1st Edition

The Making of Manners and Morals in Twelfth-Century England
The Book of the Civilised Man





ISBN 9780367890049
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
226 Pages

USD $47.95

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Book Description

How different are we from those in the past? Or, how different do we think we are from those in the past? Medieval people were more dirty and unhygienic than us – as novels, TV, and film would have us believe – but how much truth is there in this notion? This book seeks to challenge some of these preconceptions by examining medieval society through rules of conduct, and specifically through the lens of a medieval Latin text entitled The Book of the Civilised Man – or Urbanus magnus – which is attributed to Daniel of Beccles.



Urbanus magnus is a twelfth-century poem of almost 3,000 lines which comprehensively surveys the day-to-day life of medieval society, including issues such as moral behaviour, friendship, marriage, hospitality, table manners, and diet. Currently, it is a neglected source for the social and cultural history of daily life in medieval England, but by incorporating modern ideas of disgust and taboo, and merging anthropology, sociology, and archaeology with history, this book aims to bring it to the fore, and to show that medieval people did have standards of behaviour. Although they may seem remote to modern ‘civilised’ people, there is both continuity and change in human behaviour throughout the centuries.

Table of Contents

 

Illustrations



Acknowledgements



Abbreviations



Manuscript Sigla





Introduction





Chapter 1. The Background to Urbanus Magnus



Content



Introduction to the Manuscripts



Composition



Authorship





Chapter 2. Genre and Urbanus Magnus



Scholarship on Urbanus Magnus



The Genre of Courtesy Literature



The Origins of Courtesy Literature



Other Sources





Chapter 3. The Manuscript Evidence



Twelfth-Century Satire



An Educational Tool



Religious Use



A Medical Text





Chapter 4. Introduction to Themes





Chapter 5. The Medieval Household and Beyond



Administering the Household



Householder, Home, and Hospitality



Children and Wives



Staff and Servants



Outside the Household



Social Mobility and Appropriate Courtesy





Chapter 6. The Medieval Body in Urbanus Magnus



Bodily Moderation and Restraint



Speech and Laughter



Bodily Vices



The Body and Sex



Bodily Emissions



Disgust





Chapter 7. Medieval Dining and Diet



The Archaeological Evidence



The Medieval Meal



Preparation and Consumption



Manners



Continuity and Change



Diet and Health





Chapter 8. New Interpretations



The Impetus for and Precursors to Urbanus Magnus



Origins



Social Habitus



The Court of Henry II



‘A Monument to Anxiety’



Use



The Impact of Urbanus Magnus





Conclusion





Appendix: Contenances de table poems



Bibliography





Index

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Author(s)

Biography

Fiona Whelan completed her DPhil in Medieval History at the University of Oxford in 2015, and has previously studied at Trinity College Dublin and University College London. She has published on manuscript dissemination and has contributed to the collection Transformations and Continuities in the Eleventh Century: The Archaeology of the Norman Conquest. She currently works for the University of Oxford and her research interests include the cultivation of norms of behaviour, food and diet in the medieval period, household administration, and the manuscript culture of early courtesy literature.