This is the first major study of the cultural role of grammatica, the central discipline concerned with literacy, language, and literature in early medieval society. Martin Irvine draws together several aspects of medieval culture--literary theory, the nature of literacy, education, Biblical interpretation, linguistic thought--in order to reveal the more far-reaching social effects of grammatica in medieval culture. The book is based on new and previously neglected sources, many of which have been edited from medieval manuscripts for the first time.
"The book is hugely comprehensive, drawing on a wide bibliography and some materials available only in manuscript. It is a very useful reference work." Nicolette Zeeman, Studies in the Age of Chaucer "His excellent study of this authorized method of reading does for the early Middle Ages what the work of scholars such as Judson Allen, Rita Copeland, Douglas Kelly, Alastair Minnis, and Marjorie Curry Woods has done for the later Middle Ages...It is essential reading for anyonne who seeks to understand the otherness of medieval litertaure." Martin Camargo, Modern Philology "This is an excellent book, a very important book which should be read or at least consulted by all students of the Middle Ages..." Manuscripta