Abstract and Keywords
This chapter presents a historical view of the encyclopedia, beginning with Wikipedia. Despite its reputation of being an unreliable source in comparison to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Wikipedia exercises a peculiar fascination over readers. Because Wikipedia relies on the consensus of a multitude of contributors, there is no guarantee of both accuracy as well as the maintenance of consensus itself. The Introduction describes the similar and differing aspects of the pre- and postmodern encyclopedism. Wikipedia though certainly different from the encyclopedias of the modern period, presents a certain similarity to the encyclopedism of Western Europe during the period commonly known as scholastic (ca. 110–ca. 1400). This chapter presents a brief history of how encyclopedism came to be what it is today, and introduces the goal and tasks that the book aims to study.
These days, readers wander in the opalescent labyrinth of Wikipedia as the tomes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica gather dust on neglected shelves. The attraction has little to do with any conviction that the information to be found online is of higher quality than what may be found in print, and many users of Wikipedia can be induced to acknowledge that the Britannica is a more credible source. Even one of the founders of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, has characterized it as “one of those sources regarded as unreliable which people read anyway.”1 It is tempting to attribute this reliance on the online service to physical inertia (why go to the library when you can go to Wikipedia without ever leaving home?), but there are other, perfectly reliable Web sources from which to choose, the Britannica among them. Wikipedia exercises some peculiar fascination over readers—and not only the youngest ones—a fascination that must derive from the characteristics that set it apart. Its designers did not content themselves with simply exploiting the Web’s ability to link topics; they also adopted the relatively new technology of open source software. Instead of soliciting articles from experts sanctioned by the institutions that currently arbitrate knowledge (university professors, authors of research published in peer-reviewed journals and books, holders of advanced degrees), Wikipedia invites its readers to become contributors, “Wikipedians,” by drafting or revising articles of their choice. The wager is that the online community constitutes its own fund of knowledge and that consensus will, eventually, eliminate errors.2 In some cases, (p.2) that wager has paid off; there are marvelous articles, drafted by serious, learned, and dedicated individuals willing to work without attribution or recompense, and many topics are discussed in a depth that the limitations of space and funding proper to traditional encyclopedias preclude. For medieval topics in particular (often marginalized in the academy but also the object of renewed interest among a larger public), Wikipedia has been a boon. Still, there is no guarantee of accuracy because Wikipedia depends on consensus, which is not quite the same thing.
Furthermore, given the way in which this encyclopedia is constructed, there is no guarantee that consensus can be maintained. In all but a select few articles that have been stabilized by those who oversee the service, errors or misinformation can always be reintroduced. Consensus can be undermined by any obstinate contrarian. The encyclopedia so conceived will never attain stability, and it is subject, to a degree that no prior encyclopedia has been, to the caprice of time. It changes from one moment to the next. The electronic medium makes possible what had never been possible before, a truly protean text, shaped by the accidents of Wikipedians’ own lives, educations, and personalities. Its most apt metaphor is perhaps the image of the bazaar that the programmer and writer Eric Steven Raymond has employed to describe Linux open source software. Raymond contrasts this bazaar to the cathedral, with which he represents the more traditional approach to developing complex software. According to his account, the Linux community at first struck him as “a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches … out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles,” while traditional software resembled a cathedral “carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working in splendid isolation.”3 Although Raymond now argues that the bazaar is singularly effective for software development, these two opposed images also highlight its instability.
Perhaps unbeknownst to Raymond, his imagery intersects the imagery used by Émile Mâle on the eve of the twentieth century to describe the medieval encyclopedia, a carefully constructed intellectual cathedral.4 Such an image could still be used for the work that goes into print encyclopedias and reference dictionaries, although I doubt that all the editors and contributors involved in these projects would welcome the description of “wizards” or “mages.” There is nothing mysterious or magical about academic qualifications acquired with great labor and intelligence from institutions that have been established for the purpose of providing an advanced education. Scholars of some philosophical persuasions may also object to the implication that (p.3) knowledge is a sanctuary. Nevertheless, these encyclopedias are planned, their realization guided by scholar-architects of extraordinary talent. For obvious reasons, a number of these scholars take exception to Wikipedia. In 2004, Ted Pappas, the executive editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, stated that Wikipedia is not really worthy to be considered an encyclopedia, telling a reporter from the Guardian: “Hyperlinks, bullet points and cut-and-paste press releases do not an encyclopedia entry make.”5 Even some Wikipedians acknowledge the weaknesses of the service and express perplexity about how it should be characterized. One has written in a blog entry: “I don’t believe that the goal should be ‘acceptance’ so much as recognition of what Wikipedia is and what it is not. It will never be an encyclopedia, but it will contain extensive knowledge that is quite valuable for different purposes.”6
According to such external and internal critics, Wikipedia does not fit the criteria by which encyclopedias are defined. It lacks many of the characteristics of the encyclopedias created during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. It is not a book or a series of books. It does not have credentialed—or even named—authors. It does not offer reliably accurate and consistent information on any topic, whatever undergraduates may believe. All the expectations to which the Britannica and other print encyclopedias had conditioned readers have been swept aside. Yet Wikipedia still fits the definition offered in its own entry on the encyclopedia at 12:36 pm on Tuesday, 9 August 2011: “a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge.” Perhaps it is these characteristics that define the encyclopedia, and the rest, the characteristics of the earlier print format, are merely peculiarities of one realization of the genre, susceptible to transformation with changes in technology, in textual culture, or in the institutions of knowledge. We are, in fact, living through a technological transition that is transforming encyclopedism, and our historical situation gives us a rare opportunity to reflect on the different ways in which the encyclopedia can be constructed—and has been over the centuries.7 Moreover, Wikipedia has proved to be a barometer for changes or disjunctions in the way in which knowledge is created. Originally suspect because of its failure to cite reliable print or electronic sources, it now has a stringent citation policy, but that has opened it to the charge that it is retrograde, hobbled by the idea of knowledge that guided print encyclopedias, and, thus, closed to any information that is transmitted orally or through traditional practices.8 This closure means that Wikipedia’s coverage is not as universal as its aspirations. As it turns out, because encyclopedists have usually been motivated by three principal goals—to represent (p.4) all knowledge (or, at least, all the knowledge in a given field), to organize it (or make it, as we now say, “searchable”), and to transmit it to an audience broader than the select group responsible for its creation—changes in the way encyclopedias are constructed indicate nothing less than alterations to the very paradigms of knowledge and its role in the human community.
A Historical View of Encyclopedism
One of the objectives of the present book is to show that the Wikipedial paradigm for constructing and construing knowledge is not entirely novel. Wikipedia is certainly different from the encyclopedias of the modern period. Yet in its highly polyvocal nature and tolerance of dissent, even outright inaccuracy, the encyclopedic paradigm it represents is suggestively analogous to the encyclopedism of Western Europe during the period commonly termed scholastic (ca. 1100–ca. 1400). There is no simple relation between the pre-and the postmodern, and I shall here propound neither the transhistorical continuity of encyclopedism nor a rebirth of scholastic encyclopedism in the postmodern. Readers will have ample opportunity to observe the differences between premodern encyclopedias and Wikipedia. Nonetheless, the limited resemblances that our historical situation and cultural paradigms bear to premodern ones make it possible to perceive aspects of scholastic encyclopedism that were not perceptible before.9
Like our own time, the scholastic period was marked by the proliferation of new or previously unfamiliar knowledge in communities long accustomed to viewing the world in a particular way. As in our own time, this proliferation was related in complex ways to social, cultural, and technological changes. It touched off vociferous debate while creating the need for new educational institutions, venues for publication, and technologies of the word. Renaissance humanism is rightly cited for its influence on what would become modern intellectual culture, yet it was earlier, during the first centuries of the scholastic period, that the institutions and practices necessary to support such culture were created.10 This institutional development accompanied the greatest growth in the population of Europe before the nineteenth century. A larger population created the need for schools to educate more young men for parish ministry and clerical posts in government (monks and nuns were traditionally educated in their monastic communities, and the education of lay persons who required some degree of literacy was generally provided by private tutors or local clerics). Beginning in the eleventh century, the cathedral schools, which had been founded centuries (p.5) earlier to further Charlemagne’s educational reforms, gained a renewed vitality. But the changes went far beyond the expansion of the clerical class. A new intellectual culture was taking shape in response to the ongoing rediscovery of ancient Greek thought (the writings of Plato and Aristotle) and to the commentaries and treatises of Muslim philosophers that accompanied many of the ancient texts in their transmission.11 While Platonic ideas flourished briefly in the twelfth century and continued to exercise considerable influence in some circles, it was the Aristotelian texts on logic, ethics, metaphysics, and the physical sciences that most profoundly transformed thought over the course of the scholastic period.12 Not everyone believed that these new texts could be harmonized with Christian theology, but a number of thinkers made the attempt, creating the atmosphere of dissent and debate that would so mark the period.
At the same time, the cities went on growing, and it eventually became evident that the parish clergy and canons regular would not be able to meet the intensifying pastoral needs of urban communities. Although the Cistercians were sometimes called on to preach, the monastic orders were not structurally well suited to assist the clergy in urban ministry, for their members were most often cloistered in abbeys in the countryside and their daytime occupations were codified by the centuries-old rules they followed. Therefore, in the early thirteenth century, the Franciscan and Dominican orders were established, mendicants whose rules allowed greater latitude for travel and participation in the life of the city. Their calling was to serve the poor and dispossessed, to preach, and to combat heresies of the kind thought to be gathering force in Languedoc. But a renewed ministry of preaching meant providing an advanced education to still larger numbers of young men. Under these diverse pressures, the demand for education became so great that the schools were superseded, absorbed into a new, larger administrative structure, the university, probably modeled on the craftsmen’s guilds.13 The universities accumulated larger libraries. With demand increasing from both institutions and individuals, book production expanded, moving from monastic scriptoria to a new commercial book trade that sprang up in the urban centers.14
The Romance languages simultaneously made their appearance—not as spoken languages, for they had already existed as such for centuries, but as written ones. Over the course of the twelfth century, the formerly oral tradition of Carolingian epic (the chanson de geste) was transformed into a written genre by members of the clerical class attached to the secular courts. These same clerics also began to translate Latin epics and Celtic oral tales, first into (p.6) French, then into other vernaculars, creating a new genre, romance. A century or so later, vernacular lyric, which had also blossomed in the twelfth century, began to be transcribed and collected in large anthologies. Translators began making Latin historical, legal, philosophical, and scientific texts available in the vernacular, setting the stage for the ascendance of the vernacular as a language for intellectual endeavor in later periods.15 The literary and scholarly community had been transformed from one where a single language, Latin, governed exchange to one where writers could choose among a variety of languages for expression.
Although scholasticism lasted for about three centuries (medievalists disagree about its precise beginning and end), the texts chosen for the present study were all written during the thirteenth century, which saw such a proliferation of new encyclopedic texts that more than one scholar has been prompted to call it the “century of the encyclopedias.”16 These books often served as libraries in miniature at a time when learning, in all its plethoric diversity, was in high demand, but the expense of handmade books prohibited smaller foundations or individuals from amassing large libraries. And these books were more like libraries than modern encyclopedias because they reproduced, rather than simply summarizing, parts of prior texts. They were among a diverse group of widely popular books known to modern scholars as florilegia, from the Latin flos, or “flower” (a common medieval term for the extracts of which they were almost entirely composed), and legere, “to choose.”17 There were, naturally, many smaller florilegia, limited to a particular topic (such as moral dicta or elegant turns of phrase useful for letter writing), and many disorganized ones, but a few compilations attained imposing proportions, covered a wide range of topics, and were organized in such a way that a reader could easily locate a collection of authoritative statements on any given topic. These books came to function as encyclopedias.18
The thirteenth century was also a great period for cathedrals—hence Mâle’s intuition that the two phenomena must be related. To Mâle’s mind, medieval art was encyclopedic, a comprehensive program of teaching shaped by the scholastic passion for proportion, symmetry, and order. The encyclopedic impulse could thus express itself through any number of media, not all of them verbal. These observations have provided the seeds of my own work. But Mâle read the encyclopedia through the lens of his own era, and he had no reason to ask whether the proportions and symmetry he discovered there were really as perfect, the order as stable, as the columns and buttresses of his beloved churches. Twentieth-century developments in philosophy, literary theory, textual criticism, and codicology, as well as the (p.7) popular revolution of Wikipedia, have made it possible to recognize in these medieval texts a conflict between the order to which the compilers aspired and the disruptive elements introduced through their practice of citation. Also newly apparent is the degree to which the later interventions of patrons and copyists further shaped (or fragmented) these texts. In a manuscript era, every individual copy would have already been unique, with its own set of unintentional errors, but conscious intervention by those wishing to modify texts magnified this phenomenon. As it turns out, the cathedral of the encyclopedic florilegium is not as solidly mortared as that image may imply; in some ways, it more closely resembles the bazaar.
