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The Making of Thomas Hoccleve's Series$
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David Watt

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780859898690

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859898690.001.0001

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‘My Skyn To Turne’: Beholding the Series in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Selden Supra 53

‘My Skyn To Turne’: Beholding the Series in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Selden Supra 53

(p.186) 5 ‘My Skyn To Turne’: Beholding the Series in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Selden Supra 53
The Making of Thomas Hoccleve's Series

David Watt

Liverpool University Press

The premise for this chapter is that the best way to understand what people made of the Series is to look closely at what people actually made of it. The layout and texts in MS Selden Supra 53 provides evidence that its makers saw the Series as a mirror designed for personal reform. It opens with a copy of Hoccleve's Regiment for Princes and follows the Series with John Lydgate's Danse Macabre. Later readers of this manuscript also seem to have seen it as a mirror: the leaf upon which the miniature appears includes a sudden proliferation of marginal comments and a copy of ‘Erthe Upon Erthe’ in a different hand is bound into the book in. The scribe of the Selden manuscript also provides insight into fifteenth-century tastes, for he copied multiple works by Hoccleve, Lydgate, and Nicholas Love. Overall, MS Selden Supra 53 reveals the importance of the audience's judgment in the selection and juxtaposition of forms, the extent to which the physical flexibility of books could serve the needs of their owners and their makers, the changing tastes of fifteenth-century readers, and, their appetite for personal reform.

Keywords:   Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Selden Supra 53, Regiment of Princes, Textual Mirrors, Nicholas Love, John Lydgate, Danse Macabre, Taste, Reform, Selden Scribe

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