chapter
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Conclusion

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts of the concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of the book. The book shows that textual communities not only flourished throughout the medieval period and into the early modern period, but also were closely linked to both the physical objects of their activity and to the linguistic environment in which they operated. Bede, Alfred, and Matthew Parker used linguistic distance to valorize their textual practices. In the ninth and tenth centuries, Alfred and Æthelstan showed that text, translation, and books were part of establishing and maintaining political power. After the Norman Conquest, English was not engaged in any kind of death-struggle with French, in spite of the sometimes prickly rhetoric, especially during the Hundred Years' War. Alfred identified and utilized the distance between his Latin exemplars and the Old English translations he instigated to offer a new rationale for a textual kingdom, strengthened in wisdom and thereby in military prowess.