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Game on: medieval players and their texts Patterson, Serina Laureen 2017

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   GAME ON: MEDIEVAL PLAYERS AND THEIR TEXTS  by SERINA LAUREEN PATTERSON B.A. (Honours), Wilfrid Laurier University, 2007 M.A., University of Victoria, 2009   A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (English)      THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  April 2017 © Serina Laureen Patterson, 2017 ii  ABSTRACT  This dissertation addresses the social significance of parlour games as forms of cultural expression in medieval and early modern England and France by exploring how the convergence of textual materialities, players, and narratives manifested in interactive texts, board games, and playing cards. Medieval games, I argue, do not always fit neatly into traditional or modern theoretical game models, and modern blanket definitions of ‘game’—often stemming from the study of digital games—provide an anachronistic understanding of how medieval people imagined their games and game-worlds.  Chapter 1 explores what the idea of ‘game’ meant for medieval authors, readers, and players in what I call ‘game-texts’—literary texts that blurred the modern boundaries between what we would consider ‘game’ and ‘literature’ and whose mechanics are often thought to be outside the definition of ‘game.’ Chapter 2 examines how recreational mathematics puzzles and chess problems penned in manuscript collections operate as sites of pleasure, edification, and meditative playspaces in different social contexts from the gentry households to clerical cloisters. The mechanics, layout, narrative, and compilation of chess problems rendered them useful for learning the art and skill of the game in England. Chapter 3 traces the circulation, manuscript contexts, and afterlives of two game-text genres in England—the demandes d’amour and the fortune-telling string games—in order to understand how they functioned as places of engagement and entertainment for poets, scribes, and players. Chapter 4 illustrates how narrative and geography became driving forces for the development and rise of the modern thematic game in Early Modern Europe. This chapter charts how changing ideas of spatiality enabled tabletop games to shift from abstract structures enjoyed by players in the Middle Ages, in which game narratives take place off a board, to ludic objects that incorporated real-life elements in their design of fictional worlds—thereby fashioning spaces that could visually accommodate narrative on the board itself. This dissertation places games into a more nuanced historical and cultural context, showing not only the varied methods by which medieval players enjoyed games but also how these ideas developed and changed over time.        iii  PREFACE  This dissertation is an original intellectual product of the author, Serina Patterson. Sections of Chapter 1 have been published in “Introduction: Setting Up the Board,” in Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature, edited by Serina Patterson (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015): 1-20 and “Demandes d’Amour,” in The Encyclopedia of Medieval British Literature, edited by Robert Rouse and Siân Echard (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming 2017). Sections of Chapter 3 have been published in “Sexy, Naughty, and Lucky in Love: Playing Ragemon le Bon in English Gentry Households,” in Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature, ed. Serina Patterson (New York: Palgrave, 2015), 79-102. Sections of Chapter 4 have been published in “Imaginary Cartographies and Commercial Commodities: Geography and Playing Cards in Early Modern England,” in Playthings in Early Modernity: Party Games, World Games, Mind Games, edited by Allison Levy (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2017).                  iv  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract……………………………………………………………………………………..……ii Preface…………………………………………………………………………………...………iii Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………….......…...iv List of Tables………………………………………………………………………………..…...vi List of Figures…………………………………………………………………….…………….vii Acknowledgments……………………………………………………………………...………..ix Dedication……………………………………………………………………………………...…x CHAPTER 1 What is a Medieval Game?……………………………………………...………1    1.1 Defining Game…………………………………………………………...11   1.2 The Medieval Game-Text………………………………………..………23   1.3 Conclusion…………………………………………………………….…53 CHAPTER 2 Mind Games: Learning, Skill, and the Pleasures of the Problem………...…55   2.1 Algebra is for Lovers………………………………………………….…63   2.2 Sites of Learning………………………………………………………....73    2.2.1 Warm Ups and Cool Downs: Early Problems in England…….