Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.01.08
Alastair Minnis, Ian Johnson, The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 2 The Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. 865. ISBN 0-521-30007-X. £160.00.
Reviewed by Francesco Stella, University of Siena in Arezzo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Word count: 3982 words
[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]
This monumental book (henceforward: CHLC), written and masterfully edited by eminent specialists, marks an important innovation in the panorama of medieval studies in the English language. The institutionalization of the literary approach to Middle Ages per se -- independent from the habit of resorting to medieval texts as historical, philosophical, musical, and anthropological documents -- finds a partial precedent only in the Italian 14 volume series Lo spazio letterario del medioevo (published in the 1990s and not mentioned in this volume), where, for example, Ileana Pagani devoted a specific contribution to "La critica letteraria".1 Most recently, the VII International Conference of Medieval Latin, held in Toronto in August 2006 with the title "Interpreting medieval Latin texts", confirms the large interest in the subject. In comparison with the aforementioned Spazio letterario, the volume by Minnis and Johnson will do a great deal to promote awareness of the themes of Medieval literary criticism in a wider international audience. The editors are perfectly aware of the innovative value of their work when they define it "the first-ever history of the literary theory and criticism produced during the Middle Ages", concerning the main European traditions (except Slavonic), from Latin to the Germanic, Celtic, Romance and Byzantine vernaculars.
The structural framework of the volume consists of eight thematic sections, each covering both Latin and vernacular literatures and divided into two chronological blocks (early and late Middle Ages), as follows: 'Introduction'; 'The Liberal Arts and the Arts of Latin Textuality' (three chapters); 'The Study of Classical Authors' (two chapters); 'Textual Psychologies: Imagination, Memory, Pleasure' (two chapters); Vernacular Critical Traditions: the Early Middle Ages' (five chapters); 'Vernacular Critical Traditions: the Late Middle Ages' (six chapters); 'Latin and Vernacular in Italian Literary Theory' (six chapters); 'Byzantine Literary Theory and Criticism' (one chapter). The immense literature available on virtually every single one of these areas made it all the more difficult for the editors to identify a suitable and homogeneous approach for their inquiry. Editors and authors decided to take a position between informative synthesis and critical comment for specialists or advanced students, and they always place the essays at the most advanced scientific level of the research in each field. Repetition of the same information and arguments in different chapters, even when some overlap occurs, is reduced to a minimum and helpfully signaled by cross-references, which give a sense of the existing interconnections.
In the "Introduction" Minnis and Johnson lay out their programme by questioning the long-established view that there was no such thing as a 'literary critic' in the Middle Ages, Dante being conventionally described as an oasis in a theoretical desert. Such skepticism, the authors remind us, was first challenged by Auerbach and Curtius in the 1940s and 1950s and eventually abandoned in the 1980s, thanks to the works of Black, Carruthers, Copeland, Dahan, Dronke, Gómez, Redondo, Haug, Minnis himself, Irvine, Kindermann and others, leading to recent explorations such as the above quoted "Spazio letterario del Medioevo" or the valuable essay of Peter Godman on the historiography of medieval Latin literature in the Worstbrock Festschrift.2 Minnis magisterially prepared this work through his long dealings with the idea of the "author"3 and is perfectly acquainted with the fact that in the Middle Ages the foundations of every literary theory were fundamentally two, Latin grammar and biblical exegesis. The latter is excluded from the volume's horizon, on the grounds that "the general brief for the History [i.e. by the publisher] was to produce an account of Western literary criticism which would deal with both literary theory and critical practice; such fields of knowledge as history of ideas, linguistics, philosophy and theology were deemed 'related' but not essential" (p. 4). This deliberate choice, while allowing for the rediscovery of 'lay' literary critics, sacrifices a field in which research has made great progress in recent decades and which is often referred to in the book, especially in Minnis' contributions -- obviously enough, if we think that the apex of the literary self-reflection in the Middle Ages is Dante, and Dante in the Epistle to Can Grande explains the Commedia according to the four biblical senses. The same "editorial brief" of the History also imposes a Eurocentric, i.e. Christian, view, to the detriment of important recent contributions on Arabic and Hebrew culture.4 And yet here too the officially excluded theme returns through the back door, and Averroes and Avicenna are inevitably quoted and commented on in the context of Roger Bacon or the Poetics of Aristotle. On the other hand the authors are clear and consistent in their choice of Latin culture -- both in its autonomous development and in its interaction with vernacular writings -- as the focus of their work: "Latin could be seen as the great medieval European vernacular, with part of the secret of the language's success being its receptivity to a wide range of appropriations and idiolects" (p. 11). This is, in the wake of Curtius, the unifying element that lends a sound consistency to the conceptual framework of the book.
