Abstract

A close resemblance between Sir Isumbras and Saint Eustace has long been recognized. Indeed, they appear together in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Ashmole 61, a miscellaneous manuscript copied sometime around 1500 by a single scribe who signs the name Rate. Rate places the two narratives first and fifth in the Ashmole manuscript, with intervening poems that provide instruction for the community and household. Bringing together four different genres from three different centuries, Rate's initial scribal activity domesticates these aristocratic narratives for a bourgeois audience by highlighting the affective family already visible in both Saint Eustace and Sir Isumbras. This article argues that the first five poems in Ashmole 61 constitute the nuclear family with a strong patriarch as the foundation of Christian society.

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