Visual pragmatics of abbreviations and otiose strokes in John Lydgate’sSiege of Thebes
This paper addresses the visual-pragmatic functions of the so-called common mark of abbreviation, or macron, in a section of BL Royal MS 18 D II (ff. 147v–162r) – one of the best known “deluxe” manuscripts containing Lydgate’s Siege of Thebes. Contextualised within the framework of visual pragmatics, or Pragmatics on the Page (Carroll et al. 2013), the manuscript in question is considered here as a visual text (Kendall et al. 2013) – one for which the readers construe the meaning through internalising the physical organisation of discourse. The paper attempts to unpack the ways in which the common mark of abbreviation, employed by the scribes as a visual-pragmatic marker, organises the discourse of the manuscript page on three levels of meaning: textual, interactional and metalinguistic (following Erman 2001). The pragmatic roles of the macron are then confronted with the visual forms and possible functions of its notorious graphic doppelgänger (i.e., the otiose stroke).
Keywords: abbreviation, macron, otiose stroke, visual pragmatics, visual text
Published online: 28 August 2020
British Library Royal MS 18 D II
Available online at: http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Royal_MS_18_d_ii
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