The first chapter ("Grammatical and literary theory", pp. 15-41), by Martin Irvine and David Thomson, states one of the key principles in the volume, namely that "the discipline closest to literary criticism -- in the sense of the interpretation of a traditional literary canon and the description of literary language -- was grammatica" (p. 15). The discipline is presented as a science of the text from Donatus to John of Salisbury to the modistae and linguistics as theory of discourse. Grammatica ends up offering to readers and writers what we call "literate subjectivity, a position in a network of texts and language that defined how to read and what could be written. It provided the category of the literary as such" (p. 41). The authors trace the origins of literary criticism to the role played by the school in the transmission of culture and to the production of commentaries on a canon of texts. This approach could be further enriched by study of non-grammatical literary critics: the Carolingian epoch, for example, was an age of hot meta-textual debate, and it is high time someone wrote an in-depth study of medieval poetics as expressed in the prologues of some literary works proper (e.g. in prologues to saints' lives; in the eclogae by Modoin of Autun; in the lyrics by Paul the Deacon, Theodulf of Orléans, and Walahfrid Strabo about the composition of poetry; in the poems by Alcuin of York about his school; and so on).
The chapter "The arts of poetry and prose" (pp. 42-67) by James J. Murphy offers an insight not only into the production of artes but also into the reasons for their success. The two most successful examples discussed therein are the Poetria nova by Geoffrey of Vinsauf (of which about 200 manuscripts survive) and the Doctrinale by Alexander of Villedieu. This is one of the most descriptive chapters in the volume, comprehensive within the available space and enriched by concluding remarks on the influence that these artes exerted upon literary Latin and vernacular productions by elaborating a supranational method of composition.
Ronald Witt explores "The arts of letter-writing" (pp. 68-83), underlining the connection between the diffusion of the dictamen and extension, or shall we say democratization, of cultural production. The beginnings are conventionally traced back to Alberic of Montecassino's Praecepta dictaminum (1070), but one feels that the historical sweep on the Italian dictamen might have conveniently included fundamental pioneers such as Bernard of Bologna and Bernard of Arezzo. Bernard de Meung might have been included in the discussion of French treatises, since he wrote hundreds of model-epistles, most of them still only in MSS but partially edited by Rockinger.5 Of particular interest is W.'s final paragraph on some lesser known areas, with information about artes in Bohemia, Germany, Spain, and England. The section on love letters (pp. 80-81) is a valuable addition to the scholarly debate on this subject, revived by the discovery of the Epistolae duorum amantium in 1974.6
In chapter 4 (pp. 84-96) Siegfried Wenzel offers a survey of "The arts of preaching", historicizing the series of models and schemes of these treatises, for which some 200 titles are known from 1200 to the 14th century. W. argues that while the communication model displayed in such treatises influenced all other types of discourse, the connection with literary works (e.g. several of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Langland's Piers Plowman, and Juan Ruiz's Libro de buen amor) proposed by some scholars is questionable ("the case for clear influence seems to be unproven", p. 95).
The second part of the volume concerns the study of the classics, starting with a large chapter (pp. 99-144) by Winthrop Wetherbee, "From late Antiquity to the twelfth century", a period of literary history crucial though often neglected. The central problem here is the relationship between pagan literature and Christian culture, an issue which W. deals with in a fairly conventional manner. The Carolingian age is reconstructed on the basis of outdated sources and presented in its traditional image as classical revival ("the study of the ancient authors as the starting-point", p. 112), whereas contemporary scholarship argues for greater continuity between Late antiquity and the Carolingian era.7 An example of W.'s approach is the statement to the effect that "the strongest surviving evidence of his [i.e. of the Carolingian age] appreciation for ancient literature are his essays in the adaptation of Virgilian pastoral to Christian themes, easily the finest poems of the Carolingian era" (p. 112). Other genres spring to mind as appropriate complements: epics such as Karolus magnus et Leo papa, georgics such as Walahfrid's Hortulus, the anti-classics and confessional lyrics by Gottschalk, the elegies by Alcuin, the biblical sequences by Notker, and many more. The essay is more generous with the Neo-Platonic tradition, from Eriugena to Chartres and twelfth-century writers, of which it offers an excellent reconstruction, with attention paid to the relationship between Latin and vernacular texts.
