As the recent bloom of literary scholarship around manuscripts shows, the longstanding desire to correct and emend their lessons has ceded to an appreciation of what we can learn about medieval reading and writing practices from them. This paper addresses the question of genre through three apparently disparate manuscripts associated with the Augustinian canons at Oxford in the early thirteenth century. United by 1300 into a single codex that was later bound into the larger Edwardes manuscript, Gui de Warewic, La Chanson de Guillaume, and the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle share a scribe, a lettrine artist, and a concern with acceptable Christian conduct that leads to the suggestion that the manuscript functioned as a reference codex of exemplary history. While a baronial household could have used such a manuscript, library evidence points to the possibility of Augustinian ownership of the completed codex. In addition, the Oxford houses of regular canons, Oseney Abbey and St. Frideswide’s Priory, were unusually involved in the care of their dependent churches; additional testimony from a fourth contemporary, related manuscript, Brother Angier’s Dialogues, reveals the importance of caring for sinners. Though at first glance Gui de Warewic, La Chanson de Guillaume, and the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle seem firmly rooted in the secular, lay sphere, putting their codex in context hints at an unexpected destination: as a tool for Augustinian pastoral care.
"A Tool for Exemplary Pastoral Care: Three Booklets of the Edwardes Manuscript in Context,"
Manuscript Studies: Vol. 2
, Article 2.
Available at: https://repository.upenn.edu/mss_sims/vol2/iss2/2