Letters in Late Medieval Franciscan Observant Chronicles: Communication, Narrative, and Reform

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    Autor: Florin Leonte

    In: Kultúrne dejiny

    ISSN: 1338-2209 

    Ročník: 14

    Číslo: 2

    Strany: 249-273

    Rok vydania: 2023

    Vydavateľ: VERBUM – vydavateľstvo Katolíckej univerzity v Ružomberku

    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to discuss the many functions of the letters in several late medieval Franciscan Observant chroniclers. Through a comparative analysis of several chronicles originating from early sixteenth century Observant circles, I illustrate the main uses of letters in historical narratives, from their heavy presence and function as vehicles of information to a quasi-absence thereof. The integration of letters in chronicles contributes to the understanding of ideas of accuracy in a late medieval narrative: while chronicles that embed a smaller number of letters may raise questions about their reliability, those that include or simply mention a substantial number of letters appear to have aimed at providing a more precise account of events. In light of this diversity of usage, a question arises: what motivated certain chroniclers to prioritize the accuracy of information conveyed through letters, and conversely, why did other chroniclers favor a narrative discourse uninterrupted by epistolary documents? In the first part of the paper, I discuss several key features of epistolography in chronicle writing. Then, I move to the main areas in which we see letters at work: network formation, communication, decision making, moral instruction, transmission of knowledge, narrative, and character building. Finally, I examine how chronicles can be used to reveal new features of medieval epistolography.

    Keywords: Chronicles, Epistolography, Franciscans, Observance, Networks, Narratives.


    LEONTE, Florin. Letters in Late Medieval Franciscan Observant Chronicles: Communication, Narrative, and Reform. In: Kultúrne dejiny [online]. VERBUM – vydavateľstvo Katolíckej univerzity v Ružomberku, 2023, 14 (2), s. 249-273. ISSN 1338-2209. Dostupné na internete: https://doi.org/10.54937/kd.2023.14.2.249-273