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January 6th, 2007

Geographies of Orthodoxy

We are happy to announce that the Imagining History project team has just received funding from Britain’s Arts and Humanities Research Council for a new three-year collaborative research project. The project, entitled “Geographies of Orthodoxy: mapping Pseudo-Bonaventuran Lives of Christ, 1350-1550,” is the first extensive investigation of vernacular lives of Christ, including Nicholas Love’s Mirror, and hopes to reassess current models of vernacular theology, orthodoxy and religious dissent in the period leading up to the English Reformation(s).

The grant will allow us to appoint two postdoctoral research fellows and one doctoral student for a period of three years. The project’s principal investigator is Professor John Thompson and its co-investigators are Dr Stephen Kelly (Queen’s) and, in an exciting development, Dr Ian Johnson (St Andrew’s). As one of the leading authorities on late medieval religious writing and medieval literary theory, we are looking forward to working with Ian!

Visit the project website here:


January 6th, 2007

The Future of the Imagining History website

The Imagining History project officially ended in early 2006. However, we have been committed to developing the project website into a collaborative platform for scholarship on medieval historiographical writing. In the coming months, we hope - finally - to implement the collaborative phase of the site.

What will that involve? We hope, in the first instance, to further test the viability of the wiki software platform. Contributors will be allowed to publish MS descriptions, short entries, and so on, after completing a registration process. The collaborative phase of the site will only succeed if people collaborate so we look forward to hear from the scholarly community. Use the commenting facility below to contact us if you are interested!

November 3rd, 2006

Trivium 36

Scholars interested in the production and readership of the Middle English Prose Brut will be interested to hear about the publication of issue 36 of the annual Trivium. Edited by William Marx and Raluca Radulescu, the special issue of the annual is entitled “Readers and Writers of the Middle English Prose Brut” and includes the following essays:

Julia Marvin - Sources adn Analogues of the Anglo-Norman Prose Brut Chonicle: New Findings
Carole Weinberg - History and Chivalry in the Brut, 1333-1377
William Marx - Reception and revision in the Middle English Prose Brut
Amy Noelle Vines - ‘Thys is her owene boke’: Women Reading in the ME Prose Brut Chronicle
Tamar Drukker - I Read Therefore I Write: Readers’ Marginalia in Some Brut MSS
Elizabeth J. Bryan - Dialoguing Hands in MS Hatton 50: Reformation readers of the ME Prose Brut
Raluca Radulescu - Gentry Readers of the Brut and Genealogical Material
John Scattergood - ‘The Eyes of Memory’: the Function of the Illustrations in Dublin, TCD MS 505
Christy Desmet - Afterlives of the Prose Brut in Early Modern Chronicle and Literature

Congratulations to William and Raluca for this timely volume.

August 9th, 2006

Print Stylesheet

We’ve finally applied the new print stylesheet to the site. This cleans up all unnecessary formatting, images, etc., and provides users with a crisp grayscale print-out. Some users using old browsers - such as Internet Explorer 5 and earlier - may have difficulties; if so, please email us.

August 7th, 2006

Gavin Cole/ Rylands MSS. descriptions

Many thanks to Gavin Cole who described several of the manuscripts in the John Rylands Library  for the project team (Eng. 103 and Eng. 206).  Gavin is currently finishing his PhD thesis entitled, ‘A textual study of CV-1333 of the Middle English Prose Brut Chronicle’, a work which is eagerly anticipated by the project team.  A brief synopsis of Gavin’s doctoral research follows:

“This project investigates the  origins and dissemination of CV-1333 thorugh the examination of the textual relationships of the extant medieval witnesses to this textual version. The study considers the use of textual data both to suggest genetic relationships between the manuscripts, and to examine individual scribal reactions to the text. Making use of the Anglo-Norman Long Version, it examines not only the scribal dissemination of CV-1333 but also the relationship of CV-1333 with the AN source. This thesis suggests that acts of  translation and scribal copying both exist within a wider framework of textual revision and that these acts are interpretative as well as replicative. This study stresses the need for textual critics to investigate the text ‘in process’ and see the relation of the material witnesses to not only the postulated ’original’ or the immediate exemplar, but also to the various processes which generated them. “

Gavin’s descriptions were formed against the project’s template for manuscript description, but demonstrate his own distinctive interest and expertise in textual issues. Look out for further contributions to the website by Gavin, whose research is serving to unravel the genetic relationships encoded in the CV-1333 corpus.