…85    2.2.2 Teaching Chess in Medieval England…………………………..103   2.3 Conclusion……………………………………………………………...134 CHAPTER 3 Readers and their Games in Medieval England………………………….…137   3.1 Readers as Players………………………………………………………143   3.2 Questioning Love…………………………………………………….…149    3.2.1 Appropriating les demandes d’amour in England……………...151    3.2.2 The demandes d’amour and the English Gentry…………….….160 v    3.3 Tracing Ragemon……………………………………………………….175    3.3.1 Ragemon le Bon and the Fabliau Tradition……………………..184    3.3.2 Other Ragmans……………………………………………….…192   3.4 Conclusion……………………………………………………………...200 CHAPTER 4 Geography, Narrative, and the Rise of the Thematic Game……………..…203   4.1 Medieval Game Spaces…………………………………………………208   4.2 Discovering the World…………………………………………….……222   4.3 Selling the World……………………………………………………….238   4.4 Playing the World……………………………………………………....244   4.5 Conclusion…………………………………………………………...…277 CHAPTER 5 Coda: The Social Value of Medieval Games………………………………...280   5.1 Games and their Discontents………………………………………...…283   5.2 Valuing Games in the Middle Ages…………………………………….289   5.3 Playing the Middle Ages…………………………………………..……297 BIBLIOGRAPHY……………………………………………………………………………..302 APPENDIX………………………………………………………………………………….…333          vi  LIST OF TABLES  Table 1.1: Definitions of ‘Game’ by Game Studies Scholars and Designers………………...14-15 Table 1.2: Comparison of Fortune 6.6.6 in Le Jeu d’Amour………………………………….…34 Table 2.1: Co-Occurrence Matrix of Chess Problem Collections in England, c. 1273-1470…....84 Table 2.2: Problem Correspondence between MS Sloane 3281 and Bonus Socius…………….102 Table 3.1: Translation of Le Voeux du Paon into Middle English in the Findern Anthology.…167 Table 4.1: Iconic spaces in The Game of the Goose (excluding goose spaces)………...…..248-49                    vii  LIST OF FIGURES  Figure 1.1: Late Twelfth-Century Knight Chess piece from Derbyshire, Basssetlaw Museum..…6 Figure 1.2: London, British Library, MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 157v………………………....52 Figure 2.1: Problem 73, Libros de los juegos……………………………………………………60 Figure 2.2: MS O.2.45, fol. 1r, Labyrinth………………………………………………………..87 Figure 2.3: MS O.2.45, fol. 1r, “Spheara Pythagorae”…………………………………………..89 Figure 2.4: MS O.2.45, fol.1v, Game boards…………………………………………………….90 Figure 2.5: MS O.2.45, fol 2r, chess problems…………………………………………………..96 Figure 2.6: MS O.2.45, fol. 2r, Problem 1……………………………………………………….97 Figure 2.7: MS O.2.45, fol. 2r, Problem 2………………………………………………….……98 Figure 2.8: MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 4r, Problem 1…………………………………………….107 Figure 2.9: MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 6r, Problem 7…………………………………………….109 Figure 2.10: MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 7r, Problem 11………………………………………….110 Figure 2.11: MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 7v, Problem 14………………………………………….111 Figure 2.12: Problem from Il Problema, 1932…………………………………………………113 Figure 2.13: MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 8r, Problem 15………………………………………….115 Figure 2.14: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 161v, Problem 3……………………………………..119 Figure 2.15: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 161v, Problem 4…………………………………..…120 Figure 2.16: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 161v, Problem 5……………………………………..122 Figure 2.17: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 164r, Problem 17………………………………….…124 Figure 2.18: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 166r, Problem 24……………………………………126 Figure 2.19: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, Problem 29………………………………………………127 Figure 2.20: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, Problem 30………………………………………………128 Figure 2.21: MS Ashmole 344, fol. 20v, Problem 36 Image……….…………………………..131 Figure 2.22: MS Ashmole 344, fol 20v, Problem 36………………………………………...…133 Figure 3.1: Miniature of Le Roi Qui Ne Ment, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS 264, fol. 121r…150 Figure 3.2: The Castle of Love, London, British Library, MS Royal F II, fol. 188r…………...155 viii  Figure 4.1: William Bowes, Introductory Card 4: London, from a deck of geographical  playing cards of England and Wales engraved by Augustine Ryther (London, 1590). London, British Museum………………………………………………………………………………....229 Figure 4.2: William Bowes, Middlesex, from a deck of geographical playing  cards of England and Wales engraved by Augustine Ryther (London, 1590).  London, British Museum……………………………………………………………….231 Figure 4.3: Giuoco Dell Oca, Anonymous, Italy (ca. 1550-90)………………………………..247  Figure 4.4: Pierre Duval, Le Jeu du Monde, Paris, 1645…………………………………….