M. Rowley)

identifier.other: baj9928.0812.001 08.12.01

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Sharon M. Rowley, Christopher Newport University, srowley@apps.cnu.edu

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2008

identifier.citation: Lendinara, Patrizia, Loredana Lazzari and Maria Amalia D'Aronco, eds. Form and Content of Instruction in Anglo-Saxon England in the Light of Contemporary Manuscript Evidence: Papers Presented at the International Conference, Udine, 6-8 April 2006. Federation Internationale des Instituts d'Etudes Medievales Textes et Etudes du Moyen Age, v. 39. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007. Pp. xiii, 539, [7]. $80 978-2-503-52591-4. ISBN: .

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 08.12.01

Lendinara, Patrizia, Loredana Lazzari and Maria Amalia D'Aronco, eds. Form and Content of Instruction in Anglo-Saxon England in the Light of Contemporary Manuscript Evidence: Papers Presented at the International Conference, Udine, 6-8 April 2006. Federation Internationale des Instituts d'Etudes Medievales Textes et Etudes du Moyen Age, v. 39. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007. Pp. xiii, 539, [7]. $80 978-2-503-52591-4. ISBN: .

Reviewed by:

Sharon M. Rowley
Christopher Newport University
srowley@apps.cnu.edu

This collection of nineteen essays focuses on educational and medical texts, along with the layout and contents of the manuscripts in which these texts survive. The "core" of the essays were first presented at the International Conference on "Form and Content of Instruction in Anglo-Saxon England in The Light of Contemporary Manuscript Evidence" at the University of Udine (2006). Both are parts of the project, "Storehouses of Wholesome Learning," which is "a joint project of Italian and Dutch scholars aimed at the study of the transmission, development and dissemination of encyclopaedic knowledge from the Mediterranean area to North Western Europe until 1200" (http://www.storehousesoflearning.com/). Form and Content brings together a wide range of scholars on a variety of topics, including glossing, illustrations, didactic dialogues, wisdom poems, Latin pedagogy and Anglo-Saxon medical texts. Although instruction and class-books have been the subject of numerous individual essays in the past, this collection is one of the first to bring together a series of essays to address these important issues. The collection is international in its scope; it makes available a significant body of twentieth-century Italian scholarship and bibliography to English-reading audiences as it explores a broad range of early English educational practices in their material contexts. By discussing medical instruction in relation to the instruction of Latin as a language, textual strategies for moral instruction and visual cues such as glossing and illustration, the collection presents an integrated approach to methods of learning in Anglo-Saxon England; as such, it provides a valuable contribution to the scholarship in the field.

The collection is divided into three sections: Manuscripts, Texts and Glosses, and Texts and Contexts. Because all of the essays deal with manuscripts, and because five out of the six essays in the last section deal with medical texts, the groupings seem less than intuitive. The seven essays dealing with medical texts would function well as a section, while Michael Drout's essay on the "Wisdom Poems" of the Exeter Book might be more logically placed with the other literary pieces. Lendinara's essay, "Instructional Manuscripts in England: The Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Codices and The Early Norman Ones," includes a detailed inventory of manuscripts used for instruction in Anglo-Saxon England. Because Lendinara explores the problem of defining educational texts as a category, her essay would serve the volume well as the introductory article. Readers unfamiliar with the depth and complexity of the field would probably benefit by beginning with Lendinara's essay.

As the collection stands, the lead essay is "London, British Library, Harley 3271: The Composition and Structure of an Eleventh-Century Anglo-Saxon Miscellany" by Lszl Sándor Chardonnens. Chardonnens presents a detailed description of London, British Library MS Harley 3271, a manuscript which the author argues should be reconsidered in relation to its use as "an educational aide" in eleventh-century England (5). Chardonnens identifies fourteen scribes across three codicological units in the manuscript. Despite the lack of concrete evidence, Chardonnens argues that the manuscript was copied at the New Minster, Winchester (17-18) and that it testifies "to the intellectual and pedagogic achievements of the Benedictine Reform" (27). Chardonnens somewhat overstates the degree to which this manuscript has been relegated to the footnotes, for example, neglecting recent discussions of the prognostic texts in Harley 3271 by Roy Liuzza ("Anglo-Saxon Prognostics in Context," ASE 30 (2001): 181-230).

The second and third essays in this section examine medical manuscripts. Maria Amalio D'Aronoco's essay, "The Transmission of Medical Knowledge in Anglo-Saxon England: The Voices of The Manuscripts," focuses on the tradition of the Old English Pharmacopoeia. She traces the features of layout and design connecting the manuscripts, such as illustrations of snakes and the use of capitals. D'Aronoco agrees with Debbie Banham that Anglo-Saxon medical writings differ from post-Conquest ones, but traces the beginning of the change to "new trends in medical writing" of the Benedictine Reform (57). Translation of the medical texts was an unprecedented practice, one that was the first step towards later changes. Patrizia Lendinara's essay follows. As I noted above, this essay provides a invaluable overview of the topic; it also includes an appendix of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts with "possible instructional use" (105).

