Who, exactly, was responsible for the preservation of knowledge about the past? How did people preserve their recollections and pass them on to the next generation? Did they write them down or did they hand then on orally? The book is concerned with the memories of medieval people. In the Middle Ages, as now, men and women collected stories about the past and handed them down to posterity. Many memories centre in the aristocratic family or lineage while others are focussed on institutions such as monasteries or nunneries. The family and monastic contexts clearly illustrate that remembrance of the past was a task for men and women and that each sex had a specific gendered role. Memory also involves selection of what should and should not be remembered and its corollary, amnesia, therefore, is discussed. Anchored in the present, memory casts a shadow on the future and thus prophecies form an important component of the cult of remembrance. For the first time in Medieval Memories, tombstones, medieval encyclopaedias and legal testimonies figure alongside moral guidebooks, miracle stories and chronicles as material for the gendered perceptions of the medieval past.
This book examines how medieval readers interpreted and used history as presented to them in ancient documents and how this interpretation differs from and resembles that proposed by modern historians.
In antiquity and the Middle Ages, memory was a craft, and certain actions and tools were thought to be necessary for its creation and recollection. Until now, however, many of the most important visual and textual sources on the topic have remained untranslated or otherwise difficult to consult. Mary Carruthers and Jan M. Ziolkowski bring together the texts and visual images from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries that are central to an understanding of memory and memory technique. These sources are now made available for a wider audience of students of medieval and early modern history and culture and readers with an interest in memory, mnemonics, and the synergy of text and image. The art of memory was most importantly associated in the Middle Ages with composition, and those who practiced the craft used it to make new prayers, sermons, pictures, and music. The mixing of visual and verbal media was commonplace throughout medieval cultures: pictures contained visual puns, words were often verbal paintings, and both were used equally as tools for making thoughts. The ability to create pictures in one's own mind was essential to medieval cognitive technique and imagination, and the intensely pictorial and affective qualities of medieval art and literature were generative, creative devices in themselves.
In medieval society and culture, memory occupied a unique position. It was central to intellectual life and the medieval understanding of the human mind. Commemoration of the dead was also a fundamental Christian activity. Above all, the past - and the memory of it - occupied a central position in medieval thinking, from ideas concerning the family unit to those shaping political institutions. Focusing on France but incorporating studies from further afield, this collection of essays marks an important new contribution to the study of medieval memory and commemoration. Arranged thematically, each part highlights how memory cannot be studied in isolation, but instead intersects with many other areas of medieval scholarship, including art history, historiography, intellectual history, and the study of religious culture. Key themes in the study of memory are explored, such as collective memory, the links between memory and identity, the fallibility of memory, and the linking of memory to the future, as an anticipation of what is to come.
Remembering the past in the Middle Ages is a subject that is usually perceived as a study of chronicles and annals written by monks in monasteries. Following in the footsteps of early Christian historians such as Eusebius and St Augustine, the medieval chroniclers are thought of as men isolated in their monastic institutions, writing about the world around them. As the sole members of their society versed in literacy, they had a monopoly on the knowledge of the past as preserved in learned histories, which they themselves updated and continued. A self-perpetuating cycle of monks writing chronicles, which were read, updated and continued by the next generation, so the argument goes, remained the vehicle for a narrative tradition of historical writing for the rest of the Middle Ages. Elisabeth van Houts forcefully challenges this view and emphasises the collaboration between men and women in the memorial tradition of the Middle Ages through both narrative sources (chronicles, saints' lives and miracles) and material culture (objects such as jewellery, memorial stones and sacred vessels). Men may have dominated the pages of literature from the period, but they would not have had half the stories to write about if women had not told them: thus the remembrance of the past was a human experience shared equally between men and women.
Examines a range of texts commemorating European holy women from the ninth through fifteenth centuries. Explores the relationship between memorial practices and identity formation. Draws upon much of the recent scholarly interest in the nature and uses of memory.
Winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award and Society of Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award This bold challenge to conventional notions about medieval music disputes the assumption of pure literacy and replaces it with a more complex picture of a world in which literacy and orality interacted. Asking such fundamental questions as how singers managed to memorize such an enormous amount of music and how music composed in the mind rather than in writing affected musical style, Anna Maria Busse Berger explores the impact of the art of memory on the composition and transmission of medieval music. Her fresh, innovative study shows that although writing allowed composers to work out pieces in the mind, it did not make memorization redundant but allowed for new ways to commit material to memory. Since some of the polyphonic music from the twelfth century and later was written down, scholars have long assumed that it was all composed and transmitted in written form. Our understanding of medieval music has been profoundly shaped by German philologists from the beginning of the last century who approached medieval music as if it were no different from music of the nineteenth century. But Medieval Music and the Art of Memory deftly demonstrates that the fact that a piece was written down does not necessarily mean that it was conceived and transmitted in writing. Busse Berger's new model, one that emphasizes the interplay of literate and oral composition and transmission, deepens and enriches current understandings of medieval music and opens the field for fresh interpretations.
Karl Valentin once asked: "How can it be that only as much happens as fits into the newspaper the next day?" He focussed on the problem that information of the past has to be organised, arranged and above all: selected and put into form in order to be perceived as a whole. In this sense, the process of selection must be seen as the fundamental moment – the “Urszene” – of making History. This book shows selection as highly creative act. With the richness of early medieval material it can be demonstrated that creative selection was omnipresent and took place even in unexpected text genres. The book demonstrates the variety how premodern authors dealt with "unimportant", unpleasant or unwanted past. It provides a general overview for regions and text genres in early medieval Europe.
The essays in this volume cover lyric, hagiography, clerical verse narrative, frontier balladry, historical and codicological studies, and include the draft of an unpublished essay found amongst Professor Deyermond's papers.
This interdisciplinary handbook provides extensive information about research in medieval studies and its most important results over the last decades. The handbook is a reference work which enables the readers to quickly and purposely gain insight into the important research discussions and to inform themselves about the current status of research in the field. The handbook consists of four parts. The first, large section offers articles on all of the main disciplines and discussions of the field. The second section presents articles on the key concepts of modern medieval studies and the debates therein. The third section is a lexicon of the most important text genres of the Middle Ages. The fourth section provides an international bio-bibliographical lexicon of the most prominent medievalists in all disciplines. A comprehensive bibliography rounds off the compendium. The result is a reference work which exhaustively documents the current status of research in medieval studies and brings the disciplines and experts of the field together.