…258 Figure 4.5: Pierre Duval, Jeu des Francois et des Espangols pour la paix, Paris, 1660……….265 Figure 4.6: Tour through England and Wales (London: John Wallis, 1796),  my personal collection……………………...……………………………………..……271 Figure 4.7: Funnyshire Fox Chase (London: William Spooner, 1842),  my personal collection………………………………………………………...…….….273 Figure 4.8: The Magic Ring (London: Champante and Whitrow), 1796…………………...…..274 Figure 4.9 Uncle Sam’s Mail (New York: McLoughlin Brothers, 1893),  my personal collection………………………………………………………………….279          ix  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS As with all arduous projects, the road is long but rarely travelled alone. I would like to express my deep gratitude to my advisor Dr. Robert Rouse for his enduring support and unfailing enthusiasm throughout this project. Many thanks also to my committee members, Dr. Siân Echard and Dr. Stephen Partridge, for their helpful and judicious commentary of my work and thought-provoking suggestions for revision. I am also indebted to Dr. Betsy McCormick for her guidance, can-do attitude, and late night talks about medieval games at Kalamazoo. Thanks also to Dr. Cynthia Rogers for her friendship (as by happy circumstance we continually ended up on the several panels together) and brilliant insight about the Findern Manuscript. My sincere appreciation also extends to Dr. Judy Weiss for her aid in transcribing the cramped thirteenth-century hand who penned an alternate version of Ragemon le Bon in Cambridge, MS Trinity College B 14 39. Thanks also to the librarians at the British Library, British Museum, London College of Arms, Balliol College, Bodleian Library, Cambridge University Library, Trinity College at Cambridge, Berkeley Library at Trinity College Dublin, Bibliothèque Publique de Dijon, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France for their help in accessing various manuscripts and incunabula. A special thanks to Lynsey Darby at the London College of Arms for her help in hunting down Roll 20/26. I owe much gratitude to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the University of British Columbia, the UBC Department of English, Mairi Grant Campbell, William Royce Butler, and Jean Campbell Butler for the funding provided throughout the course of my studies. My deep thanks also to Louise Soga for her commitment to helping me navigate the logistics of the project. My deepest gratefulness and appreciation goes to my family for their love and support. Thank you to my mother and mother-in-law for their encouragement and optimism throughout my academic studies. The final thank you is for Jesse, whose love, reassurance, and hours spent discussing medieval games with me gave me courage when I needed it most and motivation to make it to the end.         x          For Jesse                   1  Chapter 1 — What is a Medieval Game?  Is there such a thing as a medieval game? If something is a game, then what makes it so? These questions encompass the chief inquiry and argument of this dissertation: games in the Middle Ages manifested as a popular form of entertainment, and this manifestation demonstrated a medieval notion of ‘game’ that was distinct from our modern understanding. The overt purpose of focusing on premodern games in this dissertation is not to dismiss the historical development that many games underwent since their invention in ancient Greece, Rome, and other early civilizations or diminish the significance of modern digital and tabletop games, but rather to re-examine in more detail the cultural development of games as complex and nuanced ludic space, thereby questioning and expanding our assumptions about what we consider a ‘game.’  Games in the Middle Ages present a compelling space to redraw the theoretical boundaries mapped by game studies scholars precisely because such boundaries were being reshaped and reformed by players and medieval game designers. Jean de Meun’s little-known fortune-telling manual, the Dodechedron de fortune, well illustrates this blurred boundary, for its design and mechanics raise questions about what we might deem to be a ‘game’ in the modern sense. First copied in 1356, the Dodechedron instructs its readers to choose a predefined question, cast a twelve-sided polyhedral die, and match their dice rolls to an answer that corresponds to one of the twelve houses of astrology. At first glance, this text may not seem like a game; indeed, by the mid-fourteenth century, people used similar methods of textual 2  prognostication which formed part of a larger longstanding tradition in divinatory practice.1 For the Dodechedron, however, de Meun’s purpose was not solely to create a system of divination, but to design a pleasurable, ludic experience for his readers. Questions