Global Medieval Sourcebook.

More online goodness; Allison Meier reports for Hyperallergic:

Images from medieval manuscripts have had something of a revival on social media, with viral accounts sharing their strange scenes of bizarre beasts or cavorting knights and monks. Yet the reading of those manuscripts by non-scholars remains low, partly due to a lack of access. The recently launched Global Medieval Sourcebook (GMS), curated by Stanford University faculty and students, offers English versions of previously untranslated Middle Ages literature.

“These images are often shared without text, and it can be hard to contextualize them if you’re outside of a formal educational environment, without access to books on the topic, and with no real way to sift through information that is out there,” Mae Lyons-Penner, a PhD student in comparative literature and the GMS project manager, told Hyperallergic. “That’s a barrier that we hope to break down by presenting a diverse array of short medieval texts within their cultural and historical context: sharing what we know about who produced them, who read them, what their importance was, and how it has shaped the way we think about the Middle Ages today.”

The initial offerings of the online compendium, which will be expanded as the GMS develops, range from a 15th-century song translated from Middle French that bemoans a lost love (“Two or three days ago / my sweet love went away / without saying anything to me. Alas, who will comfort me?”) to five selections from Hong Mai’s 12th-century Yijian Zhi (or, Record of the Listener […]), a sprawling 420-chapter chronicle that is an invaluable record of society, spirituality, and culture of the Southern Song Dynasty. The GMS is, as suggested by its title, a globally focused resource, with plans for medieval texts translated from Arabic, Chinese, Old Spanish, Latin, Middle High German, Old English, and Old French. […]

Academics are being invited to contribute short introductions, sometimes accompanied by an audio recording and high-resolution image of the original manuscript. The new English translations are readable alongside the source language. “To create a diverse collection, we have enthusiastically solicited material from genres that are rarely if ever found together in modern editions of medieval texts: songs, sermons, sexually explicit short stories, and summaries of world history are only a few of the genres we are currently working on,” Lyons-Penner said.

Visit the link to read some delightful snippets of the texts; the pull-down language menu includes Old Welsh, but alas, there aren’t any examples yet. (Thanks, Trevor!)


  1. “Two or three days ago / my sweet love went away / without saying anything to me. Alas, who will comfort me?”

    Sounds awfully like an invitation…

  2. Heh.

  3. ????”And if you can’t be
    With the one you love….”????

    Here’s hoping the sight fires some imaginations to action.

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