TNA Fellow Svetlana Yatsyk

From a manual for slow reading to the reference text: a diachronic analysis of circulation of "Breviloquium de virtutibus"

John of Wales was a Franciscan theologian and preacher who taught and preached at Oxford and then in Paris during the time of Louis IX. My project is aimed at the analysis of his first work, “Breviloquium de virtutibus antiquorum principium et philosophorum”, which was abundantly copied, read and used by the network of Franciscan convents throughout Europe until the 16th century. I am specifically interested in the clarification of its literary genre: “Breviloquium” combines the features of florilegium, preaching aid and mirrors for princes. The study of the circulation of this treatise could help to clarify the nature of its genre. To undertake such a study, I am building a relational database of the 140 manuscripts containing “Breviloquium”, focusing on their codicological characteristics. It holds information about scribes, bindings, ex-libris, and codicological units of these manuscripts. In addition, each manuscript is linked to its contents in a table with information about the texts accompanying “Breviloquium”; this allows elaborating the typology of the collections in which the “Breviloquium” circulated. I propose two digital approaches to build such a typology: factor correspondence analysis and social network analysis. The first one allows calculating the similarity between the studied manuscripts according to the number of shared texts they contain. After establishing a symmetrical square table where each column and row correspond to a manuscript, and each cell contains a number of texts found in both manuscripts in question, I will analyze it with the FactoMineR to obtain the proximity calculations between the manuscripts. However, since the notion of proximity has only a relative value, revealed connections would remain somewhat abstract. The social network analysis will allow to refine and clarify the typology obtained. This method is based on the idea that relational data can be visualized as a network. A text can be considered a link connecting two manuscripts if it is present in both, allowing building a network of manuscripts.