Narrative cohesion through text and material: texts, co-texts and the manuscript tradition surrounding Leonardo Bruni’s Seleuco

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Abstract

The novella of Seleuco, attributed to Leonardo Bruni, survives in sixty manuscripts from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Focusing on the textual and material composition of those manuscripts, this paper explores the potential for a broadly-based analysis of the relationships between texts, materials, and wider cultural narratives about reading and writing using two forms of narrative theory. The paper first introduces the varied configurations of the manuscripts and examines the ways in which those configurations prompt or influence particular approaches to textuality, through the narrative representations of particular situations of text creation, use, and transmission, which are themselves seen through the lens of a sociological narrative theory. Turning away from the contents of the text to some extent, then, it goes on to examine, using two examples, how visual and codicological elements can disrupt the construction of narratives of textuality. The groundwork for the paper has been laid by existing studies on the textual tradition of the novella and the manuscripts that contain it and on the attribution of the novella. The present paper, then, proposes a new way of reflecting on the text and the objects that contain it, integrating manuscript studies and book historical approaches with narrative theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-28
JournalItalian Studies
Volume74
Issue number1
Early online date27 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Descriptive bibliography
  • Leonardo Bruni
  • Manuscript studies
  • Materiality
  • Narrative theory
  • Textuality

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