Monday, 28 August 2017

Cartulary Fun in a Monty Kind of Way

The Department of Manuscripts Students’ Room in the British Museum (photo from the departmental archives).

Talking of M.R. James (and who isn't, I'd like to know?) here is an excellent blog item on the inspiration behind one of his stories. 'Casting the Runes' sees the hapless victim of sorcery handed a paper in the British Museum's reading room. The Museum was so pleased with the tale that it bought the MS in 1936.

In the item you can take a look at the document - a cartulary, i.e. a collection of medieval charters - that poor Alfred Dunning is studying.

Cartulary of Wormsley Priory: Harley MS 3586, f. 132r.

And here is the MS of the story wot Monty wrote. Even scrappier than mine, which is saying something.

The manuscript of Casting the Runes: Egerton MS 3141, f. 13r.

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