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"Crossing paths in the Middle Ages: the 'Physiologus' in Iceland"
Vittoria Dolcetti Corazza
in M. Buzzoni, M. Bampi, eds., The Garden of Crossing Paths: The Manipulation and Rewriting of Medieval Texts, Venezia: Libreria Editrice Cafoscarina, 2007, 225-248
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"The Physiologus, originally written down in Alexandria, Egypt, between the end of the second and the beginning of the third century A.D., became one of the most popular handbooks of the Middle Ages since its material dealing with real and imaginary animals, plants and stones, could be constantly manipulated to suit audiences and employed in instructing Christian believers. The two Icelandic fragments, conventionally called Physiologus A and Physiologus B, are independent of each other and seem to have been written in about 1200. Scholars agree in thinking that their source is to be found in the Latin version conventionally called Versio B. Although this statement is true in a general sense, it acts as a screen which hides a much more complex reality: textual and iconographic features give evidence of their derivation from models whose origins lie in England. Moreover the analysis of the chapters dealing with onocentaurs highlights that the two Icelandic Physiologi, in which tradition and innovation mingle profoundly with each other, are original manipulations of the ancient matter." - article summary

Language: English


 
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