Learning and Literacy in Medieval England and Abroad, ed. S. Rees Jones (Turnhout, 2003: USML 3), x+222 pp. ISBN 2-503-51076-0.

How did people know what they knew, and learn what they learnt? As Derek Pearsall’s introduction makes clear, this is the primary focus of the collection of essays published in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the foundation of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York. The learning materials included range from grammar books to mystery plays, and from court records to monastic chronicles, as well as liturgical and devotional texts. But the essays are not only concerned with texts alone, but with the broader and often fluid social environments in which learning took place. Many of the papers therefore question the validity of some distinctions habitually used in the discussion of medieval culture, such as the opposition between orality and literacy, between Latin and the vernacular or between secular and religious.


Derek Pearsall, “Introduction”

Joyce Hill, “Learning Latin in Anglo-Saxon England: Traditions, Texts and Techniques”

John H. Arnold, “‘A Man Takes an Ox by the Horn and a Peasant by the Tongue’: Literacy, Orality and Inquisition in Medieval Languedoc”

Janet Burton, “Selby Abbey and its Twelfth-Century Historian”

Linda Olson, “Did Medieval English Women Read Augustine’s Confessiones? Constructing Feminine Interiority and Literacy in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries”

Katherine Zieman, “Reading, Singing and Understanding: Constructions of the Literacy of Women Religious in Late Medieval England”

Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, “The Women Readers in Langland’s Earliest Audience: Some Codicological Evidence”

P.H. Cullum, “Learning to Be a Man, Learning to Be a Priest in Late Medieval England”

Pamela M. King, “The York Cycle and Instruction on the Sacraments”

Debbie Cannon, “London Pride: Citizenship and the Fourteenth-Century Costumals of the City of London”

Stacey Gee, “Parochial Libraries in Pre-Reformation England”