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Making Their Presence Felt: Readers Of Ælfric, C. 1050-1350

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Chapter Summary

Ælfric's reputation as a scholar and leading religious writer was acknowledged even within his own lifetime, when Archbishop Wulfstan of York wrote to him seeking advice on pastoral care. This reputation, coupled with his well-developed skills of self-promotion, helped establish Ælfric's corpus of public writings. Fresh analyses of the surviving manuscripts are indicating that, the Anglo-Saxon homiletic and hagiographic traditions, the legal and medical, computistical and grammatical traditions continued well into the twelfth century and beyond in many writing centres in England, and continued in ways that suggest dynamic and meaningful engagements by manuscript compilers, editors and scribes with the material that they had copied. The annotations, nota, interlinear alterations, and glosses are absolutely typical of this kind of activity witnessed in many of the manuscripts surviving from the period, and of the similar activities of readers in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

Keywords: Ælfric's reputation; Anglo-Saxon homiletic tradition



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