The project that I have defined for the present book is therefore this: to set out a historical and theoretically self-conscious view of scholastic encyclopedism, based on careful readings of selected texts, that will provide a counterpoint to the encyclopedism of the present day and other periods while also suggesting a new way for us to understand scholasticism and late medieval literature.19 I shall advance an argument in two parts. First, because the scholastic intellectual revolution was created by reading new texts (rather than by conducting new experiments or observations of natural phenomena), knowledge was created through the myriad forms of textual practice. In this situation, the discursive disciplines—the trivium of grammar, rhetoric, and logic—assumed decisive roles in shaping medieval encyclopedias, and we shall see how encyclopedists deployed narrative and metaphor as organizational paradigms.20 However, the power of such paradigms to unify the text, to make it coherent with itself, was severely limited by the very citations on which encyclopedic writing relied. The texts cited derived from diverse historical and institutional situations, and those situations shaped the discourses that they represent. I here employ the term discourse as Michel Foucault has used it, most explicitly in The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969), to denote a paradigm authorized by institutional power that allows the construction of both the subjects and the objects of knowing.21 The Britannica is one kind of discourse, in which subjects and objects are constructed in a particular way; Wikipedia has created quite a different one. In the Middle Ages, although compilation itself may be thought of as a specific discourse,22 its dependence on direct citation engages and incorporates diverse other discourses in a manner unequaled by the sparse notes and references of the today’s encyclopedias.
That scholastic encyclopedism is thus discursively heterogeneous is the second part of my argument. These encyclopedias, like libraries, become “heterotopias” of knowledge—that is, spaces where many possible ways of (p.8) knowing are juxtaposed. And they inspire the following questions: If the subjects and objects of knowing shift from one discourse to the next, how can the encyclopedic text provide a coherent space for them to inhabit? How can it provide a stable position for the reader’s subjectivity? The responses to these questions have implications beyond the encyclopedic genre because encyclopedism as I understand it is but one manifestation of a dominant textual practice of the scholastic period. Historians began some time ago to challenge the old view of scholasticism as a period defined by Thomism, and they have drawn attention to other voices and views in the period (Grosseteste, Albert the Great, Bonaventure, Ockham, etc.). But that work is still largely based on genres (commentaries, quaestiones, summas) that advance a discernible argument and reduce competing voices, by either synthesizing or rejecting them. If, however, we understand the encyclopedic compilation to be as important a component of the scholastic movement as the summa, then our view of scholasticism must change even more radically. It must take better account than it has hitherto done of the heterogeneity of encyclopedism. Such a revised understanding of scholastic textual practice can, in turn, illuminate some of the most challenging poetic and fictional texts of the late Middle Ages.
No study of premodern encyclopedism can begin without acknowledging one intractable problem. The word encyclopedia is not classical or medieval; it is a coinage of the Renaissance.23 It may have originated from a felicitous error in a humanist edition of Quintilian in 1470. There has been some debate about the first intentional use of the word, but it is clear that the Latin form was already circulating among humanists in the last decades of the fifteenth century, and it was adapted to the vernaculars in the early sixteenth. True to the spirit of that time, it is constructed from two Greek roots, enkyklios [in the circle] and paideia [education]. The two terms had appeared together occasionally in antiquity, most notably in Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis historia (completed ca. 78 ce). Although most everyone agrees that this text (a compilation of sources on the natural world and medicine, with diverse digressions) is encyclopedic, classicists are still debating the meaning of Pliny’s cryptic reference in the prologue to “what the Greeks call enkyklios paideia.”24 In other ancient texts, this pair of terms refers, not to a book, but rather to a broad, preliminary program of study, the foundation for more advanced and specialized studies. In early Renaissance usage, encyclopedia similarly designates (p.9) such a program or, as extensions of that sense, either the connections between the disciplines or a knowledge encompassing them all: “le vray puys et abisme de Encyclopedie” [the true well and abyss of the Encyclopedia], as François Rabelais sardonically put it.25 Unambiguous references to the encyclopedia as a book or series of books do not appear until later periods, when the word will also be applied, retrospectively, to the largest of the scholastic florilegia.26
Ancient and medieval writers nevertheless produced a number of texts that look encyclopedic to us because they were clearly inspired by the three goals I cited earlier: to provide a comprehensive overview of knowledge, to organize it, and to propagate it. In the ancient world, such texts were generally given titles to reflect their subject matter: Natural History, The Antiquities of Things Human and Divine, The Disciplines. In the scholastic period, this kind of title was still possible (On the Properties of Things), but compilers favored figurative formulations, such as The Greater Mirror, The Image of the World, or The Treasury. No term in classical or medieval Latin united all these texts, and only them, into a discrete genre. The word that comes closest to describing most of these books, florilegium, is also a modern coinage,27 and it refers to other compilations as well, narrower in scope or less well organized, that we do not recognize as encyclopedias at all. Hence the necessity of qualifying the term florilegium as encyclopedic when speaking of the scholastic texts cited above.
The lexicological lacuna raises philosophical and methodological questions. Can we speak of encyclopedias written before the word, or any equivalent, ever existed? If ancient and medieval writers had perceived the encyclopedia as a genre, would they not have given it a name? Is the notion that all these texts fit into a single generic category only a mirage created by our own (post)modernity? The historian Jacques Le Goff takes the skeptical view: “If medieval clerks did not light upon the word ‘encyclopedia,’ that is because they did not light on the thing, either.” Yet even Le Goff is unable to escape the word in his attempt to designate these texts, which he calls “pre-encyclopedias, encyclopedic desires, encyclopedic sketches.”28 It would seem that, though what classical and medieval writers lighted on was not the modern encyclopedia, we have no word other than encyclopedia with which to designate it.
The problem likely derives, not from a want of medieval books that look to us as if they should be called encyclopedias, but from the incommensurability of medieval and modern ways of thinking about texts. Judson Boyce Allen has shown how alien to us is the medieval version of Aristotle’s Poetics (p.10) (which circulated with Hermann the German’s 1256 Latin translation of Averroes’s twelfth-century Arabic commentary) because, where we expect to find Aristotelian definitions of tragedy and comedy, we find instead that tragedy is an art of praising, comedy an art of blaming. Such a change does not simply oblige us to redraw the generic grid into which we insert texts according to their form and content: we must come to terms with the idea that genre can be a way of speaking. This is not the literary theory of Aristotle, or, for that matter, of Northrop Frye. The Latin commentators that Allen has studied came closest to our notion of genre when discussing the forma tractandi of a text, but that gerundive is important, for it indicates that these commentators were thinking less in terms of static form than in terms of (obligatory) action and process and, hence, of speaker, audience, and object. Thus, medieval genre “is not a concept which applies to texts as verbal constructs, but to verbal events which include both reference and rhetorical effect …. Forma tractandi is the form of a text, it is true, but in terms of modes of thought, reference, and effects which implicate the text in a great deal that would now be thought external to it.”29 In this context, it would be strange for a friar to announce that he was about to write an encyclopedia, but it would be perfectly fitting for him to give his text the title Greater Mirror, which sets the book in relation both to the world it represents and to the reader who gazes into it.30
Yet the question remains of how we are to deal with this situation retrospectively, that is, how we are to isolate a group of texts to study. A Linnaean system of genres is still indispensable, for it provides the terminology needed for any nuanced comparison of texts, and I shall occasionally employ it for this purpose, but it is purely heuristic, without historical reality or intrinsic value. My methods will be principally descriptive and comparative, and I shall follow Hans Robert Jauss’s lead in describing a historical “family” of texts, presupposing that a certain concept of genre does influence the shape that writers give their texts, but it is created by singular, preexisting texts and is subject to revision by later writers.31 Such a view shifts our focus from taxonomy (which texts fit where?) to practice (how does a particular writer replicate or revise encyclopedic practices modeled by past texts?). And in this emphasis on practice we come closer, perhaps, to the medieval notion of forma tractandi as a process that is gone through. This is why I have chosen encyclopedism rather than encyclopedias as the focus of the present book. In the end, I am less interested in encyclopedias than in the specific intellectual and textual practices that shape them.
I therefore conceive of encyclopedias as the products of a practice that (p.11) has metamorphosed through time. For example, Pliny and the scholastics share one characteristic that sets them apart from modern encyclopedists: they are compilers. Yet they do not all face the same degree of discord between their source texts. The scholastics, working much later than Pliny and obliged to negotiate the fissures between pagan, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, between ancient and medieval, encounter more acute disharmony. Furthermore, they have diverse ways of handling contradictions between their sources: some indicate what they think of the value of particular sources; some are more concerned with synthesis than others, thus anticipating a more modern encyclopedism. At the same time, the difference between the titles chosen by Roman writers and those chosen by scholastics indicates that the two groups were engaged in distinct semiotic practices. Unlike Pliny, for example, the scholastic encyclopedists assumed that objects in the world carried symbolic meaning—a meaning that alone justified the writing of encyclopedias. Nevertheless, each scholastic encyclopedist negotiated the several levels of meaning differently. In the chapters that follow, I will be as much concerned with these variations as with commonalities.
Choice of Texts and Shape of the Study
Such a project requires us to consider a diverse group of texts. Our touch-stone throughout this book will be one monumental encyclopedic florilegium, the tripartite Speculum maius, or Greater Mirror, compiled by the Dominican Vincent of Beauvais, who seems to have worked on the project from about 1235 until shortly before his death in 1264. I shall complement the discussion of this most canonical of scholastic encyclopedias with analyses of the texts of two writers less commonly included in studies of encyclopedism, the Majorcan evangelist and mystic Ramon Llull (ca. 1232–1315) and the Parisian clerk and translator Jean de Meun (d. ca. 1305). I shall treat two of Llull’s eccentric adaptations of the encyclopedic genre, the Libre de meravelles and the Arbor scientiae, as well as another text that is not an encyclopedia even in the broadest sense of the word, the Arbre de filosofia d’amor. The Arbre and Jean de Meun’s continuation of the Roman de la Rose engage deeply with the encyclopedism of their time. Both (as well as the Libre de meravelles) exploit fiction in order to dramatize the movement’s pretensions to universality and order, its ambitions to propagate knowledge, and its struggles with the incoherencies of compilatio. Together with the Speculum maius and the Arbor scientiae, these texts were among the most ambitious, perspicacious, or controversial productions of the thirteenth-century encyclopedic movement. (p.12) Like Wikipedia, they provoked contemporary readers and laid bare the intellectual fault lines of their time.
The book is divided into three parts. The first, “The Archive,” is intended to articulate, in general terms, the relation between scholasticism and encyclopedism while also providing a brief explanation of the similarities among and differences between scholastic encyclopedism and that of earlier periods. The archive of the part title may be construed in the traditional way, as an accumulation of codices to be categorized and described, or in the more abstract Foucauldian sense, as the culturally and historically specific rules that render it possible to make certain statements but not others, to preserve the traces of certain statements, but not others—in other words, the conditions of possibility for the constitution of a material archive. The broad-ranging contextual discussion of part 1 provides the background for the other two sections, which are devoted to specific texts. Part 2, “The Order of the Encyclopedia,” offers a chapter on each of the three writers under consideration. Each chapter treats the organization and hermeneutics of an encyclopedic text (for Llull, the Arbor scientia) and makes two points, not necessarily in the same order. On the one hand, the chapters show how writers faced with a proliferation of possible “orders of knowledge” ultimately settled on rhetorical and exegetical paradigms for the arrangement of the material they had borrowed and adapted from other texts while also presupposing that readers would use their writings to interpret the world symbolically—to read it. This creates a clear continuity between encyclopedic and literary practices. On the other hand, the chapters identify problems in the organizational paradigms or hermeneutics of these texts and trace them back to a confrontation between conflicting discourses, thus preparing the ground for part 3. This final section, “Heterotopias,” begins by returning to the Speculum maius. Its first chapter offers focused interpretations of sample passages from the natural history portion of this encyclopedia, rather than global surveys, in order to examine more closely the materials, technique, and consequences of compilation. In this way, it describes the confrontation of discourses created by this textual practice, identifying the epistemological foundation and institutional investment proper to each discourse, and showing how their juxtaposition creates a heterotopia. The final chapter sketches out the position and agency that the heterotopia accords to the authorial, or the scribal, or the readerly subject, through readings of the Speculum maius, the Roman de la Rose, the Libre de meravelles, and, finally, the Arbre de filosofia d’amor. Thus, the ultimate question of this book is what sort of space the scholastic encyclopedia makes available for the knowing subject.
