Saturday, July 09, 2011

Ekaica: Archiving Ernst Kantorowicz

Ernst Hartwig Kantorowicz died on the 8th September 1963 at his home at 22, Alexander Street, Princeton, New Jersey. His work continues to be influential within the fields of medieval and Byzantine intellectual history, political thought, and imagery. In recent years it  - or more properly an influential part of it, The King’s Two Bodies - has steadily entered the scholarly canons of less immediately ‘medieval’ or pre-modern fields. The last few years in particular have seen his models of medieval and early modern thinking about royal power discussed by students of literature, critical theory and political philosophy; ‘Kantorowicz’ the thinker has been brought into sustained conversation with Foucault, Schmitt, and Benjamin, amongst others. The influential studies of Alain Boureau and, particularly, Giorgio Agamben (Homo Sacer, State of Exception) have been crucial to this process, and the increase in the number of scholars across the disciplines engaging with Kantorowicz’s published work.  Quite what Kantorowicz the meticulous and nuanced scholar might have made of the instrumentalized (and over-simplifed) 'Kantorowicz’ encountered in some of this recent work is a question to ponder, perhaps, not least in the context of the notion of the ‘king’s two bodies’ itself.

Leslie Mitchell’s recent biography of Bowra shed some additional light on Kantorowicz the man and his close friendship with its subject Maurice Bowra: A Life (Oxford, 2010). An even more robustly concrete Ernst Kantorowicz can be seen in the ‘Ekaica’ Professor Ralph Giesey, his friend and former pupil, has generously made available on his personal website

Kantorowicz’s papers are held at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York. The Kantorowicz Collection includes letters, draft chapters and reviews, personal documentation, materials on the Berkeley loyalty-oath controversy, unpublished lectures and papers, including ‘Charles the Bald and the Natales of the King’, ‘Synthronos’, ‘Roma and the Coal’, and several other pieces listed in Dumbarton Oaks Papers 17 (1963), p. 118 as ‘abandoned’ at uncorrected proof stage after Kantorowicz’s death. The Leo Baeck Institute has digitized virtually all the Collection (photographs are, however, largely excluded). It, too, can now freely be viewed online, here. Do note, however, that the Institute has set some firm and wholly understandable restrictions: ‘Lectures are not to be published, but can be quoted.’ 

H.M. Chadwick, Studies on Anglo-Saxon Institutions

“To be taught by and to get to know well Hector Munro Chadwick was one of the most wonderful experiences in my life. He was the greatest scholar I have ever met, and one of the most remarkable characters. The stories about him are legion and, surprisingly, true.  ... Somehow we became scholarly friends, how I do not know, except that in university life (and Oxbridge often does it to perfection) that is beyond all thinking, planning and money, it is the meeting of minds and particularly the easy meeting of the established scholar and the uncertain questing young non-scholar. ... His main teaching was based extensively on non-archaeological sources: we read Tacitus and Bede, Procopius and St. Germanus, the Mabinogion and the Flattyjarbök. He showed us that we were not just archaeologists but general students of antiquity and ancient history. He himself was primarily a linguist and an historical and linguistic scholar; he mildly expected us to read everything from Greek and German and Gothic, from Beowulf to Cyndellan ... once a week when I was resident in Cambridge I went out to see him after Hall, and we talked about everything. There would always be an enormous pot of tea. I can see myself, in my mind’s eye, sitting with two dogs around me asking some fairly reasonable question. ‘Oh, don’t you know? Don’t you know?’ the old man would say, jumping up from his chair and finding a book from his shelves and explaining a passage in some Latin author or Old Norse Saga.”  Glyn Daniel, Some Small Harvest. The Memoirs of Glyn Daniel (London, 1986), pp. 82-5, heavily abridged. 

