Medieval and Renaissance Letter Treatises and Form Letters
Emil J. Polak
In the High Middle Ages and Renaissance letter-writing flourished as a major form of discourse and branch of rhetoric. Hundreds of treatises and manuals on epistolary composition, formularies, and model letter collections were written. This census is the first systematic survey of the extant manuscripts containing these works found in part of Western Europe, Japan, and the U.S.A. The few manuscripts with model speeches are also included. They are of a related genre, secular oratory, which developed in the High Middle Ages. Over 1,200 Latin manuscript references have been compiled from visits to over 250 libraries and archives.
The survey is alphabetically arranged by country, city, library or archive and collection and gives standard details — folios, incipits, explicits, and colophons of the texts. Editions, studies, and catalogue references are provided as are lists of libraries and archives without relevant manuscripts. Four indexes of manuscripts, incipits, Medieval and Renaissance authors, and select anonymous works are included. The work is a research tool for those interested in Medieval and Renaissance rhetoric, oratory, diplomatics, learning, and the Classical tradition.