The second half of this introduction must be devoted to further methodological considerations, for the suggestion that my reading will be postmodern raises as many questions as it answers. That label has been claimed by an eclectic group of scholars whose methodologies are not necessarily compatible. My own approach will be postmodern in two principal ways. The first is my renegotiation of the disciplinary boundaries, established several centuries ago, that still govern our universities. Neither the generic coordinates of this study nor its emphasis on the discursive should be taken to indicate the esoteric interests of the literary scholar, preoccupied with aesthetic questions, and isolated from the scientific and philosophical disciplines. The idea that literature is a discipline apart is a construction of modern thought; it has been challenged by the multidisciplinary work of scholars of the last four decades, who have studied the role of discourse in a wide range of cultural practices, from advertising and sloganeering to the writing of history and the elaboration of scientific and philosophical propositions. In the field of medieval studies, these scholars have found themselves working with, rather than against, their sources, for premodern thought presupposed no absolute barrier between the literary and other disciplines.32 In Roman antiquity and the Middle Ages, the various cognates of the term literature carried a meaning far closer to their etymological root, the letter. They often designated “writing,” pure and simple, and they did not apply exclusively to poetry, artistic prose, or fiction.33 If they excluded anything, it was precisely the vernacular texts in which these genres flourished with renewed vigor in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; writing had been so long associated with the Latin language, and the oral tradition with the vernaculars, that the latter languages needed time, and champions, to earn their “lettered” pedigree.34
Science, the field to which modern thinkers were accustomed to oppose literature, is no less problematic a term. Derived from the verb for “knowledge” and “discernment,” the classical Latin scientia indicated a particular kind of knowledge, derived from the study of causes, and such knowledge is attainable in many fields beyond what we consider the sciences today. During the scholastic period, the word was commonly employed to indicate any branch of knowledge, which we would now call a discipline (scientia and disciplina could be used interchangeably, although the latter placed more emphasis on instruction),35 and all these branches (except sometimes theology and the mechanical arts) were thought to constitute the parts of philosophia, (p.14) another term whose application was broader in the Middle Ages than it is today. This meant that disciplines such as philosophy (in the more restricted modern sense) and theology, which are not now considered scientific and which reflect on, among other things, the origins and importance of language, could as easily be indicated by the word scientia, as could astronomy or medicine. The “practical” branch of philosophia included ethics, to which what we now call literature was often attached because it dealt with mores (human customs or behavior).36 Grammar, rhetoric, and poetics were also connected to—or at least taught by means of—literature. Although their status as scientiae was less assured, this was not, as today, because these disciplines were not considered sufficiently empirical but because some individuals thought that their role was exclusively propeadeutic. However, given the considerable subtleties of those who practiced the discursive disciplines in the period, such a position was hard to maintain, and what were variously called the scientiae eloquentiae or the scientiae sermocinales took their place beside the other scientiae of the day.37 Therefore, when at the height of scholasticism Vincent of Beauvais cites Daniel’s prophecy that, in the Latin of the Vulgate, “multiplex erit scientia” (which the Authorized Version of the Bible translates as “knowledge shall be increased”), he (and Jerome, the translator of the Vulgate) is referring, not to science as we understand it, but to learning in general, transmitted by books.38
This is not to suggest that medieval thinkers made no distinction between astronomy or natural history, on the one hand, and poetry, on the other. As we shall see, the scholastics elaborated sophisticated distinctions between the various disciplines. But those distinctions were founded on a set of principles and disciplinary methods different from those of the modern period. The modern expectation that scientific texts have as their sole purpose to transmit “objective” or “factually accurate” information is based on the assumption that language can be made the univocal, even transparent, instrument for representing objects and processes in the world, the understanding of which is the final goal of reading. Language’s more dubious capacities—its moments of obscurity, the power of paronomasia and metaphor to make meanings overlap, the influence that rhetoric can exercise over human behavior—are resolutely set aside; this is the province of poets and orators, who preside over a separate world, through the looking glass, in which science has no part. Scholastic readers, for their part, were not incapable of measuring the objective accuracy of a claim, and some areas of inquiry—astronomy, herbology, alchemy—required them to do so.39 A few writers even seem to have made their own observations of natural phenomena, (p.15) testing the claims of the authoritative texts against them, a practice that was never widespread but that nevertheless constituted a significant minority paradigm for knowledge making.40
Nonetheless, in the larger intellectual community, accuracy was not the only, and certainly not the first, measure of a scientific text’s worth. The principle by which the validity of a statement was measured remained the authority of the individual who had made it; at the top of the hierarchy of authorities was the Bible, just beneath it the patristic writers, and yet farther down the “philosophers” (a diverse category that included writers in Greek, Arabic, and Latin, not only metaphysicians and moralists, but also mathematicians, astronomers, and natural historians). In this way, scientific writing relied on citation, a linguistic and literary practice, for its authority. Moreover, because many of the authoritative texts had first to be translated and even then remained in places ambiguous or opaque, the scholastics were obliged to devote much of their energy to problems of meaning and interpretation. As a result, scientific work continued to be construed as a process of commentary on venerable texts, in all their linguistic specificity.41 Further reinforcing this focus on the discursive, preachers and moralists exhorted readers to seek the eternal truths that are obscurely signified by the objects in the material world. Thus the objects described in the encyclopedia—and the encyclopedia itself as an object, a book—functioned as signs, just as the words that described them did. Objects could be combined into a grammar of creation that had nothing to do with empirical science as we conceive it.42
My attempt to take account of this essential difference between the medieval encyclopedic paradigm, in which littera and scientia are superposed, and the modern one, which opposes them to each other, has important early precedents, chief among them Brian Stock and Winthrop Wetherbee’s now classic studies of early twelfth-century writing.43 But these scholars focused on the first decades of scholasticism, when Platonism still exerted a powerful influence on writers and Aristotelian texts had not yet been fully absorbed. Although Wetherbee treated Jean de Meun in his final chapter, neither he nor Stock extended their arguments to fully embrace the thirteenth century, when Aristotelianism was on the ascendant. In fact, the change in the dominant philosophical paradigm necessitates a different kind of argument from the one they put forth. Such an argument must take more explicit account of the scholastic textual practice of compilatio, to which Malcolm Parkes and Alastair Minnis called attention in articles that appeared not long after Stock and Wetherbee’s monographs.44
To date, those working on thirteenth-century encyclopedism have not (p.16) considered the full implications of the work of these four scholars. A group of continental European scholars has returned to the manuscripts of encyclopedias to investigate how they were compiled and read, a marvelously fruitful approach that is transforming the way we understand these texts.45 These scholars have, however, not elaborated on the ways in which this new understanding of encyclopedias could change the way we read the period’s poetry and fiction.46 The one scholar who has written extensively about the interface between encyclopedic and imaginative writing, Bernard Ribémont, has tended to retreat to the binary paradigm in which the and of literature and encyclopedias (part of the title of his 2002 essay collection and the general subject of several monographs) constitutes a dividing line between the terms on either side; encyclopedias are scientific texts, and the interplay between encyclopedic and literary writing is conceived as the transfer of information from the former to the latter.47 Since literary genres are notoriously protean, Ribémont further argues that we should modify Jauss’s model of genre to accommodate the encyclopedia, whose reliance on prior, authoritative texts seems to him to limit the kind of modification that this (to his mind “non-literary”) genre can undergo to a “process of accumulation” and a “stratification of authority.” In other words, it is the content of the encyclopedia, not its form, that changes, and developments in the genre always reflect an “evolution exterior to the text,” such as changing scientific systems.48 According to this paradigm, the encyclopedia becomes a zone in which no transformation can ever be initiated.
I shall argue quite the opposite, that the internal dynamics of the scholastic encyclopedia not only reflect but also influence the intellectual developments of the period. Genre shapes both scientific writing and scientific thought, both philosophical writing and philosophical thought, because there is no viable distinction to be maintained between them. Ideas take shape in texts. Thus, the philosopher Berel Lang revamps the traditional “philosophy and literature” project by taking account of the fact that philosophy “is also, perhaps even first, a form of writing” and concludes from this that “the critical means that have been found relevant to more conventionally ‘literary’ texts can be—ought to be—also applied to philosophical writing.” The model that such a study would presuppose is, for Lang, something like the “Heisenberg Effect”:
That is, in contrast to the Neutralist model in which the philosophical writer draws on an independent and supposedly “style-less” body of propositional assertions that the philosopher first discovers and then arranges or reformulates, (p.17) the writer in this second model, in choosing a form or structure for philosophical discourse, is, in that act, also shaping the substance or content which the form then—very loosely speaking now—will be “of.” The form in other words is an ingredient of philosophical content—as the impingement of light, in the “Heisenberg Effect,” influences the activity or location of the particles identified, and as the question of what identity the particles would have without the process of identification is then placed in the limbo of indeterminacy.49
Thus a study of encyclopedism is not simply a study of the literary characteristics of the encyclopedia. It is a study of the way form shapes, determines, creates meaning. A reflection on the formal characteristics of encyclopedias is therefore prerequisite for incorporating them into a historical understanding of scholasticism, and it must also inform any use of these texts in other sorts of projects.
In effacing the modern distinction between science and literature, I reproduce the move of an influential postmodern thinker, Michel Foucault. Foucault understood discursive practice to determine the way intellectuals of any age construe the objects of knowledge and the relations between them—whether they acknowledge its role (as the scholastics did) or not (as the moderns generally refused to do)—and he devoted The Order of Things (1966) to elaborating this thesis, effecting a rapprochement between the scientific, the historical, and the poetic.50 Gilles Deleuze thus characterizes Foucault’s description of the thought of an era as an “archaeology-poem,”
made up of multiple registers, but equally of the particular inscription of an articulation linked in turn to events, institutions and all sorts of other practices. The essential point is not that we have gone beyond the duality of science and poetry that dogged the work of Bachelard, or that we have found a way of treating literary texts scientifically. Above all, what we have done is to discover and survey that foreign land where a literary form, a scientific proposition, a common phrase, a schizophrenic piece of non-sense and so on are also statements, but lack a common denominator and cannot be reduced or made equivalent in any discursive way. This is what had never before been attained by logicians, formalists or interpreters. Science and poetry are equal forms of knowledge.51
(p.18) As we have seen, the valorization of poetry as an equal form of knowledge is not really new, but Deleuze is right to understand it as a break from the modern paradigm, and it is one of those innovations that allow us to reread scholasticism.
Therefore, as my occasional allusions have already indicated, my conception of a postmodern historiography has largely been shaped by Foucault’s early archaeological studies, which describe the ways in which knowledge is constituted in different periods.52 A triad of terms (discourse, the archive, the heterotopia), whose sense the French philosopher redirected, will prove indispensable, for they will allow us to assume a new position in relation to the material we are interpreting or to discern phenomena that could heretofore be discerned only indistinctly or not at all. Nonetheless, Foucauldian methods must be used with caution. Foucault’s own descriptions of premodern periods are famously distorted; they tend to idealize, mythologize, or even fictionalize.53 The challenge before us, then, is to refuse to follow him into his premodern, utopian otherworld and to eschew the misreadings that have tarnished his reputation among historians while nevertheless adapting the methodological tools that he developed in his archaeological studies to medieval sources.