“In fact, a general feature of the Ecclesiastical History is that it is rarely illuminating on the preoccupations of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy; and this is one reason why Sir Frank Stenton’s book is curiously light on the status and culture of the early English nobility (and has little to say of Beowulf), whereas Hector Munro Chadwick, whose ear was attuned to the rhythms and themes of vernacular poetry, possessed an insight into the political and cultural history of the early Germanic peoples that has never properly been followed up.” Patrick Wormald, ‘Bede, Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon Aristocracy’, in S. Baxter, ed, The Times of Bede: Studies in Early English Christian Society and its Historian (Oxford, 2006), 30 -105, at 69.

“Chadwick was truly learned.” James Campbell, ‘The Impact of the Sutton Hoo Discovery on the Study of Anglo-Saxon History’, The Anglo-Saxon State (London, 2000), pp. 55-84, at 56.

Born at Thornhill Lees, Yorkshire, in 1870 Chadwick went up to Cambridge in 1889. He never left. A lectureship in Scandinavian was created for him in 1909, and in 1913 he followed Skeat as the Elrington and Bosworth chair of Anglo-Saxon. from which he stepped down in 1941. He became an FBA in 1925. He died in January 1947. Further biographical information: DNB entry (W. Telfer, rev. J.D. Haigh); J.M. De Navarro, ‘Hector Munro Chadwick, 1870-1947’, Proceedings of the British Academy 33 (1947), 307-30. A. Frantzen, ‘By the Numbers: Anglo-Saxon Scholarship at the Century’s End’, in A Companion to Anglo-Saxon Literature, eds, E. Treharne and P. Pulsiano (Oxford, 2001), pp, 472-95, at 478-80. Glyn Daniel’s autobiography - a finely printed volume by Thames and Hudson, a publisher that Daniel worked closely with for many years - is a rich source of material on Cambridge from the 1930s onwards, and its archaeological and Anglo-Saxonist circles (de Navarro, T.C. Lethbridge, Chadwick).  More from and about HMC in future posts, but here is his masterpiece:  

H.M. Chadwick, Studies on Anglo-Saxon Institutions (Cambridge, 1905). 

Friday, July 08, 2011

Kuypers, The Book of Cerne

Edited by Dom. A.B. Kuypers in 1902 the so-called Book of Cerne (Cambridge, UL Ll. 1.10) is one of a small number of surviving Anglo-Saxon ninth-century prayer books. Produced in Mercia (818 x 830?), perhaps at Lichfield. An acrostic poem spells out Aedeluald episcopus on fol. 21r, probably a reference to Æthelwald, Archbishop of of Lichfield, whose PASE entry can be read here, though other possible candidates have been suggested. The Book comprises private prayers of various types (though with a strong Irish element, as many have noted), several hymns, passion narratives, an abridged psalter and an early 'Harrowing of Hell'. The link to Cerne Abbas is, incidentally, later than the ninth-century material. Kuypers was the main editor, but Edmund Bishop was the author of the substantial liturgical commentary at the volume's end. A further appendix presents material from B.L. Royal 2.A.xx, the so-called Royal Prayer Book. Michelle Brown's Book of Cerne. Prayer, Patronage, and Power in Ninth-century England (London, 1996) is the indispensible guide, and discusses this edition and Bishop and Kuypers' analyses at p. 20. B. Raw, `Alfredian Piety: the Book of. Nunnaminster', in J.L. Nelson, J. Roberts, M. Godden,eds, Alfred the Wise. Studies in Honour of Janet Bately on her Sixty-fifth Birthday (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 145-53. 

A.B. Kuypers, with E. Bishop, The Prayer Book of Aedeluald the Bishop (Cambridge, 1902). 