The next essays in the section vary in subject matter. In "Cues and Clues: Palaeographical Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Scholarship," Alexander Rumble calls attention to marks such as glossing, construe marks and signe de renvoir. He argues that these markings, which vary in their form, function and purpose, need to be defined before we can understand how they were used in instructional manuscripts. Although Rumble identifies a problem, he does not offer even preliminary definitions of the markings here. Loredana Teresi examines another kind of marking--a marginal drawing--in her essay "The Drawing on The Margin of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 206, f. 38r: An Intertexual Exemplification." Teresi argues that this image has been misidentified as a rainfall map, though she admits that it resembles such maps. Instead, she discusses the image in the context of the text it accompanies, the Categoriae decem, and concludes that it functions as a gloss on that text, actually distinguishing the concepts of above and below as discussed in the text (138). While the image clearly reflects awareness of the geographical tradition associated with Macrobius' Commentarium in somnium Scipionis and therefore the rainfall maps with which it has previously been aligned, both text and map have been adapted to fit the context of CCCC 206.

Section II, "Texts and Glosses," begins with Filippa Alcamesi's discussion of "Remigius's Commentary to The Disticha Catonis in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts." Alcamesi discusses the tradition of the Disticha Catonis focusing on the glosses of Cambridge, Gonville and Caius MS 144 and the ways in which these glosses illuminate the insular transmission of the text. The glosses, which occur in Latin and the vernacular, are lexical and syntactical. Although they appear in several manuscripts, Alcamesi claims that there is no filiation between them, and that they reflect the lively tradition of the Disticha Catonis in England. Alcamesi includes descriptions of the manuscripts, and appendices of both the Remegian glosses in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and of the glossed Continental manuscripts. Maria Caterina De Bonis also looks at glosses in "Learning Latin through the Regula Sancti Benedicti: The Interlinear Glosses in London, British Library, Cotton Tiberius A.iii." The interlinear glosses in this manuscript are lexical, syntactical and grammatical. De Bonis provides an account of each type of gloss, arguing that some of the layers can be interpreted as "exercises aimed at the teaching of Latin" (193).

Claudia Di Sciacca and Concetta Giliberto shift the focus from glossing to text. Sciacca's, "An Unpublished ubi sunt Piece in Wulfstan's 'Commonplace Book': Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 190, pp. 94-6," presents a first edition and study of the homily In nomine domini. She identifies Wulfstan's sources, and discusses his use of this popular motif in relation to his own style, as well as more broadly in relation to Anglo-Saxon literature. Giliberto presents a critical edition and study in, "An Unpublished De lapidibus in Its Manuscript Tradition, with Particular Regard to the Anglo-Saxon Area." The text of De lapidibus survives in eight manuscripts, which tend to be encyclopaedic miscellanies. Giliberto's discussion of the textual transmission reflects how De lapidibus was "part of an extensive network of literary relationships connecting the various cultural institutions and monastic schools operating on the opposite shores of the Channel" (283).

The next essays discuss a variety of topics, but overlap in that each relates to Aethelwold's Winchester or Harley 3271 in some way. Chardonnens' essay might be better placed amongst these. Joyce Hill's contribution, "Aelfric's Grammatical Triad," argues that Aelfric's Grammar, Glossary, and Colloquy "did not function, and were not transmitted, as a grammatical triad in the eleventh century"(299). Hill looks at the differences in the transmission and textual contexts of all three. She weighs the clear connections between Aelfric's Grammar and Glossary and the larger grammatical tradition, along with the fact that the Glossary, (where it survives) always follows the Grammar against the separate circulation of the Colloquy and its independence from contemporary textual tradition. All three texts are, however, related to the "larger intellectual ideals of the Carolingian tradition on which Aelfric so consistently drew"(288). Loredana Lazzari examines "The Scholarly Achievements of Aethelwold and His Circle." She builds on the work of Michael Lapidge and Mechthild Gretsch to argue that Aethelwold's influence was even wider than is generally acknowledged. She examines the configuration of didactic texts and glosses in Antwerp, Museum Plantin-Moretus M.16.2 + London, British Library, Additional 32246 to argue that this manuscript was closely connected to Aethelwold's cultural milieu.

Ignazio Mauro Mirto's, "Of The Choice and Use of The Word Beatus in The Beatus quid est: Notes by a Non-Philologist," looks at the Beatus quid est: as a parsing grammar. He focuses on the use of adjectives as head-words in the nomen category, a practice which is divergent from that of other related grammars. He provides comparative evidence to demonstrate the development of a subcategory of texts using adjectives as head-words, then suggests that this practice raises questions about modifications to the structure and content of such grammars, as well as about textual connections and dating.