The following epoch is studied by Vincent Gillespie, "From the twelfth century to c. 1450" in a little book inside the book (pp. 145-235). Due attention is given not only to the accessus but also to literary historians (e.g. Hugo of Trimberg's and Conrad of Hirsau's) and even to unpublished commentaries (e.g. the commentary on Geoffrey of Vinsauf by an anonymous Franciscan friar: Assisi, Biblioteca Capitolare 309, ff. 1r-74v). G. usefully engages in a dialogue with contemporary theoretical studies, offering a very good analysis of the auctores minores, and, more importantly, fresh insights on the medieval readings of Horace and of Ovid. The final part of the chapter is a collection of definitions and comments on ancient literary genres and their medieval transformations, gathered from medieval commentaries on the classics. The entry on "tragedy" might have included mention of Dracontius' Orestis tragoedia and of the Mathematicus by Bernardus Silvestris.
The central section (III) is one of the most innovative and shifts the focus of attention to textual psychologies. Minnis's essay on "Medieval imagination and memory" (pp. 239-274) is a discussion of Western medieval theories of imagination, in which the author analyzes the commentaries on Aristotle's Poetics by Avicenna and Averroes, and the medieval reception of Dionysius Pseudo-Areopagites' apophatic theology; more generally, Minnis gives a thorough assessment of the medieval view of poetry as an imaginative art, and its ethical implications. Somewhat loosely connected to the rest, the second half of M.'s argument deals with memory, with useful references to the Ciceronian notion of mnemotechnique with the help of mental images, and recalls the idea of the Middle Ages as an epoch of "information overload", in which memory was an instrumental necessity for data management.
Glending Olson concentrates on the "criticism of vernacular entertainment" ("The profits of pleasure", pp. 275-287). He detects features of entertainment poetry in Thomas of Cobham and of theatrical ludus in Hugh of Saint-Victor and, even more unpredictably, in Bonaventure's De reductione artium ad theologiam. These texts speak mostly of the relaxing qualities of the shows, but Olson infers from them some evidence for their authors' awareness of the therapeutic power of literature -- there is a risk here of projecting modern notions onto substantially different medieval ideas. The most intriguing pages discuss the psychological relationship between Boccaccio and his reader in the prologue to the French translation by Laurent de Premierfault and the references to the pleasure of reading found in the accessus to Virgil's Copa, where the compiler went as far as openly proclaim that "utilitas solum est delectatio". One is reminded of Reinhart Herzog's works on the finalization of literary delectatio in Christian aedificatio: cf. R. Herzog, Veritas fucata. Hermeneutik und Poetik in der Frührenaissance, in Die Pluralität der Welten. Aspekte der Renaissance in der Romania, München 1988, 107-36; and Id. Die Bibelepik der lateinischen Spätantike. Formgeschichte einer erbaulichen Gattung, Bd. I, München 1975, passim.
The most specifically handbook-shaped section (IV Vernacular critical traditions: the early middle ages) includes Patrick Sims-Williams and Enrich Pope's contribution on "Medieval Irish literary theory and criticism" (291-309), which results in a comparison between the narrative approach of medieval Irish texts and insular biblical exegesis (or Christian hymnography). The chapter by Jahanara Kabir (pp. 310-323) about "Anglo-Saxon textual attitudes" discusses texts such as the riddles of the Exeter Book and the bilingual Enchiridion of Birthferth of Ramsey (985-1011) in the light of postmodernist theories about the process of literary creation and reception.
The short essay by John L. Flood on "Literary theory and practice in early-medieval Germany" (pp. 324-32) is concerned with literary terms in vernacular Germanic languages, the origin of which is traced back to the Carolingian era and to authors such as Otfrid of Weissenbur and Notker the German. I would add a Latin precedent in Late Antiquity: Venantius Fortunatus (sixth century), Praef. 5 sola saepe bombicans barbaros leudos arpa relidens, and Carm. VIII 8, 69 nos tibi versiculos, dent barbara carmina leudos.
