‘Martin fights in July, and he strikes St. Vaast with the font.’: Cisiojanus and a child’s alphabet in Oxford, Bodleian, MS Rawlinson Liturgical E 40

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Abstract

The manuscript Oxford, Bodleian, MS Rawlinson Liturgical E 40 is prayer book made in three parts: a calendar with a Cisiojanus in French; an alphabet and some basic texts given to children in Latin; and finally Latin prayers with indulgences. The manuscript has been described in two catalogues, which date it to the fourteenth century and the sixteenth, respectively. Here we re-evaluate the manuscript’s contents and structure and analyze the Cisiojanus (providing an annotated edition of this unusual and largely unknown poem), in order to re-date the manuscript and suggest a context for its genesis. We propose that the manuscript was made at the end of the fifteenth century in a retardataire style for a noble child in Paris as an ‘instant heirloom’. It was constructed in stages to help the child learn to read.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-521
Number of pages29
JournalCahiers de Recherches Médiévales et Humanistes / A Journal of Medieval and Humanistic Studies
Volume19
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Medieval manuscripts
  • Children's literature

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