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Joseph Wright, Grammar of the Gothic Language

"I had returned Oxford, and now disliked undergraduates and all their ways, and had begun really to know dons. Years before I had rejected as disgusting cynicism by an old vulgarian the words of warning given me by old Joseph Wright, 'What do you take Oxford for, lad?' 'A university, a place of learning.' 'Nay, lad, it's a factory! And what's it making? I'll tell you. It's making fees. Get that in your head, and you'll begin to understand what goes on.'" 
J.R.R. Tolkien, letter to Michael Tolkien, 1st November 1963, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by  H. Carpenter with C. Tolkien (Boston, 1981), no. 250, pp. 336-341, at 336. 
Joseph Wright knew more than a little about factories. Born in 1855 in Idle (near Bradford) he was the son of a cloth weaver and sometime quarryman. He began work at six, in charge of a donkey cart at the Woodend quarry. By seven he was a bobbin doffer in Titus Salt's mill in the Aire valley, leaving the spinning sheds to attend Salt's school, part-time. He taught himself to read at fifteen, and would go on to study French, German and Latin at a local night school and maths at Bradford's mechanics' institute. He would, eventually, earn a PhD at Heidelberg (1882) and arrive in Oxford in 1888 as a lecturer for the Association for the Higher Education of Women. He became Professor of Comparative Philology in 1901, succeeding Max Müller. Wright was a product of the heroic age of working class (self) education, mechanics' institutes, the Northern Star and 'knowledge Chartism', brilliantly explored in the early chapters of Jonathan Rose's The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (Yale, 2001). Tolkien credited Wright's earlier Primer of the Gothic Language with awakening his interest in germanic philology even before he went up to Oxford in 1911 (Letters, no. 272, pp. 356-8, at 357.) There, wrote Tolkien, he 'sat at the feet of old Joe in person. He proved a good friend and adviser' (Letters no. 307, pp. 396-7, at 397). A passion for philology underpinned and informed Tolkien's reactions to industrial England. The same passion fuelled his mentor's escape from it.  
On Joseph Wright: DNB entry (upon which I draw here); E.M. Wright, The Life of Joseph Wright (1932), 2 volumes; C.H. Firth, 'Joseph Wright, 1855-1930', Proceedings of the British Academy 18 (1932). On Tolkien and Wright: H. Carpenter, Tolkien. A Biography (London, 1977), pp. 63-4. 

J. Wright, Grammar of the Gothic Language (Oxford, 1910). 

Henri Pirenne, Sedulius de Liège

"l'ultima monografia affidabile su Sedulio è quella del 1882 di Henri Pirenne." Michael Lapidge, 'L'Irlanda e gli Irlandesi nell'alto medioevo', L'Irlanda e gli Irlandesi nell'alto medioevo. Atti del convegno: Spoleto, 16-21 aprile 2009, Settimane di studio della Fondazione Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo (Spoleto, 2010),  pp. 1-32, at 30. 
A work of scholarship informed at least in part by civic pride - its subject, the Irish pereginus Sedulius Scottus, and its locally-born author were both scholarly sons of Liège - Pirenne's 70-page work was written in the course of his studies with Godefroid Kurth. It seems to have been the result of a rare moment when the interests of student and teacher overlapped. Born in 1862, Pirenne was only nineteen when it was published. Shortly after Professor Collard of the University of Louvain reviewed the work in the 'bibliographie philologique' section of Louvain's own Revue des sciences et des lettres I.1 (1882). He was stirred: "M. Henri Pirenne a fait un beau travail qui l'honore autant que son maître. Nous espérons bien qu'il n'en restera pas là: il est encore tant de pages de notre histoire nationale qui ont besoin d'être éclaircies! Que les élèves studieux de nos Universités y mettent la main, guides par les sages conseils d'habiles et infatigables professeurs!" Pirenne would, of course, do much of the work Collard called for himself, not least in his seven volume Histoire de Belgique (1899-1932). A wry and knowing review can be found in the Dublin Review for 1883 here. (It is anonymous and too early to be by Mario Esposito ...). For Pirenne, Kurth and Sedulius: B.D. Lyon, Henri Pirenne: a biographical and intellectual study (Ghent, 1974), pp. 34-6, 40-6. 

