British Library, Royal MS 17 D.XV: A Wars of the Roses Compilation

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    Abstract

    This article examines the production context and political content of British Library, Royal MS 17 D.XV. Though best known for containing a copy of the Canterbury Tales, the latter part of the collection combines a number of seemingly irreconcilable political texts from both the ‘Yorkist’ and ‘Lancastrian’ factions, including Sir John Fortescue’s retraction of his Lancastrian propaganda and the sole copy of the Somnium Vigilantis. Building on both material and political analyses, this article explores the manuscript’s production and provenance as well as its political discourse. As a collection of disparate political texts compiled already in the second half of the fifteenth century, this is a perfect illustration of the importance of the discursive struggle that lay at the heart of the Wars of the Roses, both on the level of the individual political texts and of the manuscript as a whole.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of the Early Book Society
    Volume24
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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