Archive:Engaging Words: The Culture of Reading in the Later Middle Ages

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Laurel Amtower, Engaging Words: The Culture of Reading in the Later Middle Ages. Contributor Bonnie Wheeler (Palgrave, 2000).

Page 29.

Sir Richard Stury, Sir Lewis Clifford, and Sir William Trussell all owned and bequeathed books in their wills; Sir John Clanvowe, while not on record as owning any specific books, at least attested to the reading preferences of the courtly milieu when he attacked the reading of romances in his own work, The Two Ways.

...Women in this class were readers too. In 1395 Lady Alice West of Hampshire bequeathed to her daughter Iohane "a masse book, and all the bokes that I haue of latyn, englisch, and frensch." It is worth noting that Lady Alice was apparently not only a reader herself but also saw fit to leave her library to her daughter rather than to her sons - a striking instance of a family dedication to women's literacy. Lady Peryne Clanbowe, in 1422, bequeathed another mass book to her brother, Robert of Whitney, as well as a "booke of Englyssh, cleped 'pore caytife,'" to one Elizabeth.


Copyright ©2006, Adrian Benjamin Burke, Esq., and the Whitney Research Group

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