Marged Haycock's "Literary criticism in Welsh before c. 1300" (pp. 333-344) remarks on the absence of Welsh treatises on poetics until the fourteenth-century, while Margaret Clunies Ross deals with "Criticism and literary theory in old Norse-Icelandic" (pp. 345-360), focusing broadly on poetic corpora and genre classifications, and specifically on the representations by the poets in Norse literature and on a group of fourteenth-century Icelandic treatises on poetry and literary theory. She shows that "Icelandic historians and other prose writers showed an awareness of medieval Latin genres and were concerned to differentiate between kinds of text on the basis of their presumed truthfulness" (p. 359). Such was the influence of Latin that the Old-Norse collection Edda was at some point etymologized as deriving from the Latin edere in the sense of "compose".
The richest and most documented section is devoted to the vernacular traditions of literary criticism in the late Middle Ages. The first, multi-authored, contribution (chapter 14: Ralph Hanna, Tony Hunt, R.G. Keightley, A. Minnis, N.F. Palmer, "Latin commentary tradition and vernacular literature", pp. 363-421) is a sophisticated analysis of poetic statements in prologues and glosses to translations, and of the interaction between translation and commentary. The analysis is especially successful in detailing the passage from theoretical description to literary prescription, as in the genre "prophecy and vision", and in the self-commentaries by, among others, Boccaccio (Teseida), Francesco da Barberino (Documenti d'amore), and Gower, who comments on his love poem in Latin. The authors argue that the practice of self-commentary, which reaches its peak in Dante's Convivio, strategically aimed to collocate the work of vernacular authors in a scholastic system of relationships and textual evaluations, thereby providing them with a sort of authentication, a translatio auctoritatis.
In Chapter 15 the authors address "Vernacular literary consciousness c. 1100-c.1500: French, German and English evidence" (by Kevin Brownlee, Tony Hunt, Ian Johnson, A. Minnis, Nigel F. Palmer, pp. 422-471), while Chapter 16 (Simon Gaunt and John Marshall, "Occitan grammars and the art of troubadour poetry", pp. 472-495) draws on the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century troubadour biographies and handbooks, which the authors read as evidence for an already declining tradition. The conclusions are in line with the principle stated in the editorial brief: "Vernacular discourse on grammar and rhetoric in the Middle Ages could exist only by adapting the established Latin terminology" (p. 495).
Julian Weiss concerns himself with "Literary theory and polemic in Castile, c. 1200-c.1500" (pp. 496-532). The author sees the theoretical works on poetry in Castilian literature as works which aimed to relate a lay audience to the poets, who had to defend their status. Nigel Palmer's essay on "Literary criticism in Middle High German literature" (pp. 533-548) interprets seemingly autobiographical references in the texts as a form of expression of the authors' literary self-awareness. Gruffydd Aled Williams' essay on "Later literary criticism in Wales" (pp. 549-557) details the transmission of bardic grammars in Aberystwyth and Bangor.
The penultimate part addresses literary theory in Latin and vernacular texts from Italy: Zygmunt G. Baran'sky ("Dante Alighieri: experimentation as (self-)exegesis", pp. 561-582) challenges Gianfranco Contini's view on the "constant flow of metaliterary prompting" in Dante's writings, as marked by a clear movement from conventional to heterodox and by a strategy of legitimation within the literary system of that time: "it is crucial that Dante did not invent a single new technical term with which to describe his poem" (p. 577). In the following essay ("The Epistle to Can Grande", pp. 583-589) Baran'sky rejects the notion that the Epistle to Can Grande represents the main key to understanding the theological hermeneutics of the Commedia, and states his doubts about the Epistle's authenticity, in spite of the discovery, fully acknowledged by B., of a Florentine manuscript of 1340 (BNC II I 39), containing glosses to the Commedia by Antonio Lancia, where Dante is presented explicitly as the author of the Epistle.
Steven Botterill offers a competent and detailed analysis of the "The Trecento commentaries on Dante's Commedia" (pp. 590-611), highlighting the interest of commentaries in allegorical readings of poetry. An important aspect of this chapter is that the author has been able to make use of important recent new finds, such as the 1998 discovery of a fourteenth-century commentary on the Inferno, written in Naples and previously thought to be lost. This essay prepares the transition to the Humanist period, which is treated in the final section of the volume.