I prefer the term adapt to apply because the confrontation of medieval sources with the methodologies in question will necessitate revision of the latter.54 The criticism of Foucault’s arguments that I shall occasionally voice over the course of this book, the revisions that I shall propose, should be understood as the response to a methodological imperative of postmodernism itself, which, according to Linda Hutcheon, “installs and then subverts … the very concepts it challenges.” In historiography, the aim of the postmodern is to “confront and contest any modernist discarding or recuperating of the past in the name of the future. [Postmodernism] suggests no search for transcendent timeless meaning, but rather a reevaluation of and a dialogue with the past in light of the present.” It is, of course, not only modernists but also occasionally postmodernists who discard or recuperate the past, so I shall have to contest Foucault’s occasional dismissals or instrumentalizations of the premodern in order to set the stage for a productive dialogue, or what Hutcheon elsewhere calls a “critical confrontation,” between past and present.55
This revisionist work is rendered easier by the fact that, in the past couple of decades, Foucault’s historical methodologies have become the subject of explicit debate, from the anthology Foucault and the Writing of History (1994), edited by Jan Goldstein, to Thomas R. Flynn’s more recent A Poststructuralist (p.19) Mapping of History (2004).56 During the same period, medievalists have also begun to try to understand aspects of medieval culture “with” Foucault, to borrow Philipp W. Rosemann’s prudent formulation for the title of his 1999 Understanding Scholastic Thought with Foucault.57 As I do here, Rosemann explicitly locates himself as a postmodern scholar, arguing that the refusal to acknowledge our own historical and intellectual situation when carrying out scholarship on the Middle Ages can never really guarantee us the privileged role of reporting uncontestable facts derived from empirical evidence. Rather, such refusal only obscures each individual scholar’s (necessary) investment in some current school of thought.58 Rosemann has eloquently demonstrated that the postmodern approach to the Middle Ages need not neglect the “evidence” of material sources, that working “with” Foucault on sources that the French scholar himself never considered allows us to derive from those very sources a rich and nuanced understanding of scholastic thought.
The question of material sources brings us back to one method that I have already introduced in my discussion of genre and that Foucault employed masterfully. This is a methodological individualism, which led him to reject such universal categories as man, aspiring instead to tease out the relations discernible between individual objects and the historically specific practices that subtended those relations (and objects). As Roger Chartier puts it, Foucault refused to use “universal categories” “whose historical variations (be they madness, medicine, state, or sexuality) the historian simply notes. Behind the lazy convenience of vocabulary, what we need to recognize are singular demarcations, specific distributions, and particular ‘positivities’ produced by differentiated practices that construct figures (of knowledge or of power) irreducible to one another.”59 Thus, according to Paul Veyne, “things are only objectivizations of determined practices.”60 Foucault’s nominalism privileges the variations among individuals, variations rendered visible through categorical groupings, but these groups are more like “lines of variation,” in the characterization of Deleuze: “General terms are the co-ordinates which have no meaning other than to make possible the estimation of a continuous variation.”61
The necessity of taking such a course when studying medieval encyclopedism has, I hope, already become clear; it reduces the natural tendency to anachronize or perpetuate old assumptions about medieval textuality because it forces us to study actual texts and relations. Its consequence, in the larger scheme of things, is to throw into relief the discontinuities of history, a consequence evident in the difference between a reading of the encyclopedic (p.20) genre as a historical constant (which would mean that the failures of the medieval encyclopedia to conform to the expectations of the modern genre would be characterized merely as an incomplete development) and the one I have proposed, which posits that genres can only ever be understood through discrete texts, thus emphasizing the irreducible differences between the texts of the thirteenth century and, say, those of the eighteenth.62 Discontinuity can be understood to have a lateral as well as a vertical dimension, although one of the weaknesses of The Order of Things was Foucault’s failure to take that possibility into account. In other words, there can be discontinuities between practices dispersed along what was previously taken to be historical succession, but there can also be discontinuities between practices contemporary to each other, or else texts created by distinct historical practices can be juxtaposed. This observation leads us to another method that Foucault introduced: the exploitation of a most eclectic group of source texts, a model for anyone attempting to take full account of (rather than reduce) the eclecticism of medieval encyclopedias. Taken together, both these methods reveal the diacritical pattern of thought and the openness to the diversity of a given subject matter that has come to characterize postmodern historiography.
But material sources also pose several problems for the medievalist adapting Foucauldian methodologies. Language can assume two material forms: one acoustic, the other visual. Foucault particularly neglected to discuss the first of these, the sound patterns that organize language, although he occasionally exploited them with titles such as “La prose du monde” (which is memorable because of its approximate assonance—paradoxically, a phenomenon deriving from medieval verse). The Latin encyclopedic writing of the Middle Ages occasionally made room for verse, and the first vernacular encyclopedias were in either verse or a prose often distinct from colloquial speech. Adrian Armstrong and Sarah Kay have recently argued that such poetic practices structure the understanding of reality in late medieval texts, an observation applicable to all three writers that I consider here.63 As we shall see in part 2, both Ramon Llull and Jean de Meun exploit the sound patterns of language to perform (for Llull) or call into question (for Jean) the ostensible claims of their texts, and neither writer can be adequately understood without attention to this acoustic material. Vincent of Beauvais, for his part, cites from both prose and poetic texts, creating an acoustic and discursive bricolage that late medieval readers seemed to appreciate, for they reflected it visually when laying the text out on the page, a phenomenon that I shall study in part 3.
(p.21) This practice leads us to the visual materiality of the text, which also deserved more attention than Foucault accorded it in his analysis of discourses in The Order of Things and The Archaeology of Knowledge. We shall see in parts 1 and 3 that the visual aspect of the manuscript page, the shape and distribution of its letters and their decoration, determined the way in which medieval readers approached and understood the text. The diversity of layouts indicated and reinforced discursive heterogeneity in the scholastic period. Foucault, on the other hand, insisted that the verbal and the visual were incompatible.64 He took this perceived incompatibility as a point of departure for analysis, most notably in his essay on Magritte’s Ceci n’est pas une pipe, which he treats as a drawing “created from the fragments of an unraveled calligram.” The calligram as genre, and another way in which it may be unraveled, will be treated in chapter 5, but I cite here Foucault’s surprising treatment of the letters in Magritte’s drawing, which, because they are written out with flourishes of calligraphy, he characterizes as something “drawn—images of words”: “From the calligraphic past, which I am quite obliged to extend to them, the words have conserved their logical relationship to the drawing, and their state as something drawn. Consequently I must read them superimposed on themselves. At the surface of the image, they form the reflection of a sentence saying that this is not a pipe. The image of a text.”65 Foucault here seems to erase the material medium through which—according to his own explanation elsewhere—statements must necessarily be articulated and in which they maintain a residual existence.66 He does not attribute to these letters even the status of traces.
We should, perhaps, understand this insistence on an absolute disjunction between the discursive and the visual as deriving from the technologies of Foucault’s time. Print and the typewriter had rendered calligraphy an archaic, artificial art form, while film, as Deleuze points out, had introduced a disjunction between the visible and the acoustic.67 Nevertheless, Foucault did recognize that, in earlier periods, the visible and the discursive could be fused; he refers in his discussion of the Renaissance in The Order of Things to “that uniform layer, in which the seen and the read, the visible and the expressible, were endlessly interwoven,” formed because there is “no difference between the visible marks that God has stamped upon the surface of the earth, so that we may know its inner secrets, and the legible words that the Scriptures, or the sages of Antiquity, [illumined by a divine light,] have set down in the books preserved for us by tradition.”68 And, inspired by the discovery of Erwin Panofsky’s essays on medieval art, Foucault did all too briefly consider the “complex and tangled relations” between discourse and (p.22) image in the scholastic period, but, beyond one very short essay, he never pursued the question.69 His interest in the problems of the present gave him little cause to elaborate on this other, older way of construing the two realms as one or to describe the visibility of a statement. In the present study, I shall be obliged to do so.70
The difficulty of relating the discursive to the visual when working with Foucauldian methodologies indicates a more fundamental problem: in his early work, Foucault never successfully articulated the relation between the discursive and the nondiscursive. He was interested in the conditions of possibility for the creation of knowledge, especially the rules that determine how serious statements of truth can be made. At least some of these conditions would appear to be external to discourse, as he occasionally acknowledged.71 But in The Order of Things he treated discourse as entirely autonomous, without any relation to the nondiscursive. And in The Archaeology of Knowledge he continued to cite this autonomy and provided no clear explanation of how to link the two realms.72 It is therefore unclear whence derive the rules that define how knowledge is constituted. Foucault repeatedly stated that the rules governing discourse are not derived from a collective consciousness, yet he made no positive statement about their source and was inconsistent even about the level at which they are to be located. Do these laws lie behind, or operate within, discursive phenomena? Foucault vacillated.73
The vagueness of the link between the discursive and the nondiscursive probably derives from the fact that power plays a most indistinct role in these two books. Its role would be elaborated in Foucault’s later work. In a 1977 interview, Foucault would state that power was the deep preoccupation of his early work, although he had not been aware of it at the time. He would thus describe The Order of Things as one of a series of analyses of power, “the pinpointing of mechanisms of power within scientific discourses themselves: what rule is one obliged to obey, in a certain period, when one wants to create a scientific discourse on life, on natural history, on political economy? What must one obey, to what constraint is one subjected, how, from one discourse to another, from one model to another, are the effects of power produced?”74 All the passive constructions in this explanation paper over an essential obscurity, the same one that had plagued The Order of Things: Foucault is still not answering the question of whence the rules and constraints derive. Nevertheless, his new work on sexuality does make clear that he has chosen his source texts because they were produced in the fields of exercise of power.75 As Deleuze explains: “The words, phrases and (p.23) propositions examined by the text must be those which revolve round different focal points of power (and resistance) set in play by a particular problem.”76 And, with this topography of power, the archive, that larger field that embraces all the discourses in a given age, begins to acquire a discernible shape.
What, then, are the focal points of power and resistance that can be used to map the scholastic archive? The answer derives from identifying the central problem, which is theological, philosophical, and textual in nature: an intellectual culture long accustomed to one way of knowing was challenged to absorb a body of texts set down in earlier historical moments when people had other ways of knowing. The focal points of power and resistance can then be understood as the various institutions (religious orders, universities) where stands were taken on the problems that this (potential) assimilation created. But the boundaries of organized institutions alone do not adequately circumscribe these foci, for the orders and universities were riven by controversy. A more accurate map may be created by delimiting what Brian Stock has called “textual communities,” that is, groups in which a particular use of a specific text both structured the interactions of the members among themselves and unified them as a group against other individuals or communities.77 Not all members of a textual community needed to have access to the text in question; a single interpreter or a small group of interpreters could use their knowledge of a text to shape a larger community of individuals who know the text less well or not at all. In this way, illiterate or semiliterate individuals could well belong to textual communities dominated by a few charismatic preachers, teachers, or—I would add, although Stock does not extend his analysis this far—troubadours or romanciers. Textual communities are sometimes isomorphic with institutions, but, because they crystallize around texts rather than being delimited by institutional boundaries, they also have the ability to embrace multiple institutions, to delimit factions within a single institution, or to link individuals who led lives outside any formal institutional structure.
The textual community thus constitutes a particularly useful paradigm for describing a period during which factions, which sometimes crossed institutional boundaries, formed around the way particular texts should be used. By the mid-thirteenth century, the Dominicans, many secular masters at the University of Paris, and a few Franciscans were moving toward an Aristotelianism of sorts, although they took slightly different approaches to the Aristotelian texts and some were more skeptical, or more heavily influenced by Neoplatonism or Averroism, than others. They were led by a group of powerful interpreters: Albert the Great, Aquinas, Siger of (p.24) Brabant, Roger Bacon. They were opposed by what some scholars have identified as an Augustinian faction, composed of many (but not all) Franciscans and also independent individuals such as Ramon Llull. The Augustinians, whose most powerful voice was that of Bonaventure, knew Aristotle and did not reject all his works categorically, but they approached them with even greater caution, privileging instead the largely Platonic ideas of Augustine.78 Yet another, more radical textual community formed around the millenarian writings of the twelfth-century exegete Joachim of Fiore, a Cistercian who was to acquire in the thirteenth century a following (“Joachimites”) that included many of what came to be known as “Spiritual” Franciscans. The Joachimites shared the same biblical text, the same object of commentary, with the Aristotelians and the Augustinians, but their exegetical practice was different, shaped by the visions and writings of Joachim. Similarly, but on a larger scale, Christians, Muslims, and Jews shared some of the same essential texts, but the dialogues that were initiated between them during the period came to naught because their hermeneutics were at variance; they had constituted mutually exclusive textual communities around similar texts. This brief sketch of the textual communities of the thirteenth century suggests that we can move beyond the definition given by Stock, to think of such communities as forming, not around a single text, but around a small constellation of key texts. For example, the Bible was still at the center of the Aristotelian community, even though Aristotle’s writings were also; those thinkers whose view of Aristotle was shaped by Averroes belonged to a community distinct from those whose view was not so shaped; etc.
