Amy Conwell

Year: 2012      

Project Description

In the 12th century Geoffrey of Monmouth’s pseudohistorical chronicle, Historia regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) and its telling of the King Arthur Legend “swept through Britain and northern France…” Monmouth’s apostolic network and the text’s political utility begot the HRB’s tour de force popularity, attested to by its 215 surviving manuscripts. Codex “Lewis E 247,” dating to 1165 CE and held in the Free library of Philadelphia’s renowned Rare Books Collection contains one such manuscript. My research traces the physical transmission of the manuscript all the way from its 12th century creation to its current home at the Free Library of the Philadelphia. It also comments on the relationship between the manuscript’s location and ownership, and the King Arthur legend’s High Renaissance/Enlightenment “eclipse” and 20th century “revival.”