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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2008.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 72-06, Section: A, page: .
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This thesis explores institutional archival practices in pre-Conquest England through comparative analysis of the iterative and formulaic characteristics of diplomatic texts recorded in a group of three eleventh-century cartularies pertaining to Worcester Cathedral. Worcester's medieval cartularies include the earliest surviving English cartulary, the Liber Wigorniensis , as well as two of the earliest Anglo-Norman cartularies: the fragmentary 'St. Wulfstan Cartulary' and 'Hemming's Cartulary'. It is the author's contention that consideration of the specific contexts in which Worcester's pre-Conquest records were preserved is fundamental to understanding their medieval significance. Analysis of the manner in which textual elements were reproduced as their contexts of preservation changed over the course of the eleventh century may, therefore, indicate aspects of the routine modus operandi of pre-Conquest institutional record-keepers, as well as suggesting which textual elements of their early records may have been thought most worth preserving by members of the community that collected them.The thesis includes an historical overview of scholarly attitudes since the sixteenth century concerning the significance of early English acta. The author discusses how the corpus of pre-Conquest English acta has been editorially re-contextualized in order to illustrate linguistic and constitutional continuity and change. He argues that traditional 'best texts' approaches to diplomatic editing have had the unintended consequence of obscuring understanding of how diplomatic texts were subject to change as their contexts of preservation changed. The subsequent chapters analyze representative texts recorded in each of Worcester's three eleventh-century cartularies, revealing both the occurrence and development of textual routines among Worcester's preserved acta and suggesting the degree to which textual modification was a routine aspect of preserving records within pre-Conquest and Conquest-era institutional archives. Finally, the author assesses the characteristics of textual preservation observed among Worcester's early cartularies in relation to prevailing attitudes regarding the routine use of written records by pre-Conquest institutions and the significance of textual integrity in the analysis of early medieval English acta.