The texts chosen for closer analysis in parts 2 and 3 of this study were produced by writers who participated in very different institutions and textual communities. The three major Latin encyclopedists of the first half of the thirteenth century, Thomas of Cantimpé, Bartholomeus Anglicus, and Vincent of Beauvais, were all mendicants and came out of a milieu in which, it seems, inchoate Aristotelian inclinations were still tempered by traditional Neoplatonism.79 I have decided against basing the present study on this triad of encyclopedists because I fear that a discussion of such a group would never escape the boundaries of a single textual community and that it would thus constantly circle round to the same observations. The more diverse group that I have assembled—mendicant and secular, clerical and lay, Aristotelian and Augustinian, with connections to the Joachimites, Jews, Muslims, and several courtly milieux—provides a fuller sample of thirteenth-century thought. Such a sample is necessary when studying a textual practice whose goal was to promulgate knowledge beyond the university or clerical (p.25) community. In part 2, before engaging in a focused analysis of their texts, I shall give brief accounts of these writers’ involvement in various institutions and textual communities. Although the limitations of space will not allow me to fully explore the relations between the texts in question and the structures of power in those groups, I hope that such accounts will go some way toward filling this lacuna in the early Foucauldian archaeological method.
I am aware that my choice of texts is expressed through the kinds of “unities” (the oeuvre, the author) that Foucault rejected. What he had in mind, as Hayden White has observed, was “a history of the human sciences without names,” and, if he was forced to employ names, they were never intended to be any more than “shorthand devices for designating the texts.”80 In part 1, devoted to general questions, I shall take more or less this approach, but the close readings required in parts 2 and 3 will necessarily throw into relief the writers’ participation in the various conflicting institutions of the thirteenth century and the “author function” (the understanding of authorship proper to a particular culture, period, or genre) in relation to which these texts have been, and continue to be, understood. Therefore, this study provides the occasion to consider the peculiarities of the author function in the scholastic period. In fact, I have chosen these texts partly because many of them provide case studies for the way the traditional unities of the oeuvre and the author—and (to go Foucault a few better) the book and the reader—break down.81 This will be foreshadowed in the conclusions to the chapters of part 2 and become clearer in part 3. The Speculum maius was composed of multiple “books” (textual divisions), but it could not be contained within a single “book” (codex). Neither was it transmitted in complete and identical collections of books; multiple versions circulated in fragmentary form, extracts were made to suit the tastes of specific readers, and apocryphal portions were added, a situation that complicates any attempt to take it as a unified work or as a stable component of Vincent’s oeuvre. As for the author, this was a term that medieval writers did not use lightly, and many insisted that compilers were not authors at all. On the other hand, the Roman de la Rose is a first-person narration that was begun by one writer and completed by another, a reader of the earlier portion. This structure is reproduced within the fiction of the Libre de meravelles. Such intersections of reading and writing invite us to recall John Dagenais’s assertion that “in the Middle Ages the primary ‘literary’ activity was not writing, and certainly not ‘authoring’ or ‘creating,’ but reading.”82 Thus, the traditional unities turn out to be not so unified after all, and I shall be obliged, in the final chapter, to abandon both the author and the (homogeneous) textual community in pursuit of a less (p.26) determinate, more protean knowing “subject” that is opened up by encyclopedic texts, neither a traditional author nor a passive reader, but actively engaged in the constitution of the text, the arbiter of its conflicting meanings and interpreter of its ethical imperatives.
On the Problem of Reading Everything
One last methodological issue deserves comment. As Vincent of Beauvais was willing to acknowledge but Foucault was not, it is not possible to read everything, much less to take account of it in a single book.83 Hence, I offer three qualifications concerning the scope and purpose of the chapters that follow.
First, despite my intense and at times minute focus on the texts in question, these chapters are not intended to provide a comprehensive study of the writings of Vincent of Beauvais, Ramon Llull, or Jean de Meun. All three were exceedingly prolific, given to writing lengthy texts whose complexities modern scholarship, though it is vast and deep, has not exhausted. A comparative discussion of their writings does, however, make it possible to discern broader dynamics that remain indistinct, if not wholly invisible, when one of the writers is studied individually. The fact that all three participate in these dynamics suggests larger conclusions about the period in which they were working than it would it be possible to draw from a single-author study.
It may seem contradictory, then, that time should occasionally be devoted to texts by earlier writers. As it happens, when encyclopedias are constructed from citations of other texts, studying them means studying what happens to those other texts when they are absorbed into encyclopedias, which necessitates a preliminary understanding of the function of those texts in their original form. I want to distinguish this approach from the Quellenforschung, the traditional source study, which would pose such questions as from what kind of manuscript Vincent drew his citations of Pliny (i.e., from a full text of the Natural History, or from a twelfth-century florilegium, or from the citations of Pliny in Isidore of Seville’s much earlier encyclopedia?). I will, on occasion (particularly in chapter 3), assume this scholarly mode and suggest sources whose relevance has been neglected. Nevertheless, my work largely short-circuits this kind of inquiry because my theoretical paradigm renders the intermediary steps in the transmission of a given text less important than the outcome—the appearance of a citation in an encyclopedia—and the epistemological and literary distance that can be measured between the encyclopedic citation and the original text.
(p.27) Finally, and most important, the chapters to follow are not intended to provide a survey of scholastic encyclopedism. Such a survey would have to begin with early twelfth-century texts, and it would have to devote sustained analyses to the important thirteenth-century Latin encyclopedias of Bartholomeus Anglicus and Thomas of Cantimpré as well as the vernacular adaptations of the genre by Gossuin de Metz, Brunetto Latini, and Matfre Ermengaud, before proceeding to Dante’s Commedia, vernacular translation of the Latin encyclopedias, and the development of a philosophical encyclopedism in the fourteenth century. It would thus have to take account of the specific forms that encyclopedism assumed at different points within the scholastic period. Of these points, the current study can address only the thirteenth century—and that only partially, with a focus on texts written in the kingdom of France or by a peripatetic Majorcan seeking a readership in France. A more complete coverage would triple the length of this book while diffusing its theoretical focus. The resulting book would be an encyclopedia of medieval encyclopedias, and that is not my goal. In fact, Reading the World is a very different kind of book from the historical survey or the encyclopedia; its purpose is to balance historical with theoretical considerations in an investigation of the way three very different writers came to terms with the paradigms of encyclopedic practice in their day.
(2) . The choice to solicit the collaboration of the entire online community has been attributed to a sentiment of “antielitism,” according to the accusation leveled by the Wikipedia community at those who would otherwise be recognized as experts (ibid.). Whether or not the community practices active disrespect for expertise, and whether or not that disrespect is prompted by the perception that experts are “elitists,” the (p.316) terms elitism and antielitism are perhaps not the best articulation of the nature of the Wiki revolution. Their lack of neutrality in current usage renders a disinterested assessment difficult. Expertise and authority are better choices; I prefer the latter because it makes most readily apparent the link between particular kinds of knowledge and institutions.
(3) . Eric Steven Raymond, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” 1997, http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/index.html#catbmain. This article is related to Wikipedia by Simon Waldman, who provides a more or less neutral assessment of that encyclopedia’s strengths and weaknesses in “Who Knows?” Guardian, October 26, 2004.
(4) . Mâle, AR, 23–26.
(5) . Pappas quoted in Waldman, “Who Knows?”
(7) . Similarly, George Bornstein observes that the “rise of new electronic media” has resulted in a “new awareness of the book or journal as an artifact having material form. The dance of pixels across the screen denaturalized for us the dance of print and revealed the material conditions of its creation and display on the page” (“Pages, Pixels, and the Profession,” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 34 : 197–207, 198).
(8) . See Noam Cohen, “When Knowledge Isn’t Written, Does It Still Count?” New York Times, August 8, 2011; and Achal R. Prabhala ’s short film People Are Knowledge (2011), at http://vimeo.com/26469276.
(9) . The idea that past ways of dealing with accumulated knowledge may be productively studied in relation to current paradigms is receiving a great deal of attention at the moment. Blair’s 2010 TMTK deals with early modern reference books, showing how the creators of these books were engaged in what we would today call information management. The present study shares many of the same aims, though Blair’s and my different disciplinary training will be reflected in differences of terminology, methodology, and emphasis. For example, I have chosen to employ the term knowledge, an approximate English translation of the Latin scientia, rather than today’s information, which Blair prefers. As Blair points out, knowledge posits an “individual knower,” whereas she is interested in information as “a kind of public property distinct from personal knowledge” (TMTK, 2). Such a distinction reflects what Jean-François Lyotard has called the “exteriorization of knowledge with respect to the ‘knower,’” which became possible after the introduction of computers (The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi, THL 10 [Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984], 4). The intentional anachronism proves a powerful methodological tool for Blair, allowing her to isolate a group of scholarly techniques and demonstrate their deep historical roots, which had been obscured by common modern assumptions about, and value judgments of, learning in past ages. For my part, I am interested in the relation between that “public property” (another useful modern notion) and the individual—that is to say, in the ways in which knowledge is interiorized in the premodern world. Twentieth-century literary criticism has given us ways to talk about fictional or implied readers and knowing subjects, their ethical dispositions and aesthetic responses. I shall have recourse to these notions at the end of the present book, in order to consider the subject that is shaped by scholastic compilations.
(10) . (p.317) The intellectual paradigms and discursive practices proper to thirteenth-century scholasticism will be discussed in chapter 1. Readers seeking a fuller account of the political, social, and intellectual terrain of scholasticism may consult a variety of introductory texts and broad historical studies, representing diverse scholarly positions (particularly contested have been the chronological boundaries of the scholastic movement, the relation between scholasticism and humanism, variously defined, the relative influence that biblical commentary and Aristotelian logic had on the development of the dominant scholastic genres of the disputatio and the quaestio, and the precise relation of Augustinian and Aristotelian thought). Recent introductions include Rolf Schönberger’s Was ist Scholastik? (Hildesheim: Bernward, 1991) and Gangolf Schrimpf’s “Bausteine für einen historischen Begriff der scholastischen Philosophie” (in Philosophie im Mittelalter, Entwicklungslinien und Paradigmen, ed. Jan P. Beckmann, Ludger Honnefelder, Gangolf Schrimpf, and Georg Wieland [Hamburg: Felix Meiner, 1996], 1–25). David Knowles’s The Evolution of Medieval Thought (New York: Vintage, 1962), though much older, is succinct and eminently readable and remains useful because it is one of the few broad surveys to devote significant space to the accomplishments of the eleventh century that paved the way for scholasticism. A more recent treatment of changing social structures during the eleventh century is R. I. Moore, The First European Revolution, c. 970–1215 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000). Focused on the role of debate, interpretation, and textual cultures in eleventh- and twelfth-century communities are Brian Stock’s The Implications of Literacy: Written Language and Models of Interpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983) and Leidulf Melve’s Inventing the Public Sphere: The Public Debate during the Investiture Contest (c. 1030–1122) (2 vols. [Leiden: Brill, 2007]). The twelfth century has probably received more scholarly attention than any other scholastic century, and the studies are too numerous to list. Among the classic accounts are Martin Grabmann, Die Geschichte der scholastischen Methode, 2 vols. (1909–11; reprint, Basel: Schwabe, 1961); and M.-D. Chenu, Nature, Man, and Society in the Twelfth Century: Essays on New Theological Perspectives in the Latin West, trans. Jerome Taylor and Lester K. Little (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968). Recently, Richard Southern (Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, 2 vols. [Oxford: Blackwell, 1995–2001]) has provided a good summation of one scholarly view of the period, but his work should be read alongside texts that exemplify other views. See esp. John Marenbon, “Humanism, Scholasticism and the School of Chartres,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 6 (2000): 569–77 (Marenbon contests Southern’s notion of a decline in the late thirteenth century); and R. M. Thomson, review of Scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, by Richard Southern, Journal of Religious History 26 (2002): 264–73 (Thomson brings out the revisionary aspect of Southern’s argument while critiquing his use of terminology). For mid- and late scholasticism, the reader can begin with Étienne Gilson’s classic A History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York: Random House, 1955); John Marenbon, Later Medieval Philosophy (1150–1350): An Introduction (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987); and Anthony Kenny and Jan Pinborg’s compact synthesis of scholarship in “Medieval Philosophical Literature” (in The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Disintegration of Scholasticism, 1100–1600, ed. Norman, Kretzmann, Anthony, Kenny, and Jan, Pinborg [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982], 11–42). Charles Lohr’s “The Medieval Interpretation of Aristotle” (in ibid., 80–98) is particularly useful as an (p.318) introduction to the scholastic adaptation of/to Aristotelian science. A. J. Minnis and A. B. Scott’s Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism, c. 1100–1375 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1988) is an anthology of translations from literary theory and criticism of the period, with invaluable introductory essays, that gives the lie to the old notions that medieval writers did not engage in such literary discussions and that, as the editors put it, scholasticism was a “malevolent tide which caused the submersion of literary awareness.” Minnis and Scott show instead that the movement “actually channeled such awareness into areas of study where it was enabled to enjoy a new prestige” (7). More expansive and in-depth studies of thirteenth-century scholastic thought, diverse in their methodologies, include Fernand Van Steenberghen, The Philosophical Movement in the Thirteenth Century (Edinburgh: Nelson, 1955); Weijers, MSPI; and Rosemann, USTF. The last two (as well as Schönberger’s Was ist Scholastik?) reflect a strong recent interest in the intellectual and textual practices that define scholasticism.
