Teaching Writing, Learning to Write

Teaching Writing, Learning to Write

Proceedings of the XVIth Colloquium of the Comité International de Paléographie Latine

Edited by P.R. Robinson

Essays looking at the process of teaching and learning to write in the middle ages, with evidence drawn from across Europe.
The capacity to read and write are different abilities, yet while studies of medieval readers and reading have proliferated in recent years, there has so far been little examination of how people learnt to write in the middle ages - an aspect of literacy which this volume aims to address. The papers published here discuss evidence adduced from the "a sgraffio" writing of Ancient Rome, through the attempts of scribes to model their handwriting after that of the master-scribe in a disciplined scriptorium, to the repeated copying of set phrases in a Florentine merchant's day book. They show how a careful study of handwriting witnesses the reception of the twenty-three letter Latin alphabet in different countries of medieval Europe, and its necessary adaptation to represent vernacular sounds. Monastic customaries provide evidence of teaching and learning in early scriptoria, while an investigation of the grammarians is a reminder that for the medieval scholar learning to write did not mean simply mastering the skill of holding a quill and forming one's letters properly, but also mastering a correct understanding of grammar and punctuation. Other essays consider the European reception of the so-called Arabic numbers, provide an edition of a fifteenth-century tract on how to use abbreviations correctly, and illustrate how images of writing on wax tablets and learning in school can throw light on medieval practice. The volume concludes with a paper on the ways in which a sixteenth-century amateur theologican deployed Latin, Greek and Hebrew alphabets.

P.R. Robinson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies, University of London.

Contributors: Paolo Fioretti, David Ganz, Martin Steinman, Patrizia Carmassi, Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, Annina Seiler, Alessandro Zironi, Jerzy Kaliszuk, Aslaug Ommundsen, Erik Niblaeus, Gudvardur Már Gunnlaugsson, Cristina Mantegna, Irene Ceccherini, Jesús Alturo, Carmen del Camino Martinez, Maria do Rosário Barbosa Morujao, Charles Burnett, Olaf Pluta, Lucy Freeman Sandler, Alison Stones, Berthold Kress

Table of Contents

Foreword - Pamela Robinson
Ink writing and 'A sgraffio' writing in Ancient Rome: from learning to practical use - Paolo Fioretti
Risk and fluidity in script: an Insular instance - David Ganz
Lesen und Schreiben in den Klöstern des frühen Mittelalters - Martin Steinmann
Litterae e scrittura nell'insegnamento della Grammatica in età altomedievale: premesse teoretiche e aspetti practici - Patrizia Carmassi
A School for Scribes - Aliza Cohen-Mushlin
Latinis regulis barbara nomina stringi non possunt, or how to write the vernacular - Annina Seiler
Reading and writing Gothic in the Carolingian Age - Alessandro Zironi
Latin script and the vernacular text in the Middle Ages: the case of Poland in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries - Jerzy Kaliszuk
The first Norwegian scribes and their teachers - Åslaug Ommundsen
Learning to write in southern Sweden: liturgical fragments and the creation of the culture of the book - Erik Niblaeus
Reading and writing in medieval Iceland - Gudvardur Már Gunnlaugsson
Scritture di practici, scritture di giuristi, scritture di dotti: 'scuole' ed esperienze grafiche a confronto - Cristina Mantegna
Teaching, function and social diffusion of writing in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Florence - Irene Ceccherini
L'enseignement et l'apprentissage de l'ecriture en Catalogne au Moyen Age - Jesús Alturo
Aprendizaje y modelos gráficos: entre el ámbito profesional y el privado - Carmen del Camino Martínez
Apprendre à écrire dans le Portugal médiéval. Bilan des connaissances - Maria do Rosário Morujao
Learning to write numerals in the Middle Ages - Charles Burnett
Quaedam regulae de modo titulandi seu apificandi pro novellis scriptoribus copulatae: a late-medieval tutorial for novice scribes - Olaf Pluta
'Written with the Finger of God': fourteenth-century images of scribal practice in the Lichtenthal Psalter -
The Valenciennes Papias and Learning in the grammar school in thirteenth-century France - Alison Stones
From elementary school to divine revelation: the alphabets of Paul Lautensack - Berthold Kress
Works cited
Index of Manuscripts


A brief review cannot do justice to the rich material covered in this collection, or its path-breaking potential. AMARC NEWSLETTER

[A] valuable collection of papers. YEARS WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIES

Contains much of interest to a wider audience, especially to anyone working on medieval texts and on any aspect of written culture. ENGLISH