covered typical matters of life, from asking whether the reader will be prosperous in labour to questioning the loyalties of a spouse, and the text cautions readers to take responses in a nonserious, lighthearted manner. Nevertheless, part of the fun is in whether the paired question and answer make sense or emerge as nonsensical. As the 1613 English translation addresses its readers: “Cast forth, my friend, the Dodechedront dye; / If he hit truth ‘twill move thee to delight; / And if it chance that he doe tell a lye, / That is the sport, for thee to laugh out right: For but to sport, and not for truth, ‘twas pend / To give content, and no man to offend.”2 Scholars have not yet discerned the popularity of the Dodechedron in the fourteenth century, but the fortune-telling text underwent several printings in 1556, and was subsequently reprinted in 1560 and 1576. In these later printings, the title changes to Le plaisant jeu du dodechedron de fortune [The Pleasant Game of the Dodecahedron of Fortune] or includes the word “jeux” [game] in the subtitle. The deliberate labelling of the text as a ‘game’ signals its purpose as a pleasurable pastime for premodern readers, but is this text in fact a game?                                                            Sections of this chapter have been published in “Introduction: Setting Up the Board,” in Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature, ed. Serina Patterson (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), 1-20 and “Demandes d’Amour,” in The Encyclopedia of Medieval British Literature, eds. Robert Rouse and Siân Echard (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming 2017). 1 Willy Louis Braekman, “Fortune-Telling by the Casting of Dice: A Middle English Poem and Its Background,” Studia Neophilologica 52 (1980): 3-29. 2 Jean de Meun, The dodechedron of fortune, trans. Sir W. B. Knight (London, 1613), B1r. Early English Books Online. Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. 2 Dec 2016 <http://gateway.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:image:12992:7>.  3  Scholars within the emerging field of cultural game studies have largely neglected premodern games and argued that the creation and rise of video games designate a break from what Jesper Juul calls the “classic game model.” As Juul states, the “model is classic in the sense that it is the way games have traditionally been constructed. It is also a model that applies to at least a 5,000-year history of games. Although it is unusual to claim that any aspect of human culture has remained unchanged for millennia, there are strong arguments for this.”3 Perhaps as a consequence of this exclusive focus on modern digital games, game studies scholars have relegated medieval and premodern games to stasis in their form, function, and cultural meaning.4 In an effort to challenge this viewpoint, the essays collected in my contributed volume Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature illustrate that games in the Middle Ages not only appeared in diverse social settings—the Church, the court, the school, and the household—but were also used as potent metaphors to negotiate the boundaries between ludic spaces and ‘real life.’ Far from meaningless childish activities, games enabled authors and poets to discuss cultural issues to a variety of readers in genres ranging from motets and ecclesiastical documents to alliterative poetry and romance.5  This dissertation continues this investigation of the significance of medieval games by exploring medieval modes of gaming found in the convergence of textual materialities, players,                                                           3 Jesper Juul, Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2005), 23. 4 Top journals in game studies, such as Game Studies, Games and Culture, Loading…, and Simulation in Gaming all focus solely on digital games, together with academic organizations like the Digital Games Research Association (diGRA). To date, there are no journals that encompass all game topics (digital and non-digital). In 2014, I co-founded the Game Cultures Society, which is a consortium of North American and European scholars pursuing the study and appreciation of games, play, and ludic activities as significant aspects of cultures from antiquity to the digital age. 5 Serina Patterson, ed. Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015). 