Book Series Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, vol. 46

Words in the Middle Ages / Les Mots au Moyen Âge

Victoria Turner, Vincent Debiais (eds)

  • Pages: vi + 340 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:100 b/w, 6 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English, French
  • Publication Year:2020

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58795-0
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58796-7
  • E-book
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A return to words of the Middle Ages in and of themselves, tracing the status of the medieval word from ontology to usage, encompassing its visual, acoustic, linguistic, and extralinguistic forms.


“(…) the essays nevertheless suggest numerous points of connection between material objects and words in their various linguistic and graphic properties.” (Adam Oberlin, in The Medieval Review, 22.04.19)


Vincent Debiais is full researcher at the Centre de recherches historiques (EHESS, Paris)
Victoria Turner is Lecturer in French at the University of St Andrews.


This collection of essays is a return to words of the Middle Ages in and of themselves, uniting philologists, historians, epigraphers, palaeographers, and art historians. It probes the intellectual, technical, and aesthetic principles that underpin their use and social function in medieval graphical practices, from epigraphy and inscriptions, to poetics, ‘mots’, and ‘paroles’. By analysing the material and symbolic properties of a particular medium, the conditions in which texts become signs, and scribal expertise, the contributors address questions that initially seem simple yet which define the very foundations of medieval written culture. What is a word? What are its components? How does it appear in a given medium? What is the relationship between word and text, word and letter, word and medium, word and reader? In a Middle Ages forever torn between economic and extravagant language, this volume traces the status of the medieval word from ontology to usage, encompassing its visual, acoustic, linguistic, and extralinguistic forms.



Words with Masks: A Note on the Nomenclature of Some Late Medieval Initials — ADRIAN PAPAHAGI

Words as Graphic and Linguistic Structures: Word Spacing in Psalm 101 Domine exaudi orationem meam (Eleventh-Fifteenth Centuries) — DOMINIQUE STUTZMANN

Managing a Living Book: The Planning and the Use of Page Surface in Parish Obituaries in the Late Medieval Diocese of Strasbourg  — ANNE RAUNER

Correction of Liturgical Words, and Words of Liturgical Correctio in the Ordines Romani of Saint Amand — ARTHUR WESTWELL

Aligning Word and Deed: The Emergence of Confessor as a Priest Who Hears Confession — JENNIFER M. FELTMAN

The Origin of the Text and the Authority of the Word in Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’Arimathie — LUCAS WOOD

Kisses on Stitches: Words of Active Fetishisation of Cloth Bodies in Old French Romance — MORGAN BOHARSKI

Quacktrap: Glosses and Multilingual Animal Contact in the Tretiz of Walter of Bibbesworth — LIAM LEWIS

Un règne sans roi: Le non-dit du temps dans quelques inscriptions de la Gaule du haut Moyen Âge — MORGANE UBERTI

Nommer, couper, incorporer: Quand le nom rencontre le corps de l’image — ESTELLE INGRAND-VARENNE

Mirror Writing in Devotional Texts and Images — KATJA AIRAKSINEN-MONIER

Encircling Inscriptions in Early Byzantine and Carolingian Sacral Buildings — CAROLINE SCHÄRLI

Épigraphie et création artistique à l’époque romane: Le paysage monumental du Haut-Aragon autour de 1100 — FRANCISCO DE ASÍS GARCÍA GARCÍA

Between Written and Spoken Words: The Use and Function of Inscriptions on Medieval Baptismal Fonts — JÖRG WIDMAIER

Résumés – Abstracts