The moving word : new exhibition at the University Library

A 13th-century manuscript of Arthurian legend once owned by the Knights Templar is one of the star attractions of the new exhibition at Cambridge University Library.

Image from a 14th century manuscript of the Romance of the rose, one of the best-known texts of the Middle Ages.

Image from a 14th century manuscript of the Romance of the rose, one of the best-known texts of the Middle Ages.

An important manuscript of the Lancelot-Grail, it lay forgotten and unopened for five centuries until its rediscovery in North Yorkshire and its sale in 1944. Detailing the search for the Holy Grail, it goes on public display for the first time alongside the only existing fragment of an episode from the earliest-known version of the Tristan and Isolde legend. Also on display is an early example of the kind of guide familiar to thousands of today’s holiday-makers: a French phrasebook.

The free exhibition, The Moving Word: French Medieval Manuscripts in Cambridge, looks at the enormous cultural and historic impact of the French language upon life in England, Europe, the Middle East and beyond at a time when French – like Latin before it and English today – was the global language of culture, commerce and politics.

Read more about the exhibition at the Library’s website.

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