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The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English LiteratureVolume 1: 800–1558$
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Rita Copeland

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587230

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587230.001.0001

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The Transmission and Circulation of Classical Literature

The Transmission and Circulation of Classical Literature

Libraries and Florilegia

Chapter:
(p.95) Chapter 6 The Transmission and Circulation of Classical Literature
Source:
The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature
Author(s):

James Willoughby

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587230.003.0006

This chapter charts the survival and transmission of classical literature through the medieval libraries of England. For the Anglo-Saxon period, there are only sparse remains of the books themselves, although other forms of evidence witness a significant interest in classical literature. The expansion of English libraries after the Norman Conquest saw monastic scriptoria producing books to fit the conception of a now standard library, in which classical works took their place in a recognized cursus of learning. The holdings of some of the more notable libraries are considered here. Classical texts, used in the schoolroom, came to be valued as collections of grammatical or rhetorical exempla, from which the compilation of phrases from common authorities into textbooks was a natural consequence. Such florilegia became common from the twelfth century onwards and are discussed here. Also discussed are the libraries of the friars and the market for books at the universities.

Keywords:   medieval libraries, florilegia, textual transmission, grammar, classical literature, manuscripts, booklists

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