Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 837
Paris, BNF, fr. 837 is a large manuscript collection which contains an incredible array of medieval French texts. It constitutes one of the most important witnesses of thirteenth-century vernacular (?) literature produced in northern France. Moreover, the manuscript also bears witness to what might be described as a boom in the production of large literary multi-text codices. Find out more here.
At first sight, it seems to be a highly disparate miscellany. Indeed, the generic diversity of this codex has left many critics bedazzled. Learn more about the the codex’s complex cocktail of genres.
However, is it possible to identify any principles of organisation that govern its arrangement? And can the first text provide any significant clues?
In its current condition all of the texts are exceptionally short in length. Why is this? Did length play a role in the various stages of its organisation?
At a time when most short texts were transmitted anonymously, what is the significance of an author collection in this codex?
The codex appears to have passed through the hands of various readers, with quite different concerns. Interested in finding out more about their scribblings? Click here.