By Kimberly K. Bell, Julie Nelson Couch
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Extra info for The Texts and Contexts of Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 108: The Shaping of English Vernacular Narrative
Life of St. Alexius. Etc. , 69 (London: N. , 1878), 20–79. fol. 237r–v: “Somer Soneday” (3838); Rossell Hope Robbins, ed. Historical Poems of the XIVth and XVth Centuries (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959), 98–102. fol. 238: Attributes of Virgin and Christ (496); Rossell Hope Robbins, ed. Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Centuries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952), 241. fol. 238v: 1 eight-line stanza (145); Robbins, ed. Secular Lyrics, 100. fol. 238v: Moral precepts; four long lines (477).
44 At the same time, the spiritual themes and forms that thread through the manuscript suggest a devout one. In fact, all of the L narrators urge prayer for the reader or writer’s personal salvation, positioning a prayerful stance as the natural response to reading or hearing each narrative. At the end of each narrated saint’s life and death, the addressee is enjoined to deploy the reading/hearing of each saint as a prayer for his or her soul: “Nou god graunti þat we mote with him [St. 232). In like manner, the narrators of Havelok and Horn also request God to lead the souls of the dead protagonists (Horn 1643–44) or the soul of the writer himself who has “þe rym maked” (Havelok 2999) to “heuene” (Horn 1644).
Part Two, “The Manuscript and Its Texts” brings such features as well as other literary considerations to bear on contextualized interpretation of the texts contained in the manuscript. Conceived as a whole book, these chapters engage in a critical conversation about the intertextual relationships among the L texts and address the manner in which the physical features of the manuscript reinforce and support such dialectic exchanges. Many agree, others do not, and of course, these investigations leave room for further study.
The Texts and Contexts of Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 108: The Shaping of English Vernacular Narrative by Kimberly K. Bell, Julie Nelson Couch