If anyone would like to contribute information on the other Rylands Brut MSS., or indeed, any of the MSS. in the corpus, please contact the project team.

July 21st, 2006


… to Dr Ryan Perry and his wife Michelle. Michelle gave birth to a little boy (Christopher) yesterday evening at 5.30 pm. The baby weighed in at 8lb 8oz. Ryan has already introduced Christopher to the work of Malcolm Parkes and Ian Doyle, and is expecting young Christopher to begin work on manuscript descriptions very shortly. Watch out for his contributions!

Best wishes to Ryan, Michelle, Aime, and now Christopher from the project team. Add your congrats by commenting on this post (below).

July 21st, 2006

A(nother) New Look…

In response to user feedback and some glitches in our stylesheets, we’re currently revising the site’s page layout. The new design has already been implemented on the blog and will follow for the rest of the site next week. A print stylesheet, which will properly format MS descriptions (for example) for printing, will also follow next week.

When these revisions have been completed the site should be much easier to navigate. Thanks to those of you who commented on the previous layout…

July 7th, 2006

Description Updates

Any new exciting findings will initially be posted here on the blog before being updated in the database, so it is well worth checking in here before you investigate the Project’s main resources.  Yesterday I identified the scribe of Cambridge Corpus Christi MS. 182 as the main scribe of Harvard MS. 587 (a chap who signs himself ’Ryther Scriptor’), so these descriptions are currently under revision- this identification potentially has implications for Harvard 587’s Matheson grouping- although there are many textual and orthographic differences between the texts copied by the scribe, it is possible that the Harvard text is, like CCC MS. 182,  an EV-1419. This has been suggested to me by a comparison with the variant Henry II/ Becket heading in both texts (click the link).  The variant heading in Harvard MS. Eng. 587 occurs in the Corpus Christi MS., and I have checked another EV-1419, Princeton MS. Garret 150, where the heading also occurs.  Further checks are likely to lead to reclassification.

If you have any insights or queries regarding any updates, please reply via the blog.

July 6th, 2006

Resources Now Live…

Visitors to the site can now view the fruits of our difficult labours: we’ve made our database of MS descriptions and project wiki “live.” While we have a bit of polishing to do, and a lot of material still to add/ amend, the project is , for all intents and purposes, now complete…

For new-comers, read about the project here
To go straight to the database, click here

We would be delighted to hear your views and comments.

July 6th, 2006


Hello, and welcome to the Imagining History Project. A few points for those accessing the database. Although there is a considerable body of data already available, you may find that a manuscript description is presently pending or under construction. If you find that this is the case for a manuscript which interests you, check if there is a Long Description in the Project Wiki. If there is no Long Description please revisit the database, as Short Descriptions continue to be uploaded on a daily basis. You may also find that some of the promised Wiki links are not, as yet, live. Again, I would ask for your patience, they are coming!

Other features of the database soon to be added include some cultural mapping exercises. At present I am developing an exercise to map the connections of the Brut in its London contexts, in terms of both production and readerships. If this interests you keep an eye on the Project’s website for updates.

I will reiterate Stephen’s comments that the database is open not only to your scrutiny, but also to your contributions. Please make use of the Project’s features which allow you to comment on, query, or make additions to the information we have recorded. If you are interested in sharing your own observations on the Brut corpus or related matters, but have concerns about doing so, please email any of the Project members for advice.


The 'Imagining History' project is the first large-scale collaborative investigation of the manuscripts of the Middle English Prose Brut chronicle, arguably the most prolificly disemminated secular text of the English Middle Ages. The project explores the cultural capital of the Prose Brut within...


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