The University of Wisconsin Press

Medieval Studies / Literature and Criticism


Vox intexta
Orality and Textuality in the Middle Ages
Edited by A. N. Doane and Carol Braun Pasternack

Vox intexta brings together interrelated essays on vital aspects of oral production and reception in Western European medieval contexts, seen from modern and post-structuralist perspectives. The contributors discuss the physical, social, and semiotic qualities of medieval oralism: how individual texts convey meaning, how various texts interrelate, how texts contribute to and are shaped by politics and ideologies in a context of oral production, and what this might have meant to their contemporary producers and audiences.

The book is divided into five parts. “Oral Performance and Oral Text” confronts the dilemma facing scholars attempting to reconstruct oral performances from their written traces. “Oral-Written Interfaces” focuses on specific productions and uses of oral-written hybrid texts. “Staging the Poet’s Presence” concentrates on a vital nexus, the conjunction—or disjunction—of poet, performance, and text. “The Thematics of Orality and Writing” explores how medieval poets regarded changes in technology, social relations, genre, and semiotics. The last section, “Oral Principles in Manuscript Facts,” argues that the meanings of medieval texts are created from the dialogic relationship between orality and specific physical contexts..

The contributors are John Dagenais, John Miles Foley, Dolores Warwick Frese, Sylvia Huot, Robert Kellogg, Laurence de Looze, Tim William Machan, Stephen G. Nichols, Ward Parks, Ursula Schaefer, Dennis Tedlock, Hanna Vollrath, and Alois Wolf. Vox intexta offers the best recent work on literacy, orality, and the transmission of culture in medieval texts. International in scope, interdisciplinary in method, it will be welcomed by all medievalists.

A. N. Doane
is professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Carol Braun Pasternack is assistant professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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December 1991

LC: 91-003573 PN
304 pp. 6 x 9
3 halftones

Book icon Paper $24.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-13094-0
Book icon Cloth $45.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-13090-9
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