Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TEXTUAL NETWORKS (Transtextual Networks in the European Middle Ages: A Digital Corpus of the Trojan Narrative in Latin Manuscripts)
Reporting period: 2016-08-15 to 2018-08-14
Not only there were no complete lists of witnesses for the three late antique accounts of the Trojan War but also there had been very little research into the composition and the materiality of the manuscripts in which these works are found. Thus, taking a concept developed by Gérard Genette, transtextuality, the main aim of the project was to look at manuscripts as a whole in order to discover different ways of interaction among texts and how these interactions influence the reception of a text. The overall objective of the project, therefore, was to identify the manuscripts that contain one or more of the late antique accounts of the Trojan War through a comprehensive assessment of existing literature and individual manuscript catalogues, and to create a database with detailed descriptions of the manuscripts based on first-hand observations. The most essential aspect of the project was to catalogue every text in these manuscripts. Looking at the entire contents of the manuscripts allowed the researcher not only to reveal the entire transmission history of each work in question and to identify the hitherto unstudied links among these three works with regard to their manuscript dissemination but also to determine which other texts are associated with these works and to consider the broader implications of the phenomenon of texts that travel together during the Middle Ages in terms of cultures of production, reading and dissemination as well as textual transmission.
- investigation into current tools and standards used in database management and manuscript cataloguing in addition to setting up and maintaining a website for a manuscript catalogue,
- detailed study of the editions of the three late antique accounts of the Trojan War as well as secondary literature on each work for the identification of known manuscripts in scholarship,
- verification of the known manuscripts, first through individual manuscript catalogues then through examination of the manuscripts themselves,
- creation of detailed catalogue records for manuscripts, including full lists of contents,
- identification of additional manuscripts,
- creation of detailed catalogue records for new manuscripts that have not been previously discussed in scholarship,
- further research into secondary literature on each identified manuscript and creation of a bibliography,
- development of a website to present the findings of the project, including a catalogue of manuscripts.
The major output of the research is the project website that was launched at the end of the project: www.transtextual.net. The website includes information about just over 300 manuscripts identified during the course of the project and is envisaged as a long-term, open-access platform. The data used to create the manuscript database and the resulting visualisations are being made freely accessible for other researchers to (re)use and transform under a Creative Commons license.
During the course of the project, seven conference papers were presented at established academic conferences in Europe and the US as well as two public talks and two peer-reviewed articles were published. One more conference paper was delivered after the completion of the project; two more papers and eight more articles, two of which will be joint publications with collaborators, are in preparation at the time of reporting.
The results of the project hence are vital for further research on not only the three late antique accounts of the Trojan War but also the other texts found in these manuscripts. The project also provides the essential groundwork for future critical editions and translations of these three works as well as for research on the history of the adaptations of these works into vernacular languages. Whereas the Trojan narrative is at the crux of this project, because the catalogue incorporates information with regard to all the other texts the manuscripts contain, it is more comprehensive in mapping the textual and cultural network of the European Middle Ages.
Since all the data gathered on the manuscripts is being made available open access, the project will be of use in different ways to researchers who do not have immediate access to archives. Furthermore, it will encourage repositories to update their records as well as make the facsimiles of these manuscripts available online, as some have already done thanks to the project. On an even broader scale, as the first of its kind as a personal research project, it is expected that the project will provide a model that can be applied to a multitude of other texts and manuscript corpora.