Publishing the Grail in Medieval and Renaissance France

November 2017
23 black and white, 3 line illustrations
224 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Arthurian Studies
BISAC LIT011000, LIT004150, LAN027000

Publishing the Grail in Medieval and Renaissance France

Leah Tether

The early "publishing industry" examined through the prism of the Grail legend.
The Grail is one of the most enduring literary motifs in publishing history. In spite of an ever-changing world, the reading public has maintained a fascination for this enigmatic object, as well as the various adventures and characters associated with it. But the nature and reception of the Grail have not remained static. Thanks to the fact that the first known author of a Grail story, Chrétien de Troyes, died c.1180-90 before completing his tale and revealing the meaning of the Grail, authors and publishers across history have reimagined, reinterpreted and re-packaged Grail literature so as to appeal to the developing tastes and interests of their target audiences.
This book analyses the developing publication practices associated with French Grail literature in medieval and Renaissance France. Arguing for pre-print book production as constituting an early incarnation of a publishing trade, it discusses such matters as the disclosure of authorship and patronage, and the writing and formatting of blurbs, as well as tactics of compilation and production techniques that bear evidence of common commercial motivations between pre- and post-print publication. The distinctive investigation of manuscript and early-print evidence brings medieval and early-modern publishers and their concepts of both product and market into focus.

Leah Tether is Reader in Medieval Literature and Digital Cultures, and Co-Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Bristol. She is the author of The Continuations of Chrétien's Perceval: Content and Construction, Extension and Ending (D.S. Brewer, 2012).

Table of Contents

Introduction: Grail Literature in France c. 1180-1530
Publishing in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Blurbing the Grail
Disclosing the Author
Re-packaging the Grail
All PR is Good PR: Patron Relations


Adds a new dimension to existing codicological and literary analyses of the Grail corpus, shining a light on how commercial and marketing concerns underscored the production of medieval literature, as well as highlighting the usually invisible work of the publisher(s). MEDIUM AEVUM

Writing in a lively and engaging style, Leah Tether masterfully draws together recent scholarship on script to print.A useful synthesis which invites further study. THE LIBRARY

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