Based on comparative studies and contextualisations of European vernacular religious literatures, this project aims at new insights about the dynamics of regional ( vernacular ) identity formation in the 14th and 15th centuries. The investigation will focus on intellectual elites linked in close, supra-regional networks, who gradually introduced the vernacular mode in the dominant theological discourse; at the same time, they increased the symbolical charge of the vernacular languages. The core period studied in the project will be the second half of the 14th century, a period in which new forms of institutionalisation and discursive orientation of ecclesiastic and lay powers began to take shape, and directions were taken that should prove decisive for further development. At the time, Prague was the political and intellectual centre of the Holy Roman Empire, but its international impact is grossly understudied. The project will therefore mainly deal with the rich and little-known production of Czech religious literature. It sets out to reconstruct the personal networks engaged in the creation, translation and propagation of vernacular religious literature, and in the formation of textual communities and cultural identities at the treshold from Latin to the vernaculars.
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