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Mnemonic verses in medieval bestiaries

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Mnemonic verses were one of the most popular tools for medieval teaching. These verses are attested in all genres of medieval literature, but strangely enough they are rare in medieval bestiaries, which are primarily a didactic genre. My paper will discuss a previously neglected case of one Second Family late thirteenth-century bestiary of English origin, namely Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 533. Surprisingly, in this manuscript there are eleven sets of verses, mostly quatrains of so-called Leonine hexameters, which represent sui generic summaries for the chapters on various bestiary creatures. The present article discusses for the first time these previously unpublished verses and analyzes their function in the manuscript.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 16, 2010

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