Thomas Becket: Damnatio Memoriae and the marking of books

Smith, J. J. (2021) Thomas Becket: Damnatio Memoriae and the marking of books. International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church, (doi: 10.1080/1474225X.2020.1863690) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

William Caxton, England’s first printer, published the first edition of his English Golden Legend in 1483–4. Caxton’s edition, a magnificent folio with many woodcuts, was a translation and conflation of three earlier texts: a twelfth-century Latin cycle of saints’ live s and materials appropriate for church feasts, and French and earlier English translations of the same work. But Caxton’s version was not only another translation, but also added new material, including extended versions of the life of Thomas Becket, and a narrative relating to the miracles surrounding the translation of his relics to the new shrine. Later, copies of this book were regularly annotated, in a hostile manner, by those readers who looked on Becket as a traitor to his king. In this article, I place Caxton’s Golden Legend in its context, and discuss how its subsequent mutilation related to other socio-cultural developments in sixteenth-century England.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Jeremy
Authors: Smith, J. J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:1474-225X
ISSN (Online):1747-0234
Published Online:25 January 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
First Published:First published in International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 2021
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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