The margins of administrative documents made by Exchequer scribes in medieval London are filled with sketches. Ranging from solitary pointing hands to tiny anti-Semitic profiles, drawings were part of a visual system that was meant to both complement and complicate the records themselves. Examining these grotesque profiles using both art history and medieval studies scholarship on difference inspires an intersectional study of intentionality. Two later, yet almost identical, sets of drawings beg comparison to those found in the Exchequer rolls: first, in the 1870s Edward Burne-Jones sketched anti-Semitic caricatures on three pages of his private notebooks, and second are three drawings of exaggerated profiles in Dr. Seuss’s ABC Book from 1963. This paper seeks to contextualize the effects, intended or not, of visual similarities across context and generation.
This paper introduces and discusses a hitherto unknown single-sheet diploma of King Edgar, now in private hands. It is dated 966, and purports to be a grant of a half hide by the king to Bishop Daniel of Cornwall. It appears to be a remodelling of Sawyer 47, a spurious grant of a similar parcel of land by Æthelberht, king of the South Saxons, to Bishop Wilfrid, but some features are drawn instead from a charter from Exeter. It is written in an extraordinary style of majuscule script comparable to that of the only Selsey charter to survive as an original, Sawyer 1184, dated 780. As such, it cannot possibly be genuine, and aspects of its script point to a much later date of fabrication. My paper considers the circumstances which may have led to the charter’s confection, and identifies the likely perpetrator of the forgery.
Njáls saga, an Icelandic family saga, was transmitted in 66 manuscripts produced between 1300 and 1875. The notoriously heavy use of abbreviations in Icelandic manuscripts makes it often difficult to determine the intended spelling of words accurately, which leaves space for postmedieval scribes and modern editors to give their own interpretation of the original text by modernising or archaising the language of their copy/edition when expanding abbreviations. I would like to show examples mainly from the stylistic domain that postmedieval scribes and modern editors are often ‘othering’ their version of the text by exaggerating forms that are, rightly or wrongly, perceived as typically medieval when they expand abbreviations.