4  and narratives that manifested in medieval culture through manuscripts, board games, and playing cards. By focusing on the spaces in which medieval games are found and the types of experiences they strive to elicit in their players and audiences, this dissertation unsettles the disciplinary limits that have traditionally been placed on the study premodern games and lays the groundwork for new ways in which to discuss this popular form of entertainment. In the following chapters, I aim to: create a framework for identifying and discussing medieval games; discuss the varied methods by which medieval players enjoyed parlour games and how these games—and indeed the idea of ‘game’—developed and changed over time; and demonstrate how the study of medieval and early modern games can broaden the discourse of game studies by placing premodern games into a more nuanced historical and cultural context. Each chapter focuses on a different form of engagement with premodern games, beginning in Chapter 1 with a discussion of interactive literary games, a genre that has been neglected by both medievalists and game studies scholars because its manifestation as text omits the explicit markers of what we typically consider a ‘game’ (e.g., pieces, boards, competition, winners, and other elements). Chapter 2 explores the association between games and skill acquisition in medieval England by showing how game problems—recreational mathematics and chess problems—operate as sites of learning and meditative playspaces. The mechanics, layout, narrative, and compilation of chess problems rendered them particularly useful for learning the art and skill of the game. Chapter 3 traces the circulations, manuscript contexts, and afterlives of two game-text genres in England—the demandes d’amour and the fortune-telling string games—in order to understand how they functioned as sites of engagement and entertainment for poets, scribes, and players. While earlier chapters focus on medieval games and their cultural contexts, Chapter 4 provides the first-ever segue between medieval and modern games by charting how 5  narrative became a driving force for the development and rise of the thematic game in Early Modern Europe. Chapter 4 shows how changing ideas of spatiality enabled tabletop games to shift from abstract structures enjoyed by players in the Middle Ages, in which game narratives take place off a board, to ludic objects that incorporated real-life elements in their design of fictional worlds—thereby fashioning spaces that could visually accommodate narrative on the board itself.  * * *  Games in the Middle Ages were valuable commodities and important spaces for play among all levels of society. In a little-known Middle-Irish poem, presumably written between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, a poet demonstrate the significance of recreational objects as ‘companions’ that help pass the time. The author, thought to be an amateur writer composing the work “to please himself,” writes the he has in his possession a book full of Gaelic stories, a book of arithmetic, a harp, a lyre, and a “ficheall” board—that is, a chequered board similar to that of chess which he also used for gambling.6 Unlike other forms of entertainment in the Middle Ages, games were valued as a pastime at all levels of society, though the materials and social contexts change depending on the specific players. The production of game pieces in the Middle Ages reflects this wide range of play among social classes: the famous Lewis and Charlemagne ivory chessmen are notable for their careful craftsmanship suitable for royalty and nobility, and Edward I’s wardrobe account for the years 1299-1300 lists a chess set made from                                                           6 Osborn Bergin, ed., “Unpublished Irish Poems: XXIV: Consolations,” An Irish Quarterly Review 12.48 (1923): 597-99. 6  jasper and rock crystal and another from ivory.7 The importance of such recreational objects is also shown in the wills of the nobility, especially in the fifteenth-century. In her will from 1459, for instance, Joan Stevens of Bury bequeathed a chess set and backgammon board.8 Yet despite the evident popularity of chess among the noble élite, lower social orders could also purchase cheaper sets made of copper alloy (Figure 1.1).    Figure 1.1: Late Twelfth-Century Knight Chess piece from Derbyshire, Basssetlaw Museum9                                                                7 Harold J. R. Murray, A History of Chess (Northampton: Benjamin Press, 1913), 449. 8 Ibid. 9 “Chess Piece,” Portable Antiquities Scheme, last modified June 25 2012, accessed July 20 2012, http://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/76635.  