Book Series Cursor Mundi, vol. 34

Text, Transmission, and Transformation in the European Middle Ages, 1000–1500

Carrie Griffin, Emer Purcell (eds)

  • Pages: xxii + 245 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:4 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2018

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56740-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56741-9
  • E-book
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Explores the movement and exchange of texts and ideas across boundaries and geographical spaces in medieval Europe, relating Anglophone and Latinate writings as well as in a broad range of other vernaculars.


“As it stands, this is an interesting volume for those interested in the complex philology associated with medieval textuality, translation, and transmission. The editors can be commended for bringing together this eclectic collection and maintaining a strong through line amongst the essays. With greater editorial encouragement, more of the essays might have been able to speak more broadly to the cultural and political considerations at play in these processes as well.” (Juanita Feros Ruys, in Francia-Recensio, 4, 2019)

“The fact that the chapters are concerned with varied contexts, with languages other than Latin, and--at least when it comes to the academic attention they have garnered--with sometimes marginal texts, makes the volume's contribution to the field of textual transmission even greater. While not without its flaws, it is well worth reading, and will be of use both to experts on the respective texts analyzed, and to anyone interested in the transmission of texts and ideas in Medieval Europe.” (Shari Boodts, in The Medieval Review, 13/08/2020)

“All in all, the editors are to be commended on bringing together such a diverse mix of essays all centered on a strong theoretical approach. They address questions of textual trustworthiness and reliability or lack thereof as a result of textual transmission and interpretation (…) All this is achieved while still managing to offer highly specialized and concentrated essays that are, without a doubt, examples of the type of close readings all academics should strive to produce.” (Yasmine Beale-Rivaya, in Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval, 27/1, 2020, p. 185)

Text, Transmission, and Transformation in the European Middle Ages makes a valuable contribution to medieval studies and scholars of all disciplines will find something of interest in its pages. The editors further demonstrate the value of exploring a particular theme or concept across different periods, regions, and disciplines.”(Elisabeth Rolston, in Parergon, 37/1, 2020, p. 256-257)




Carrie Griffin ( is Lecturer in English at the Univeristy of Limerick. She writes on English manuscript and early print culture, on instructional texts, and on early modern drama and outlaw literature. 

Emer Purcell ( is Publications Officer with the National University of Ireland. She has published widely on the history of the vikings in Ireland and medieval Dublin. Her research interests focus on settlement, identity, and cultural interaction in medieval Ireland.


These essays are concerned primarily with the different ways in which European writers, translators, and readers engaged with texts and concepts, and with the movement and exchange of those texts and ideas across boundaries and geographical spaces. It brings together new research on Anglophone and Latinate writings, as well as on other vernaculars, among them Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval Irish, Welsh, Arabic, Middle Dutch, Middle German, French, and Italian, including texts and ideas that are experienced in aural and oral contexts, such as in music and song. Texts are examined not in isolation but in direct relation and as responses to wider European culture; several of the contributions theorize the translation of works, for example, those relating to spiritual instruction and prayer, into other languages and new contexts.

The essayists share a common concern, then, with the transmission and translation of texts, examining what happens to material when it moves into contexts other than the one in which it was produced; the influence that scribes, translators, and readers have on textual materiality and also on reception; and the intermingling different textual traditions and genres. Thus they foreground the variety and mobility of textual cultures of the Middle Ages in Europe, both locally and nationally, and speak to the profound connections and synergies between peoples and nations traceable in the movement and interpretation of texts, versions, and ideas. Together the essays reconstruct an outward-looking, networked, and engaged Europe in which people used texts in order to communicate, discover, and explore, as well as to record and preserve.



Aspects of the Narrative Development and Textual Transmission of the Voyaging of Saint Columba’s Clerics — KEVIN MURRAY

Translating a Tradition: The Rune Poems of Anglo-Saxon England and Medieval Scandinavia — TOM BIRKETT

Something Gained in the Translation: Liturgical Quotation, Paraphrase, and Translation in the Fifteenth-Century English Carols  — BETH ANN ZAMZOW

An Inter-Religious Example of Translation, Transmission, and Dissemination: The Alchoran latinus of  1143 — ANTHONY LAPPIN

Blinded By the Light: Medieval Optical Physics in Dante’s Paradiso — KRISTA RASCOE

From England to Iberia: The Transmission of Marginal Elements in the Iberian Translations of Gower’s Confessio Amantis — TAMARA PÉREZ-FERNÁNDEZ

Libri Corrigendi: Revising the Topographia Hibernica — NÓIRÍN NÍ BHEAGLAOI

Translating the Expugnatio Hibernica: a Vernacular English History in Late Medieval Ireland — CAOIMHE WHELAN

Reaching Readers, Influencing Ideas: The Dynamics of the Distribution of Vernacular Texts in the Later Middle Ages — ANNA DLABAČOVÁ

Transmission and Selection: Instructing the Parish Clergy in Late Medieval Germany — MATT WRANOVIX