(11) . While the scholastic assimilation of the Greek texts has been the subject of countless studies, the full implications of their transmission through Arabic translations, accompanied by the commentaries of Muslim thinkers, have only begun to be seriously considered by scholars in the last few decades. One of the most important early books to approach the subject is Alain de Libera’s Penser au Moyen âge (Paris: Seuil, 1991). Charles Burnett’s ongoing work has been particularly illuminating in this area.
(12) . On the possible reasons for the eclipse of Plato by Aristotle in this period, see James Hankins, “Antiplatonism in the Renaissance and the Middle Ages,” Classica et mediaevalia 47 (1996): 359–77, esp. 372–77.
(13) . There are several good studies of the cathedral schools and the development of the new universities. On the schools, see C. Stephen Jaeger, The Envy of Angels: Cathedral Schools and Social Ideals in Medieval Europe, 950–1200 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000). For the French university context with which the present study will be preoccupied, see, among others, Stephen C. Ferruolo, The Origins of the University: The Schools of Paris and Their Critics, 1100–1215 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1985); and Serge Lusignan, “title="Vérité garde le roy”: La construction d’une identité universitaire en France (XIIIe–XVe siècle)" ( place="Paris" publisher="Publications de la Sorbonne" date="1999").
(14) . A great deal of excellent work has been done on medieval books and the book trade. For book production in the scholastic period in France and its relation to the intellectual work of the period, one should consult esp. Christopher de Hamel, Glossed Books of the Bible and the Origins of the Paris Booktrade (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 1984); and Mary A. Rouse and Richard H. Rouse, Authentic Witnesses: Approaches to Medieval Texts and Manuscripts, Publications in Medieval Studies, 27 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991). Thirteenth-century book production in the region has recently been the object of two book-length studies: Richard H. Rouse and Mary A. Rouse, Manuscripts and Their Makers: Commercial Book Producers in Medieval Paris, 1200–1500 (Turnhout: H. Miller, 2000); and Alison Stones, Gothic Manuscripts, c. 1260–1320: A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in France (London: Harvey Miller, 2011).
(15) . There survive a few texts in early Romance dialects from before 1000 and several longer texts in Old French, Occitan, and perhaps Catalan from the eleventh century, but it was not until the twelfth that French and Occitan seem to have become common vehicles for (written) literary expression. Catalan, Castilian, Galician-Portuguese, and (p.319) the Sicilian dialect of Italian seem to have come into their own as literary languages at the end of the twelfth century or in the thirteenth. Again, the studies are too numerous to list. For the status of the vernacular as the language of intellectual endeavor in France, particularly useful is Serge Lusignan, Parler vulgairement: Les intellectuels et la langue française aux XIIIe et XIVe siècles (Paris: Vrin; Montréal: Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1986). My summary history is written from the perspective of the lands where the vernaculars were Gallo-Romance (French, Occitan, Catalan) because that is the geographic focus of this study. Germanic vernaculars (Old High German, Anglo-Saxon), on the other hand, began to be used for writing and translating longer texts earlier than their Romance neighbors, then developed in ways specific to their geographic, cultural, and political context.
(16) . Mâle, AR, 23; Jacques Le Goff, “Pourquoi le XIIIe siècle a-t-il été plus particulièrement un siècle d’encyclopédisme?” in EMAC, 23–40.
(17) . Blair suggests that the term was likely first used by the early Venetian printer Aldus Manutius (TMTK, 34–35).
(18) . I have chosen to use the word florilegium freely in the present study because, as I shall argue in chapter 5 below, the failure to recognize these encyclopedias as florilegia encourages scholars to read them in ways that their genesis and literary form do not support. Nevertheless, by classing an encyclopedia such as the Speculum maius among florilegia, I am going against the grain of recent scholarship, which has tended to distinguish between florilegia and encyclopedias (both modern generic categories) on the basis of the more limited role of the florilegium compiler, who usually abstains from editorial comment (Jacqueline Hamesse, “Les florilèges philosophiques du XIIIe au XVe siècle,” in GLSTP, 181–91, 181). Perhaps also operative in the distinction commonly assumed are the anonymity of so many compilers of florilegia (whereas we have the names of many encyclopedists) and the broader scope of the texts identified as encyclopedias. The trouble is that, with the first criterion, we are talking about a scale of degrees of editorial intervention, and it is not clear where on this scale the break is to be made. B. Munk Olsen’s list of the possible interventions of the compiler in the florilegium (“Les florilèges d’auteurs classiques,” in GLSTP, 151–64, 152–54) would accommodate virtually all the interventions of early thirteenth-century encyclopedists. Similarly problematic is the question of authorship. None of these encyclopedists identified himself as an author (Vincent of Beauvais called himself an excerptator [see chapter 1 below], and his description of his work echoes that of the compilers of florilegia). Furthermore, Thomas of Cantimpré’s text was frequently attributed by rubricators to other scholars (particularly Albert the Great), suggesting that the compiler had not exerted himself to ensure that the text would circulate under his name. At the same time, not all compilers of florilegia remained anonymous (see Richard H. Rouse and Mary A. Rouse, “Florilegia of Patristic Texts,” in GLSTP, 165–80, 176–78). All this suggests that we are again dealing with a scale (this time of degrees of anonymity)—as, indeed, we are when we think about the scope of these texts. Moreover, one of the most frequently cited purposes of thirteenth-century encyclopedias—to provide resources for preachers—also seems to have been the goal of thirteenth-century copyists of older florilegia, such as the Florilegium Angelicum and the Florilegium Gallicum (Richard H. Rouse and Mary A. Rouse, “The Florilegium Angelicumain: Its Origin, Content, and Influence,” in Medieval Learning and Literature: Essays Presented to Richard William Hunt, ed. J. J. G. Alexander and M. T. Gibson [Oxford: Clarendon, 1976], 66–114, 92–93).
(p.320) Hence the prudence with which Jacqueline Hamesse cautions us that “il est difficile de plaquer sur des réalités médiévales fluctuantes des distinctions modernes trop rigoureuses” (“Le vocabulaire des florilèges médiévaux,” in Méthodes et instruments du travail intellectuel au Moyen âge: Études sur le vocabulaire, ed. Olga Weijers, Études sur le vocabulaire intellectuel du Moyen âge, 3 [Turnhout: Brepols, 1990], 209–30, 229) and Lusignan’s balanced description of Vincent’s Speculum maius (ca. 1235–ca. 1264) as “un incroyable florilège dont l’universalité des sources en fait une encyclopédie” (Lusignan, ed., PSM, 110). On the florilegium genre, see, in addition to the articles cited above, B. Munk Olsen, “Les classiques latins dans les florilèges médiévaux antérieurs au XIIIe siècle,” Revue d’histoire des textes 9 (1979): 47–121; 10 (1980): 115–64;Richard H. Rouse and Mary A. Rouse, Preachers, Florilegia and Sermons: Studies on the “Manipulus florum” of Thomas of Ireland, ST, 47 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1979); and Mary A. Rouse and Richard H. Rouse, “Florilegia of Patristic Texts,” in GLSTP, 165–80, and Authentic Witnesses.
(19) . My project thus parallels that of Ivan Illich, who argues that studying the slightly earlier transition from monastic to scholastic reading “may then throw some light on a very different transition now” (In the Vinyard of the Text: A Commentary on Hugh’s Didascalicon [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993], 4). I shall suggest, however, that this transition did not occur in the punctual way that Illich suggests (Illich locates Hugh of Saint-Victor as one of the last of the monastic readers). Instead, the view of scholasticism that I shall develop embraces the older practice of monastic reading as one among several ways of processing the text on the page. The simplest form of evidence for this theory is that texts that necessitated the slower, ruminative monastic reading, such as Hrabanus Maurus’s In honorem sanctae crucis (see chapter 5 below), continued to be copied during the scholastic period. Therefore, scholastic reading should be understood, not as a single practice, but as a constellation of practices exploited by different individuals or even the same individual in different contexts. Similarly, today, individuals who were trained in a culture of print books have learned to process and create electronic texts, and most can move back and forth effortlessly from one technology to the other.
(20) . For the influence of rhetoric on late medieval textual practice, see esp. Copeland, RHT.
(21) . Foucault’s notion of discourse is most clearly articulated in AK (translation of AdS ), although readers new to Foucault may find it easier to grasp the concept through its application in the earlier OT (translation of MC ). Because of the difficulty of Foucault’s texts (which derives, not only from his opaque style, but also from the shifting, self-revisionary nature of his thought), readers may also wish to consult Dreyfus and Rabinow, MF, esp. pt. 1.
(22) . This has been Minnis’s suggestion, which resolves the difficulties that arise from referring to compilatio as a genre in and of itself. See Alastair J. Minnis, “Nolens auctor sed compilator reputari: The Late-Medieval Discourse of Compilation,” in La méthode critique au Moyen âge, ed. Mireille Chazan and Gilbert Dahan (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006), 47–63.
(23) . Robert L. Fowler provides a succinct overview of the etymology and early attestations, as well as further bibliography, in his most useful discussion of the notion of the encyclopedia through the ages, “Encyclopaedias: Definitions and Theoretical (p.321) Problems,” in Pre-Modern Encyclopedic Texts: Proceedings of the Second COMERS Congress, Groningen, 1–4 July 1996, ed. Peter Binkley (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 3–29, 14–15 and 27–29.
(24) . Pliny, NH prologue 14. For the long-standing disagreement among classicists concerning the significance of this pair of Greek terms in antiquity, see the recent comments in Aude Doody, “Pliny’s Natural History: Enkuklios Paideia and the Ancient Encyclopedia,” Journal of the History of Ideas 70 (2009): 1–21, 10–17. A summary bibliography is provided in ibid., 10n21, 11n22.
(25) . François Rabelais, Pantagruel (1532), ed. Mireille Huchon, with the collaboration of François Moreau, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade (Paris: Gallimard, 1994), 290 (ch. 20). The word had first appeared in English a year earlier, in Sir Thomas Elyot’s The boke named The gouernour (1.13).
(26) . According to Blair, this usage first appeared in Latin in 1583, with an edition of Gregor Reisch’s Margarita philosophica (first published 1503), newly subtitled the perfectissima kyklopaideia. Its first appearances in English and French were much later: in 1728, with Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopaedia, and in 1751, with the Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert. By this time, the word had already been applied to at least one scholastic text, the Speculum docrinale, the portion of the Speculum maius devoted to the arts and sciences. This volume is referred to on the title page of the 1624 Douai edition as the omnium artium et scientiarum perfecta Encyclopedia (Blair, TMTK, 168–71).
(27) . Though florilegus was used by Ovid to describe bees (Metamorphoses 15.366). For the generic term’s modern pedigree, see Hamesse, “Le vocabulaire des florilèges,” 209.
(28) . Le GoffLe Goff, “Pourquoi,” 29.
(30) . This is not to imply that there are no genres with medieval designators. In the field of vernacular literature, there are spectacular examples: the romance and the troubadour canso and sirventes. However, texts in these genres were produced in far larger numbers than were encyclopedias, constituting a critical mass that quickly became perceptible to the authors and their public. Only then, a er the textual tradition had established itself, did that community invent names for the genres in question.
