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Title: The power of not reading : amulet rolls in medieval England
Authors: Hindley, Katherine Storm
Keywords: Humanities::Language::English
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: De Gruyter
Source: Hindley, K. S. (2019). The power of not reading : amulet rolls in medieval England. In S. G. Holz, J. Peltzer, & M. Shirota (Eds.), The Roll in England and France in the Late Middle Ages (pp. 289-306). doi:10.1515/9783110645125-011
Abstract: Faced with a text to copy, a medieval scribe or patron might also be faced with a choice: what form should the new copy take? As discussed elsewhere in this volume, certain types of document and certain bureaucratic institutions tended towards using either the roll or the codex. For many other texts, however, the decision of whether to create a copy in a codex or a roll seems to have been dictated neither by the text’s content nor by the workshop making the copy. For example, the same fifteenth-century workshop produced genealogical chronicles with closely related texts in roll form, codex form, and as a hybrid ‘roll-codex’.1 The religious poem ‘O Vernicle’ is another instance of a text that circulated in multiple forms. It survives in twenty manuscript copies, ten of which are codices and ten of which are rolls.2 The decision to produce such texts in roll form likely rested, therefore, on a combination of factors relating to the preferences of the scribe or patron, the practicalities of each form, and the interaction between the content of the text and the cultural meaning of the roll. This article examines amulet rolls as one type of manuscript in which the practicalities and impracticalities of the roll form contributed profoundly to the meaning of the textual object. The form adds to the object’s amuletic power through the orientation of the writing and through the physical interactions it encourages. As I argue here, the features of the amulet roll assure its user that its texts will function whether or not they are read.
ISBN: 978-3-11-064512-5
DOI: 10.1515/9783110645125-011
Rights: © 2019 Katherine Storm Hindley, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Books & Book Chapters

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