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The Latin Literature Of The Late Middle Ages: Constructions Of A Period

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Chapter Summary

Representations of literary history follow the rules of serialism, onedimensionality, and continuity: First of all, the texts are presented as chronologically successive and, secondly, as characteristic of the respective epoch; thirdly, the texts are presented in such a way that a specific text—or a specific group of texts—derives logically, genetically, and harmoniously from another text or group of texts. It is obvious that this philological construction cannot be applied to any literature as differently structured as medieval Latin literature, which is organized mainly in relation to ancient-pagan, biblical, and patristic models. Due to the intrinsically meta-epochal layout of Latin literature, it would be natural not to speak of the ‘Latin literature of the late Middle Ages,’ but rather—neutrally and exclusively chronologically—of the ‘Latin literature during the late Middle Ages.’.

Keywords: late Middle Ages; Latin literature; literary history; philological construction

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