(31) . See Hans Robert Jauss, “Theory of Genres and Medieval Literature” (1972), in Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. Timothy Bahti, with an introduction by Paul de Man, THL 2 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), 76–109.
(32) . Among the many scholars not working in the literary field who have demonstrated the discursive nature of medieval knowledge in their discipline, I would cite particularly Gabrielle M. Spiegel in history and Charles Burnett in the history of science.
(33) . Quintilian (ca. 35–ca. 100 CE) cites litteratura as a synonym of grammatica (Institutionis oratoriae 2.1.4); the term refers either to writing in general or to the discipline of grammar, philology in the restricted sense. The adjective litteratus could have two meanings, corresponding to our literate, on the one hand, and our learned or well-read, on the other (Teeuwen, VIL, 94). A person who was litteratus had read a great deal, be the field poetry, philosophy, natural history, or mathematics; he or she was not exclusively a person who read a great deal of poetry or who had any particular appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of writing (Curtius, EL, 42). During the early Middle Ages, as the ability to speak Latin was gradually restricted to an educated, clerical elite, the term litteratus became more or less synonymous with clericus (clerk, cleric). (p.322) Beginning in the late eleventh century, increasing numbers of lay people were educated in Latin, but the basic classical sense of litteratus as “literate” was not revived. The word maintained only the second of its classical senses, “well-read in Latin” (Teeuwen, VIL, 92–93).
(34) . For the vernacular text’s position on the fence between oral and literate cultures, troubadour lyric provides an instructive case. See esp. Laura Kendrick, The Game of Love: Troubadour Wordplay (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988); and Amelia Van Vleck, Memory and Re-Creation in Troubadour Lyric (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991). On the orality of the vernacular text in general, Paul Zumthor’s La lettre et la voix: De la “littérature” médiévale (Paris: Seuil, 1987) remains the classic study, while Joyce Coleman’s Public Reading and Reading Public in Late Medieval England and France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) shows the degree to which even literate communities in the later Middle Ages enjoyed and cultivated the “aurality” of texts. The early use of the vernacular in learned circles is described in Lusignan, Parler vulgairement.
(35) . James A. Weisheipl, “Classification of the Sciences in Medieval Thought,” Mediaeval Studies 27 (1965): 54–90, 54; Teeuwen, VIL, 358–60.
(37) . The former term is employed by Dominicus Gundissalinus in the De divisione philosophiae (ca. 1150), the latter by Robert Kilwardby in the De ortu scientiarum (ca. 1250). See the De divisione 18.1–19.2 and the De ortu chs. 45–48 for a discussion of the status of these disciplines, as well as chapter 1 below. Weijers identifies the other scholastic writers who employ these terms and discusses the subtle differences in their terminology. See Olga Weijers [as Olga Weyers], “L’appellation des disciplines dansles classifications des sciences au XIIe et XIIIe siècles,” Archivum Latinitatis Medii Aevi 46–47 (1986–87): 39–64, 57–60. Poetics was not usually identified as a discipline apart (most considered it a component of grammatical study), but Ralph of Longchamp (ca. 1155–ca. 1215), a philosopher with a taste for poetry, does distinguish it from the discursive disciplines of the trivium (in his commentary on the Anticlaudianus [see Weijers, “Appellation,” 57]).
(39) . In The Development of Physical Theory in the Middle Ages (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1971), James A. Weisheipl introduces the diverse approaches to the physical sciences in the scholastic period. For a brief explanation of the differences between modern and medieval physical science, see esp. David C. Lindberg, ed., Science in the Middle Ages, Chicago History of Science and Medicine (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), xi–xv.
(40) . Observation and experimentation have traditionally been attributed to the thirteenth-century thinkers Robert Grossetest, Albert the Great, and Roger Bacon, who have variously been credited with opening the way for modern science. However, if we strip aside legend, it is not always easy to tell how much of these writers’ observation is their own and how much they relate from their Greek and Arabic sources. For Grosseteste, the discussion in James McEvoy’s “Grosseteste’s Place in the History of (p.323) Science” (in The Philosophy of Robert Grosseteste [Oxford: Clarendon, 1982], 206–22) is most useful.
(41) . In “Textual Deference” (American Philosophical Quarterly 28, no. 1 : 1–12), Barry Smith argues that the elaboration of medieval philosophy through commentary indicates a much closer relation between the disciplines of literary criticism, law, theology, philosophy, and medicine than we admit today.
(42) . Hence the acknowledgment that there was no independent aesthetic category of literature in the Middle Ages cannot be called reductive because it allows us to see that what we appreciate in the “literary” (inventiveness, figuration, self-consciousness concerning form and style) was in fact far more pervasive in the medieval period than in the modern, influencing fields of thought from which it has since been banished. For this understanding of medieval writing, Allen’s account in EP, though now thirty years old, remains invaluable, as does Foucault’s discussion of the invention of the modern conception of literature in OT, ch. 2, esp. 43–44/MC, 58–59.
(43) . See Brian Stock, Myth and Science in the Twelfth Century: A Study of Bernard Silvester (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972); and Winthrop Wetherbee, Platonism and Poetry in the Twelfth Century: The Literary Influence of the School of Chartres (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972).
(44) . See Parkes, IC (1976); and Alastair Minnis, “Late Medieval Discussions of Compilatio and the Rôle of the Compilator,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache und Literatur 101 (1979): 385–421. See also Minnis’s more recent “Nolens auctor sed compilator reputari” (2006).
(45) . I have found especially thought provoking the work of Christel Meier on encyclopedias in general, of Heinz Meyer and Baudouin Van den Abeele on Bartholomeus Anglicus, and of Monique Paulmier-Foucart and other scholars on Vincent of Beauvais (for a fuller list, see chapter 2 below and the bibliography).
(46) . A few exceptional contributions do consider the interface between encyclopedic and imaginative writing. An early example is Robert Pring-Mill’s brilliant “Els recontaments de l’Arbre Exemplifical de Ramon Llull: La transmutacio de la ciencia en literatura” (, reprinted in Estudis sobre Ramon Llull [1956–78] [Barcelona: Curial, 1991], 307–18), which may be partly responsible for the fact that scholars of Llull have more readily considered the formal or aesthetic aspects of his writing as integral to his philosophical practice, and vice versa (see, e.g., the work of Armand Llinarès, Anthony Bonner, Lola Badia, and Xavier Bonillo Hoyos).
(47) . In the opening pages of De natura rerum: Études sur les encyclopédies médiévales (Orléans: Paradigme, 1995), Bernard Ribémont decries the fact that the separation of disciplines in the modern university has kept literary scholars from reading encyclope-dias; nevertheless, the binary paradigm by which he will link literary and encyclopedic writing is already implicit: “Pour les littéraires, qui oublient que les encyclopédies furent très lues par les écrivains médiévaux qui y cherchaient les informations, ces textes ne font en général pas partie de la ‘littérature,’ ressortant davantage du domaine de la ‘science’” (5). His later Littérature et encyclopédies du Moyen âge (Orléans: Paradigme, 2002) does begin to articulate a more complex relation between literature and encyclopedism, but here as well he devotes his energies mainly to a series of fragmentary and highly localized studies of courtly writers’ borrowings from the contents, the information transmitted by the encyclopedia. (Ribémont is only the latest in a long line (p.324) of scholars who have attempted to project a modern distinction between science and literature on these medieval texts. For an influential precedent, see Michel de Boüard, “Encyclopédies médiévales: Sur la ‘connaisance de la nature du monde’ au Moyen âge,” Revue des questions historiques 112 : 358–404.)
(48) . Ribémont, De natura rerum, 20. Later in this book, he elaborates: “L’encyclopédiste … ne prétend rien inventer …. Si l’on veut avoir une vision diachronique de l’encyclopédisme médiéval, il faut a priori se garder de procéder selon les schémas de progrès, de nouveauté. Si progrès il y a, il se fait en dehors du texte encyclopédique; lui ne fait qu’en rendre compte” (53). And further: “La dynamique de l’encyclopédisme est lancée par un mouvement culturel et scientifique dont les textes encyclopédiques ne forment qu’un relais second; cette dynamique ne peut donc s’animer réellement que dans un phénomène de réexploitation continue, éventuellement d’invention, mais dont les cadres sont fixés a priori” (59–60). It seems to me that the concept of the a priori is not reconcilable with Jauss’s theory of genres, dependent as this latter is on a series of texts rather than on a paradigm imposed from without.
(49) . Berel Lang, The Anatomy of Philosophical Style: Literary Philosophy and the Philosophy of Literature (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1990), 2, 18. For an earlier reflection on the mutual dependency of form and idea in medieval theological writing, see M.-D. Chenu, Toward Understanding Saint Thomas, trans. A.-M., Landry and D., Hughes (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1964), ch. 2, esp. 79–80.
(50) . See esp. Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), 114, and Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), 233. In the 1970s and 1980s, Foucault paid considerably more attention than he had in the 1960s to the role of nondiscursive practices in shaping the subject, so the claim that Foucault was entirely absorbed with the discursive, which was fair when White first began writing about Foucault in the early 1970s, is not really an accurate assessment of the French philosopher’s work as a whole. See Flynn, PMH, 34.
(51) . Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, trans. Seán Hand (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,1988), 20.
(52) . For a brief, highly accessible presentation of Foucault’s archaeological methods (and the problems they raise), see Mark Poster, “The Future according to Foucault: The Archaeology of Knowledge and Intellectual History,” in Modern European Intellectual History: Reappraisals and New Perspectives, ed. Dominick LaCapra and Steven Kaplan (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982), 137–52. Fuller, very helpful accounts are Dreyfus and Rabinow, MF, 16–43; and Pamela Major-Poetzl, Michel Foucault’s Archaeology of Western Culture: Toward a New Science of History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983), esp. 149–200.
(53) . See, e.g., George Huppert, “Divinatio et Eruditio: Thoughts on Foucault,” History and Theory 13 (1974): 191–207; Major-Poetzl, Michel Foucault’s Archaeology, 149, 162, 168; Anne Clark Bartlett, “Foucault’s Medievalism,” Mystics Quarterly 20, no. 1 (1994): 10–18, 15; David Cohen and Richard Saller, “Foucault on Sexuality in Greco-Roman Antiquity,” in Foucault and the Writing of History, ed. Jan Goldstein (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), 35–59, 35; and Carolyn Dinshaw, Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), 191–206. In a later interview (1977), Foucault acknowledged “fictioning” history for political ends, a medieval move if ever there was one: “Je me rends bien compte que je n’ai jamais rien écrit que des (p.325) fictions. Je ne veux pas dire pour autant que cela soit hors vérité …. On ‘fictionne’ de l’histoire à partir d’une réalité politique qui la rend vraie, on ‘fictionne’ une politique qui n’existe pas encore à partir d’une vérité historique” (“Les rapports de pouvoir passent à l’intérieur des corps,” in DE, 3:228–36, 236). Dinshaw discusses this approach to history, pointing out: “The utopian, the elegiac, what I have been calling the nostalgic, functions as part of a serious ethical and aesthetic vision of the present and future” (Getting Medieval, 200). This (circumscribed) defense of Foucault’s historiography fits with Dinshaw’s politically engaged study of sexualities and communities, but to my mind Foucault’s fictionalizations of the distant past are less defensible when, as in the OT, they make it into a monolithic Other whose sole apparent purpose is to allow the mise en relief of the complexities of modernity (on this function of the medieval in Foucault’s work, see also Paul Freedman and Gabrielle M. Spiegel, “Medievalisms Old and New: The Rediscovery of Alterity in North American Medieval Studies,” American Historical Review 103 : 677–704, 698).
(54) . This kind of revision is perfectly in the spirit of Foucault, who was constantly reworking his own paradigms, as he acknowledged throughout his career. See, e.g., “Pouvoir et savoir” (1977), in DE, 2:399–414, 404–6; “Interview with Michel Foucault” (1980), in EWF, 3:239–97, 239–41; and “Entretien avec Michel Foucault,” in DE, 2:860–914, 860–61. Hence, while acknowledging the problems that his studies pose for medievalists, Karma Lochrie nevertheless suggests that “we can always follow the spirit if not the letter of Foucault” by “resisting the kind of monolithic dispositifs that Foucault consistently challenged” (“Desiring Foucault,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 27 : 3–16, 13).
