Medieval Letters: Between Fiction and Document (Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy)

Modern scholarship on medieval letters has often focused on the divide between fictionality and historicity. Attempts have been made to distinguish between ‘real’ letters and those that were used as stylistic models, and discussi…

Modern scholarship on medieval letters has often focused on the divide between fictionality and historicity. Attempts have been made to distinguish between ‘real’ letters and those that were used as stylistic models, and discussion has focused on how to make use of these texts as historical sources. In this volume, which draws on the proceedings of the ‘Medieval Letters between Fiction and Document’ conference held in Siena in 2013, scholars including Peter Dronke, Ronald Witt, Joan Ferrante, and Sylvie Lefèvre analyse the historical value of medieval letters in both Latin and other European languages and explore different disciplinary approaches to the field. Comprising contributions on methodology, Latin literature up to the fifteenth century, Byzantine and Romance literature, and courtly letters, this unique book also documents the debate on unedited texts–including women’s love letters–and on celebrated cases of disputed authorship such as the Epistolae duorum amantium and Dante’s Epistola to Cangrande. It thus offers a significant re-evaluation of the huge and partly unpublished heritage of medieval letters across Europe, and provides important insights into the use of these unique sources in social, literary, and legal history.

Subreality

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