In "A Didactic Dialogue in Old and Middle English Versions: The Prose Solomon and Saturn and the Master of Oxford's Catechism, Hans Sauer studies these two texts in their textual and intellectual contexts. After introducing the tradition of didactic dialogues, Sauer focuses on a neglected connection between the texts, which are "almost identical" (366). He discusses the contents, structure and language of both, as well as the transmission of the texts and relation of the manuscripts. He discusses the sources, along with related texts in Latin and Icelandic. Sauer concludes that the Middle English version is not a translation of the Old English prose version, but that these texts derive independently from a Latin source.

The third and final section of the collection, "Texts and Contexts" predominantly contains essays about medical texts and manuscripts, beginning with Isabella Andorlini's "Teaching Medicine in Late Antiquity: Method, Texts and Contexts." Andorlini traces medical traditions from the Alexandrian medical canon through Byzantium and into the medieval west. She explores methods of teaching and learning in relation to practice, exploring what the manuscript evidence reveals about the extent to which teachers were involved in practice and how the students were trained (406). She identifies a "continuity of catechistic tradition" as well as the processes of translation and interpretation, then briefly considers the incorporation of Christian healing into medical practices. The next two essays draw on similar themes. Anne Van Arsdall combines New Mexican healing traditions with textual analysis in "Medical Training in Anglo-Saxon England: An Evaluation of the Evidence." For Arsdall, the manuscripts reveal "skills and understanding that cannot be verbalized" (415). Although the Old English medical manuscripts have been described as unusable, she presents evidence demonstrating that "evidence of medical training in Anglo-Saxon England is embedded in at least three relevant Old English texts" (434). Medical texts, like musical notation and recipes for cooking, require unwritten empirical skills that practitioners get through the kinds of hands-on training about which Andorlini wonders in the previous essay. In "Parallel Remedies: Old English 'Paralisin [th][ae]t is lyft adl,'" Luisa Bezzo analyzes the terms for palsy in the Anglo-Saxon corpus, identifying differences between medical and poetic uses. Medical texts engaged a specialized vocabulary that allowed physicians to distinguish between different afflictions via symptoms.

Michael D.C. Drout's essay marks a pause from the medical in this section. In "Possible Instructional Effects of the Exeter Book 'Wisdom Poems': A Benedictine Reform Context," Drout looks closely at two of the wisdom poems from the Exeter Book, The Gifts of Man and Precepts, to argue that these poems are not mere propaganda. He sees them as designed to help "monks...understand their entire culture in relation to monastic life" (465).

The final two essays deal with texts that circulate under the misleading name of Practica Petrocelli Salernitani. In "Master-Student Medical Dialogues: The Evidence of London, British Library, Sloane 2839," Florence Eliza Glaze explains the mistaken attribution as she takes a fresh look at the evidence. Her primary focus, however, is on the form and method of medical instruction in Anglo-Saxon England as evinced by the Epistola peri hereson. As Glaze demonstrates in detail, this text, which was transmitted to Anglo-Saxon England through Carolingian channels preserves the medical traditions of Ravenna. The vernacular version, the Peri Didaxeon, marks both a translation into a new target language and into a new tradition. Glaze presents an appendix of the sources used by the anonymous compiler of the Epistola peri hereson. Daniele Maion's essay "The Fortune of the Practica Petrocelli Salernitani: New Evidence and Some Considerations," studies the circulation of the larger compilation in which the Epistola peri hereson circulated. Maion demonstrates that the text was known after the middle of the eleventh century in England, after which it was widely diffused and translated. She also argues that the compilation "shows continuity beyond the Norman Conquest" and discusses connections with a group of recipes inserted into Cambridge University Library Gg.5.35. Her appendices include remedies from Sloane 475 and common readings from CUL Gg.5.35. The collection as a whole also includes indices of manuscripts, medieval authors and works, along with six plates.

In the end, this collection is itself a storehouse of impressive scholarly learning. In addition to making available a large body of Italian-language scholarship on Old English manuscripts, medicine and class-books, the collection presents new editions and valuable scholarship on a wide variety of textual, didactic, pedagogical and medical practices. There are some unfortunate typographical errors. Readers will also occasionally encounter unidiomatic usages in some of the essays written by non-native speakers of English. The depth and breadth of the collection, along with the value of the scholarship the collection makes accessible to English-speaking audiences surely compensate for any such infelicities. A more detailed introduction, followed by the Lendinara piece as the lead essay would help make the collection more accessible to scholars and students less familiar with the complexities of instructional manuscripts. Overall however, this collection makes a valuable contribution to the scholarship on instructional manuscripts from Anglo-Saxon England. It will be of use to students of medical manuscripts and knowledge, manuscript and textual studies, Latin learning, and the relationship between Anglo-Saxon England and the Continent.