H. Pirenne, Sedulius de LiègeMémoires couronnés publiés par l'Académie royale de Belgique 33.4 (1882), pp. 3-73.

Traube: O Roma Nobilis

"Men work best for a high purpose; and Traube's second and greater, service to palaeography was to give it such a purpose. Bred on classical philology, he embarked, soon after graduation, on a long association with the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, for which he edited vol. III of Poetae latini aevi Carolini between 1886 - his twenty-fifth year- and 1896. His main task in the University of Munich, from 1888 onwards, was to teach Latin philology, and he was eventually promoted, in 1904, to a new chair of Medieval Latin. At Munich he taught palaeography from the beginning ... but he had come to it from the study of literature, and for him palaeography was an integral part of his own particular brand of philology. What distinguished him from all other good editors of his own day, and from all too many since, was a lively historical sense which caused him to see successive stages in the transmission of a text in human terms, not just as the groundwork for an edition, but as evidence for the cultural history of the centres through which that text had been transmitted."

Julian Brown, 'Latin Palaeography since Traube', The Inaugural Address, Chair of Palaeography in the University of London, delivered at King's College on 22nd November 1962. Originally published in the Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 3 (1963), reprinted in J. Bately, M.P. Brown and J. Roberts, eds, A Palaeographer's View. The Selected Writings of Julian Brown (London, 1993), pp. 17-38, here 22-3. 

"Traube more than once expressed to me his admiration for Henry Bradshaw's gift of what he called 'sympathy with MSS.' Certainly Traube himself had this gift in a marked degree. Both of them had that loving admiration of the 'written page' to which Austin Dobson's lines give expression: 'Not as ours the books of yore, / Rows of type and nothing more.' And Traube had, like Bradshaw, the power of communicating his enthusiasm to others."
W.M. Lindsay, Obituary for Traube, Classical Review 21 (1907), pp. 188-9. 

Ludwig Traube's O Roma nobilisPhilologische Untersuchungen aus dem Mittelalter, 19.2 (Munich, 1891). 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Hrabanus Maurus, De virtutibus et vitiis (c. 834)

Hrabanus Maurus' work on the virtues and vices, written at the request of Louis the Pious, c. 834. A  curiously neglected text, considering the importance of Hrabanus and the sustained scholarly interest in Carolingian works of political and moral advice. Written in the wake of Hrabanus' evidently well-received opusculum on the duties of fathers and sons (amongst other topics) sent to the newly restored Louis (Ep. 15, MGH Epist., V, pp. 403-415) this work on the virtues and vices can - and perhaps should - be read in concert with the shorter earlier work. Despite the title Hrabanus' tract moves well beyond the conventional Tugendkatalog into something more idiosyncratic and substantial, and perhaps more timely, too. The only full edition of the work is that of the Viennese humanist Wolfgang Lazius (ob. 1565), physician by appointment to Ferdinand I, historian and pioneering cartographer. The polymathic Lazius is perhaps best known as the subject of Arcimboldo's frequently reproduced caricature-by-codex, 'The Librarian' of 1562. (The author of De laudibus, incidentally, might well have approved of Lazius' tombstone, viewable on line, albeit in a poor reproduction, here.) It is oddly fitting that a man who made pictures with his poetry should be edited by another whose likeness was captured in a painting of books.   
W. Lazius, Fragmenta quaedam Caroli magni Imp. Rom. aliorumque incerti nominis de veteris Ecclesiae ritibus ac ceremoniis (Antwerp, 1560) The text runs from 190 to 306. 
Discussion: C. Booker, Past Convictions. The Penance of Louis the Pious, and the Decline of the Carolingians (Philadelphia, 2009), pp. 171-2; 236-7, 379; E. Sears, ‘Louis the Pious as Miles Christi. The Dedicatory Image in Hrabanus Maurus’s De Laudibus Sanctae Crucis’, in P. Godman and R. Collins, eds, Charlemagne’s Heir: New Perspectives on the Reign of Louis the Pious (814-840) (Oxford, 1990), pp. 605-28, esp. 622-3. For Lazius the cartographer of Austria see W. Goffart, Historical Atlases. The First Three Hundred Years, 1570-1870 (Chicago, 2003), pp. 26, 45 n. 52, with references.