Hardman, Phillipa. “Compiling the nation: fifteenth-century miscellany manuscripts.”Nation, Court and Culture. Ed Helen Cooney.
In this article Phillipa Hardman points to the apparent “Englishness in the Auchinleck MS” (50) as a possible “controlling interest” in later manuscripts. She sets out to compare later manuscripts to Auchinleck in an attempt to show shifts in the strength of the national identity of English speaking people. In this article she compares Auchinleck to The Thorton Lincoln and London MS, the Heege Manuscript, and the Cambridge University MS.
- Auchenlek v Thortons
The Auchenlek MS was written for family use whereas the Thorton was written for an educator. Because of this the Auchenlek MS uses instructional verse and the Thorton uses more complicated prose. They both stress the importance of religious teachings being written in English, and English History.
The Auchenlek MS seems to be written for people with a simpler world view than the Thorton MS, as seen in the differing views on the crusades. (60).
- Auchenlek v Heege MS
Similar to Auchenlek in that it is intended to be used by the entire household, but not interested in English history. Rather than recording events in history, this manuscript seems to be a record of national feeling. This manuscript was compiled after England had felt the negative effects of war, the poems stress the importance of peace (63). This manuscript is also concerned that the difficulties of the recent past reflect God’s displeasure and that the current peace can only be maintained by pleasing God (64). National feelings are expressed in this manuscript by the desire for a unity among English people in order to please God (66).
- Auchenlek v MS Cul FF 2. 38
Unlike Auchenlek this was recorded by a single scribe but it still seems to be intended for family use. This MS does not include histories or Arthurian romances. This MS reflects a loss of consciousness of using the English language in that it never explains why it is in English and does not use any Latin verse (67).This manuscript seems to understand England as a place, and gives geographic evidence in Guy of Warwick.
Why do you think that Histories seem to become less popular in later manuscripts?
The Thorton MS differ from all the other MS in that it was written for personal use of someone who saw himself as an educator rather than for the education of a household. How is this reflected in the contents of the MS?
I was surprised when I read about the Thorton MS’s comparison of Henry V to Christ (58). It seems that the later manuscripts move away from this attitude by copying works like Sir Ysumbras which emphasizes that worldly pleasures are from God and can be taken away from God. Why do you think that Thorton’s attitude is so different here?