"Latin and vernacular from Dante to the age of Lorenzo (1321-c.1500)" by Martin McLaughlin (pp. 612-625) details the sequence of Humanist reactions to Dante's work, from Giovanni del Virgilio to Petrarch and Boccaccio, Salutati, Rinuccini, Domenico da Prato, and the many detractors of the "shoemakers' poet", up until Landino's commentary which finally raises Dante to the rank of a new classic. David Robey then sums up the well-known debate on Latin and the volgare in the chapter "Humanist views on the study of Italian poetry in the early Italian Renaissance" (pp. 626-647), identifying its starting point in the debate about the theological value of poetry and its cultural legitimation. The relevant figures here are Giovanni Dominici and Albertino Mussato, followed by Salutati (De laboribus Hercolis), and then Petrarch and Boccaccio: their antagonistic positions contributed to the foundation of the proto-Humanist awareness of the value of poetry.8 R. sharply captures the divergence (medieval first and Humanist later) between poetic programmes and poetic practices and pays attention to the change from late fifteenth-century Neo-Platonists (not only Ficino, but also Guarino, Piccolomini, Maffei) and sixteenth-century Neo-Aristotelians. This course is followed chiefly through three types of sources: commentaries on classical poets, literary and cultural histories such as Sicco Polenton's Scriptorium illustrium latinae linguae libri XVIII and Giovanni Caldiera's Concordantiae poetarum philosophorum et theologorum, works on the methodology of teaching such as Bruni's De studiis et litteris and the analogous positions of Guarino Veronese and Vittorino da Feltre. The unchanging schedule is the persistence of the allegorical attitude, which begins to ease off with Vergerius while it is revived -- despite Poggio's mockery -- with Neo-Platonists such as Antonio Beccaria and Landino. In his conclusion the author speaks of "theoretical deficiency" in the fifteenth century, acknowledging the Humanists' failure to develop a new and more fitting theory of poetry, both because their responses to theological attacks (such as Dominici's) were unsatisfactory, and because "the academic and pedagogical nature of the humanists' interest in poetry must have limited the stimulus to theoretical innovation" (p. 645). R. draws a comparison between the models of allegorical interpretation and the thematic analysis of literary works in modern literary critics, suggesting that the debate is all but concluded or irrelevant.
The final chapter in the section is another essay by Martin McLaughlin on "Humanist criticism of Latin and vernacular prose" (pp. 648-665). The focus is primarily on Latin prose, as Humanist critical attention to vernacular texts properly begins only at the end of the fifteenth century; the relevant sources are Villani, Petrarch and Boccaccio on Dante, Salutati, Bruni's Dialogi, Biondo and Piccolomini, Valla (with useful information on the debate about Latin and vernacular), Accolti, Pico and Poliziano. An unusually large space is devoted to Paolo Cortesi (here repeatedly "Cortese") and his polemic against Poliziano on the imitation of Cicero. McLaughlin's reappraisal of Cortesi (and of De hominibus doctis in particular) credits this 'minor' Humanists with a breadth of vision and of historiographic ambition comparable only to those of Marcantonio Sabellico (De Latinae linguae reparatione, 1490), while Poliziano, although unanimously considered the more important intellectual figure, comes out only as a modestly gifted and non-systematic polemicist.
Thomas M. Conley brings the volume to its close with a twenty-page discussion of approximately a millennium of literary production in his "Byzantine criticism and the uses of literature" (669-692). The essay underlines the quality of the works of authors such as Photius, Aretas, Doxopatres, Psellus, Nikephoros Basilakes, Theodorus Prodromos, Tzetzes, and highlights the variety of their critical stances, in a successful attempt at redeeming Byzantine culture from persistent charges of repetitive mediocrity.
The 120-page bibliography, divided into 17 double sections (listing primary and secondary sources for each contribution), displays an extraordinary wealth of material, which perhaps could be further expanded by including more titles in languages other than English. The final index is a very valuable help for the use of this wonderful book also as reference work.
