The problem with practicality: rethinking the function of late-medieval medical recipes 1400-1550

Year of award: 2015


  • Hannah Bower

    University of Oxford

Project summary

I intend to examine late-medieval manuscripts containing English medical recipe collections to establish a clearer and more nuanced understanding of their cultural functions.

I aim to analyse the navigational aids, reader annotation and context of these collections to complicate the current critical conception that they predominantly served practical functions. I also hope to destabilise modern ideas of medieval boundaries between remedies and other text types, between the utilitarian and the non-utilitarian. In doing so, I shall build upon the work of scholars such as Carrie Griffin who has suggested that these texts are suitable for closer, more in-depth literary and codicological analysis than they have previously been subjected to.