March 22: Romancing the Findern

The second half of chapter two in OUMEM focuses on the Findern Manuscript. Olson points out ways in which “provincial location, social prestige, literary good taste and creative ability are central” to the Findern and how these qualities seem to create a more “modern perception of the past” (139).

In what ways is the Findern collection a different kind of romance manuscript than those we’ve studied so far this semester? What seemed particularly striking, interesting and different, and what might Olson mean when she suggests it’s a more modern perception of the past?

One thought on “March 22: Romancing the Findern

  1. The Findern is notable for both the nature of its content and its production process. Unlike other manuscripts that were produced during its time, the pieces in the Findern do not centrally focus on religious or spiritual themes. Instead, the pieces added to the Findern mostly focus on courtly love which makes it a sort of “love anthology.” The Findern was put together by a group of over 40 scribes under very little organized command. These scribes were of varying levels of skill and experience and many left their work unsigned, which displays a disregard for title and lacks consistency. The methods of production do not focus on detailed mechanics and credentials like other manuscripts being produced at the same time – such as the Derbyshire which was produced by a royal, elite circle of around 23 scribes. Though these two manuscripts are similar in their collaborative scribal effort, the Findern looks even more like a casual, social game in its haphazard creation. Both the Derbyshire and the Findern create a conversation between many scribes on themes of courtly love and romance, but the fact that the Findern was created in an effort by those outside of the elite, royal circle to emulate the practices of the elite, royal circle opens up conversation about a connection between geography/economical status and social attitude towards courtly love and literature in general.. The collaborative creation of the Findern allows each scribal work to take on its own personality, a sort of scribal social networking which also reveals interesting parallels between a scribe’s gender and their perception of the piece of work they were copying / their perception of the themes in the manuscript being produced.

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