A. Minnis and I. Johnson, "Introduction" (pp. 1-12)
M. Irvine and D. Thomson, "Grammatical and literary theory" (pp. 15-41)
J.J. Murphy, "The arts of poetry and prose" (pp. 42-67)
R. Witt, "The arts of letter-writing" (pp. 68-83)
S. Wenzel, "The arts of preaching" (pp. 84-96)
W. Wetherbee, "From late Antiquity to the twelfth century" (pp. 99-144)
V. Gillespie, "From the twelfth century to c. 1450" (pp. 145-235)
A. Minnis, "Medieval imagination and memory" (pp. 239-274)
G. Olson, "The profits of pleasure" (pp. 275-287)
P. Sims-Williams and E. Pope, "Medieval Irish literary theory and criticism" (pp. 291-309)
J. Kabir, "Anglo-Saxon textual attitudes" (pp. 310-323)
J. L. Flood, "Literary theory and practice in early-medieval Germany" (pp. 324-332)
M. Haycock, "Literary criticism in Welsh before c. 1300" (pp. 333-344)
M Clunies Ross, "Criticism and literary theory in old Norse-Icelandic" (pp. 345-360)
R. Hanna, T. Hunt, R.G. Keightley, A. Minnis, N.F. Palmer, "Latin commentary tradition and vernacular literature" (pp. 363-421)
K. Brownlee, T. Hunt, I. Johnson, A. Minnis, N. F. Palmer, "Vernacular literary consciousness c. 1100-c.1500: French, German and English evidence" (pp. 422-471)
S. Gaunt and J. Marshall, "Occitan grammars and the art of troubadour poetry" (pp. 472-495)
J. Weiss, "Literary theory and polemic in Castile, c. 1200-c.1500" (pp. 496-532)
N. Palmer, "Literary criticism in Middle High German literature" (pp. 533-548)
G. A. Williams, "Later literary criticism in Wales" (pp. 549-557)
Z.G. Baran'sky, "Dante Alighieri: experimentation as (self-)exegesis" (pp. 561-582)
S. Botterill, "The Trecento commentaries on Dante's Commedia" (pp. 590-611)
M. McLaughlin, "Latin and vernacular from Dante to the age of Lorenzo (1321-c.1500)" (pp. 612-625)
T.M. Conley, "Byzantine criticism and the uses of literature" (pp. 669-692).
1. More specifically, 6 volumes deal with Latin, 5 with Romance, Celtic and Germanic vernacular traditions, and 3 vols. with "other cultures" (Byzantine, Arabic, Slavonic); I. Pagani, "La critica letteraria", is in vol. III, pp. 113-162.
2. P. Godman, Literaturgeschichtsschreibung im lateinischen Mittelalter und in der italienischen Renaissance, in W. Harms und J.-D. Müller, in Verbindung mit S. Köberle und B. Quast (eds.), Mediävistische Komparatistik. Festschrift für Franz Josef Worstbrock zum 60. Geburtstag. Hg. von, Stuttgart-Leipzig, Hirzel 1997, pp. 177-198.
3. A. Minnis, Medieval Theory of Authorship: Scholastic Literary Attitudes in the Later Middle Ages (1984); Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism c.1100-c.1375: The Commentary Tradition (1988).
4. E.g. P. Bagni e M. Pistoso (eds.), Poetica medievale tra oriente e occidente (Proceedings of the Conference held in Bologna 11-13 May 2000) , Bologna 2003; H. Bobzin, Orientalisch-deutsche Literaturbeziehungen, in Literaturlexikon. Autoren und Werke deutscher Sprache, ed. W. Killy, München 1993, vol. XIV, pp. 189-92; Transfers culturels et littérature au moyen-âge / Kultureller Austausch und Literaturgeschichte im Mittelalter, ed. I. Kasten-R. Pérennec, Sigmaringen 1998.
5. L. Rockinger (ed.), Briefsteller und Formelbücher des 11. bis 14. Jahrhunderts, München 1863-1864.
6. Some scholars attribute this correspondence to Abelard and Heloise. Among recent contributions I single out those of Constant Mews, Jan Ziolkowski, Peter von Moos, Stephen Jaeger, Sylvaine Piron, Giles Constable.
7. Among many other titles: P. Godman, "L'età carolingia", in Lo spazio letterario del Medioevo. Il Medioevo latino, vol. 3, La ricezione del testo, Roma 1995, pp. 339-373; G. Brown, "The Carolingian Renaissance", in The New Cambridge Medieval History, II c. 700-c. 900, ed. by R. McKitterick, Cambridge 1995, pp. 1-55.
8. Claudio Mésoniat, Poetica Theologia. La "Lucula noctis" di Giovanni Dominici e le dispute letterarie tra '300 e '400 (Rome 1984) would have been worth mentioning in this discussion (as well as elsewhere in CHLC), as it locates poetry in the Thomistic theological system and analyzes its impact on Scholasticism first, and on the universities later, from 1200 to 1400.