'Bettered by the borrower': the use of historical extracts from twelfth-century historical works in three later twelfth- and thirteenth-century historical texts
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This thesis takes as its starting point the use of extracts from the works of historical authors who wrote in England in the early to mid twelfth-century. It focuses upon the ways in which their works began to be incorporated into three particular texts in the later twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Through the medium of individual case studies – De Abbatibus (Abingdon), CCCC 139 (Durham) and The London Collection three elements are explored (i) how mediaeval writers used extracts from the works of others in ways which differed from modern practices with their concerns over charges of plagiarism and unoriginality (ii) how the structural and narrative roles which the use of extracts played within the presentation of these texts (iii) how the application of approaches developed in the twentieth century, which transformed how texts are now analysed, enabled a re-evaluation and re-interpretation of their use of source material with greater sensitivity to their original purposes This analysis casts fresh light upon the how and why these texts were produced and the means by which they fulfilled their purposes and reveals that despite their disparate origins and individual perspectives these three texts share two common features: (i) they follow a common three stage pattern of development (ii) they deal with similar issues: factional insecurities and concerns about the quality of those in power over them – using an historical perspective The analysis also reveals the range of techniques which were at the disposal of the composers of these texts, dispelling any notion that they were either unsophisticated or naïve in their handling of their source materials. Together these texts demonstrate how mediaeval authors used combinations of extracts as a means of responding quickly and flexibly to address particular concerns. Such texts were not regarded as being set in stone but rather as fluid entities which could be recombined at will in order to produce new works as required.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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