Book Series Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, vol. 13

Strategies of Writing

Studies on Text and Trust in the Middle Ages: Papers from “Trust in Writing in the Middle Ages” (Utrecht, 28-29 November 2002)

Petra Schulte, Marco Mostert, Irene van Renswoude (eds)

  • Pages: 414 p.
  • Size:160 x 240 mm
  • Illustrations:36 b/w
  • Language(s):English, German
  • Publication Year:2008

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51758-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53933-1
  • E-book
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"Beyond the authors' insightful responses to the topic, these studies stand as examples of multidisciplinary scholarship at its best, and the volume overall stands as a welcome and worthy addition to the Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy series." (J. Herold, in: The Medieval Review, 10.05.17)


Trust is the basis of all social relations. A society in which trust is not assured, will not, in the end, endure. Trust presupposes the concordance of word and deed. Rather than an emotion, trust is an attitude based on experience. It is not created spontaneously, but requires a process of observation and socialization. This implies that the preconditions for trust are culturally determined and subject to change. Trust is expressed through communication. Writing may engender trust, and trust may be placed in written texts. The contributions to this volume address the complex relationships between ‘trust’ and ‘writing’ in the Middle Ages. They deal with charters, historiography, letters, political communication, and the possibilities of trust in writing. Some of the questions addressed are: Does writing as a medium engender trust irrespective of the contents of the written text? Was trust in writing dependent on trust in an authority? Are there suggestions that the written form of the text was meant to confer trust on its contents? Did rituals take place (before or during the writing of the text, or during its handing over to the recipient) that were meant to enhance the text’s trustworthiness? Can changes be observed in the strategies of engendering trust? Was trust considered food for reflection in written texts? What was considered to constitute a breach of trust? The volume is dedicated to Michael Clanchy, whose work inspired much of its contents.