(55) . Linda Hutcheon, A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction (New York: Routledge, 1988), 3, 19, 39. For medievalists familiar with the work of Lee Patterson, this idea of dialogue may be compared to the latter’s “elaborate and endless negotiations [between ourselves and the past], struggles between desire and knowledge that can never be granted closure” (Negotiating the Past: The Historical Understanding of Medieval Literature [Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987], 72–73). Negotiating the Past was published before Hutcheon’s A Poetics of Postmodernism, but Patterson takes account of her work in the later “On the Margin: Postmodernism, Ironic History, and Medieval Studies,” Speculum 65 (1990): 87–108, 90. Like both these scholars, I am wary of Lyotard’s conception of postmodernism, which would seem to make historical thought impossible (see, e.g., Patterson, “On the Margin,” 89–90).
(56) . Jan Goldstein, ed., Foucault and the Writing of History (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994); Flynn, PMH.
(57) . Rosemann, USTF. In an earlier, wonderfully thought-provoking article, “Medieval Textuality and the Archaeology of Textual Culture” (in Speaking Two Languages: Traditional Disciplines and Contemporary Theory in Medieval Studies, ed. Allen J. Frantzen [Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991], 181–210), Martin Irvine had already sketched the outlines of an archaeological approach to medieval textuality. This would be the approach that he took in his The Making of Textual Culture: “Grammatica” and Literary Theory, 350–1100 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). Most recently, Suzanne Conklin Akbari has also adapted Foucauldian archaeology; see her Idols in the East: European Representations of Islam and the Orient, 1100–1450 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009). Nevertheless, it is Foucault’s late writings on sexuality that have evoked the most sustained and explicit discussion by medievalists. In the field (p.326) of literary criticism, one could cite, among many others, Dinshaw, Getting Medieval; and James A. Schultz, Courtly Love, the Love of Courtliness, and the History of Sexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006).
(58) . Rosemann, USTF, ix. See, in a similar vein, Patterson, Negotiating the Past, x, 44–45; and Peter L. Allen, “A Frame for the Text? History, Literary Theory, Subjectivity, and the Study of Medieval Literature,” Exemplaria 3 (1991): 1–25. Defenses of the use of theory in medieval studies were common in the 1980s and 1990s; they are less so today, probably a sign that theoretical approaches have gained wider acceptance. Nevertheless, postmodern theory has had virtually no representation in some fields, among them medieval encyclopedism (the few exceptions of which I am aware are Minnis’s “Nolens auctor sed compilator reputari” and Sarah Kay’s recent work [listed in the bibliography]). Perhaps this is because encyclopedias still pose such great challenges to traditional philology that the topic tends to be chosen mainly by those whose interests and training are philological. In this situation, mutual misunderstandings between philology and theory are, unfortunately, still possible.
(59) . Roger Chartier, “The Chimera of the Origin: Archaeology, Cultural History, and the French Revolution,” in Goldstein, ed., Foucault and the Writing of History, 167–86, 185.
(60) . Paul Veyne, “Foucault Revolutionizes History,” trans. Catherine Porter, in Foucault and His Interlocutors, ed. Arnold I. Davidson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 146–82, 159. For a further discussion of Foucault’s nominalism, see John Rajchman, Michel Foucault: The Freedom of Philosophy (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 50–60; and Flynn, PMH, ch. 2. The latter describes it as “a kind of methodological individualism”: “It treats collectives such as socioeconomic class and the State or abstractions like ‘man’ and ‘power’ as reducible, for purposes of explanation, to the individuals that comprise them” (ibid., 32).
(61) . Gilles Deleuze, “What Is a Dispositif?” in Michel Foucault, Philosopher, ed. Tim J. Armstrong (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992), 166.
(62) . Foucault understood this emphasis on the discontinuous to be what distinguished his work from that of more traditional historians and allied him with those who were revising the disciplinary methodology. See esp. AK, 9/AdS, 17. Flynn has pointed out that Foucault was ultimately more interested in the transformations that led to discontinuity than in the fact of discontinuity itself (PMH, 120). If many scholars have overlooked this interest (see, e.g., Jean Piaget, as cited in White, Tropics of Discourse, 251), it is probably owing to Foucault’s insistence on discontinuity in AK.
(63) . Armstrong and Kay, KP.
(64) . Foucault, OT, 9–10/MC, 25.
(65) . Michel Foucault, “This Is Not a Pipe” (1968), in EWF, 2:187–203, 191/“Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” in DE, 1:663–78, 667.
(66) . See Michel Foucault, “On the Archaeology of the Sciences: Response to the Epistemology Circle” (1968), in EWF, 2:297–333, 308/“Sur l’archéologie des sciences: Réponse au Cercle d’épistémologie,” in DE, 1:724–59, 735, and AK, 100/AdS, 132. In AK, Foucault goes on to complicate the idea of the material medium through which statements are made by claiming that some possess a “repeatable materiality,” a claim that he elaborates in a discussion (AK, 102/AdS, 134–35) that reveals his utter ignorance of the significance of textual criticism. I do not have space here to pursue this topic, but readers seeking an explanation of the importance of textual criticism to literary and (p.327) historical studies can begin with Jerome J. McGann’s luminous The Beauty of Inflections: Literary Investigations in Historical Method and Theory (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985). The problems that textual critics face when working with manuscript texts, and the diverse solutions that they have devised, are helpfully summarized by Alfred Foulet and Mary Blakely Speer in “A Historical Orientation,” in On Editing Old French Texts (Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, 1979), 1–39. Discussions of the theoretical implications of the various approaches to textual criticism include Lee Patterson, “The Logic of Textual Criticism and the Way of Genius,” in Textual Criticism and Literary Interpretation, ed. Jerome J. McGann (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 55–91; and David F. Hult, “Reading It Right: The Ideology of Text Editing,” in The New Medievalism, ed. Marina S., Brownlee, Kevin, Brownlee, and Stephen G., Nichols (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), 113–30.
(67) . Deleuze, Foucault, 64–65.
(68) . Foucault, OT, 43, 33/MC, 58, 48.
(69) . Foucault, “Les mots et les images,” in DE, 1:648–51, 650.
(70) . Insofar as it emphasizes the visual form and context of the written word, the present study is deeply indebted to the New Philology or what Stephen Nichols and Siegfried Wenzel have dubbed material philology. One of the guiding principals of this (no longer so) new approach is that medieval texts cannot be adequately understood apart from their individual manuscript realizations. For a description of the New Philologists’ philosophy and methodology, see Stephen G. Nichols, ed., “The New Philology,” special issue, Speculum 65, no. 1 (1990): esp. 7–8. “If one considers only the dimensions of the medieval illuminated manuscript, it is evident that philological practices that have treated the manuscript from the perspective of text and language alone have seriously neglected the important supplements that were part and parcel of medieval text production: visual images and annotation of various forms (rubrics, ‘captions,’ glosses, and interpolations)” (ibid., 7). Nevertheless, Sarah Kay has pointed out the danger of forgetting that the study of the material artifact also “passes through interpretive grids, those of perception and language” (“The New Philology,” NML 3 : 295–326, 318). Her analytic survey of the New Philology should be read in tandem with the work of Nichols.
(71) . See, e.g., Foucault, “On the Archaeology of the Sciences,” 308/“Sur l’archéologie des sciences,” 735.
(72) . Foucault, AK, 121–22/AdS, 160. The problem is treated extensively in Dreyfus and Rabinow, MF, xxiv, 17, 57–58. Also helpful are the discussions in Deleuze, Foucault, 9–10; and Flynn, PMH, 136–37.
(73) . Compare Foucault, AK, 60, 62/AdS, 81, 83, an inconsistency pointed out in Dreyfus and Rabinow, MF, 70.
(74) . Foucault, “Pouvoir et savoir,” 402.
(75) . Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. 1, An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Pantheon, 1978), 18/Histoire de sexualité 1 (Paris: Gallimard, 1976), 26–27.
(76) . Deleuze, Foucault, 17.
(78) . The degree to which various thirteenth-century thinkers were Aristotelian or Augustinian has been matter for scholarly debate, and I do not wish to oversimplify (p.328) the issue, but I cannot enter into the particulars here. For Bonaventure, I follow the assessment of Etienne Gilson in The Philosophy of St. Bonaventure (trans. Illtyd Trethowan and F. J. Sheed [New York: Sheed & Ward, 1938]) (for a summary of Gilson’s argument concerning Bonaventure’s use of Aristotle, see ibid., 2–10), admittedly an older piece of scholarship than Van Steenberghen’s The Philosophical Movement, which suggests that Bonaventure and Albert held similar positions on Aristotle (lecture 4). Not everyone finds Van Steenberghen’s argument on this point convincing. See, e.g., the discussion in Knowles, The Evolution of Medieval Thought, 243–46. For a recent summary of the debate by a scholar who sides with Gilson, see Christopher M. Cullen, Bonaventure, Great Medieval Thinkers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).
(79) . Again, there is ongoing discussion among scholars concerning the nature of these encyclopedists’ allegiances, Aristotelian or Neoplatonist. Vincent, at least, strikes me as a little of both: conservative in his organizational schemas (see chapter 2 below), and not the kind of intellectual trailblazer who would forge forward to wrestle with the difficulties of Aristotle, but nevertheless susceptible, through the practice of compilatio, to the Philosopher’s influence, either directly or indirectly, through other classical and scholastic writers (see esp. Charles Burnett, “The Coherence of the Arabic-Latin Translation Program in Toledo in the Twelfth Century,” Science in Context 14 : 249–88; Alain Naudeau, “Le statut des extraits du De homine dans le Speculum natu-rale de Vincent de Beauvais,” in Albert le Grand et sa réception au Moyen âge: Hommage à Zénon Kaluza, ed. Fr., Cheneval, R., Imbach, and Th., Ricklin [Fribourg: Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie, 1998], 84–95; and Eva Albrecht, “Excursus: Aristotle and Other Greek and Arabic Scientific Sources in Three Thirteenth-Century Latin Encyclopedias,” in The Medieval Hebrew Encyclopedias of Science and Philosophy, ed. Steven Harvey [Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 2000], 58–70). The mendicant encyclopedists would thus represent a textual community in the process of transformation.
(80) . White, Tropics of Discourse, 238. Poster observes that, paradoxically, the task of writing about Foucauldian archaeology obliges one to have recourse to precisely the notions of author and subject that Foucault ostensibly rejected (“The Future according to Foucault,” 152). Foucault’s inadequately theorized approach to authors in OT occasioned considerable criticism, to which he responded in the now classic “What Is an Author?” (1969), in EWF, 2:205–22/“Qu’est-ce qu’un auteur?” in DE, 1:817–49, which also includes a critique of the notion of the oeuvre (in the sense of a body of works attributed to a single author). Authorship in the Middle Ages has been treated extensively in Alastair J. Minnis, Medieval Theory of Authorship: Scholastic Literary Attitudes in the Later Middle Ages (London: Scholar, 1984). For the peculiarities of the “author function” in the Middle Ages, also very helpful is Sarah Kay, “Who Was Chrétien de Troyes?” Arthurian Literature 15 (1997): 1–35.
(81) . In “What Is a ‘Book’? Some Post-Foucauldian Ruminations (a Prolegomenon),” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 34 (2003): 182–97, an article that medievalists could productively ponder, David Greetham has posed a question that has recently been reiterated in Alexandra Gillespie, “The History of the Book,” NML 9 (2007): 245–86. The latter argues that, despite the considerable interest in this field, the relation between manuscript books and print books remains inadequately explored, compromising any larger claims about the history of the book, generally speaking.
(82) . John Dagenais, The Ethics of Reading in Manuscript Culture: Glossing the “Libro de buen amor” (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 22. Huot’s RRMR, a (p.329) study of the manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose, beautifully demonstrates the way late medieval readers responded to and reshaped one of the primary texts dealt with in the present study. Her book could thus be taken as a demonstration of the way the unity of the author/oeuvre breaks down in medieval textual transmission.
(83) . See Vincent of Beauvais, SD 1.33, De illis qui omnia legere volunt (Concerning those who want to read everything), for a number of well-chosen dicta on the impossibility and dangers of the enterprise. For Foucault’s refusal to acknowledge such limitations, see Foucault, “The Order of Things,” in EWF, 2:261–67, 262–63/“Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses,” in DE, 1:526–32, 527.