7  Though Colleen Schafroth observes that lower social orders were more likely to play dice or merels,10 a porter could enjoy chess as much as a king, or a noblewoman could delight in a game of fox and chickens as much as a choir boy. Fidchell and chess fall squarely within the bounds of what game studies scholars would label a ‘classic’ game, following Juul’s definition quoted above (though, as I will show in Chapters 2 and 4, chess varied widely in its development throughout the Middle Ages). These are the types of games that historians, archaeologists, and scholars have studied and typically reference in their discussions of premodern games. This chapter challenges this notion of the ‘classic’ model by showing how games in the Middle Ages were viewed as fluid and porous objects that could serve the multiple purposes of the diverse array of players who enjoyed them. In the following pages, I examine how medieval literary games—that is, texts similar to the Dodechedron that were designed as social, interactive experiences for medieval audiences (what I herein call ‘game-texts’)—promote a different understanding of games through their use as game spaces by game designers, scribes, readers, and players. While game-texts are not a ubiquitous genre, they do appear in manuscripts and incunabula across Europe from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, especially in England, France, Germany, and Italy. If we focus our attention on game-texts such as questions of love, interactive dialogue, and fortune-telling poems—recreational texts that originated from both the medieval academy and the fin’ amors (refined love) tradition—then the context for examining such texts lies only in part within the text itself and must include the wider network of medieval cultural influences and textual                                                           10 Colleen Schafroth, The Art of Chess (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002), 36. 8  contexts in order for us to gain a more complete picture of the game’s cultural and scholarly value.11 To date, medievalists have paid little attention to medieval game-texts, perhaps believing that they do not have much literary value. In his edition of one such game-text titled Le Jeu d’Amour (discussed below), Erik Kraemer notes that “[c]ompositions de circonstance, sans pretention, les textes qui ont conserve le jeux de société du moyen âge n’ont pas beaucoup de valeur littéraire” [Compositions of circumstance, without pretention, the texts that have retained these medieval parlour games do not have much literary value].12 For the most part, previous studies of game-texts have simply indexed or transcribed them with little or no analysis, or have defined them as interchangeable or formulaic and focused primarily on a game’s temporary suspension of reality.13 Recent critical studies note the cultural value of interactive game-texts, but do not place them into a wider cultural history of games.14 In transcribing the first edition of                                                           11 See, for instance, Emma Cayley’s discussion if demandes d’amour in Debate and Dialogue: Alain Chartier in his Cultural Context (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006), 15-16. 12 Erik Kraemer, Le Jeu d’Amour: Jeu d’Aventure du Moyen age edite avec introduction, notes, et glossaire, Commentationes Humanarum Litterarum 54 (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1975), 7. 13 Previous attention to interactive medieval games have focused on their transcription, with few critical analysis of the games themselves. See Margaret Felberg-Levitt’s thorough edition of les demandes tradition for an overview of the genre and a complete listing of every demandes known: Margaret Felbert-Levitt, Les Demandes d’Amour (Montreal: Inedita & Rara, 1995); for other editions, see:  James Woodrow Hassell, jr., ed. Amourous Games: A Critical Edition of ‘les Adevineaux amoureux (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974); Two Late Medieval Love Treatises: Heloise’s ‘Art d’Amour’ and a Collection of ‘Demandes d’Amour,’ ed. Leslie C. Brook. Medium Aevum Monographs (Oxford: Society for the Study of Medieval Language and Literature, 1993); Leslie C. Brook’s “The ‘Demandes d’Amour’ of Wolfenbuttel Herzog August (Bibl. Guelf 84.7 Aug. 2).” Studia Medievali 34.1 (1993): 381-410. 14 Critical studies of interactive game-texts have tended to focus on one particular text or genre or employ the game-text as an example for a different purpose. See, for instance: Richard Firth Green, “Le Roi Qui Ne Ment and Aristocratic Courtship,” in Courtly Literature: Culture and Context, edited by Keith Busby and Erik Kooper (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1990), 211-25; Ernest Hoepffner, “Les Voeux du paon et les Demandes amoureuses,” Archivum Romanicum 4 (1920): 99-104; Ernest Langlois, “Le jeu du roi qui 9  the fifteenth-century Chaucerian dice-poem The Chaunce of the Dyse, Eleanor Hammond remarks that the poem is conventional because the poet “was still held by formulae” and thus “ha[d] no chance . . . to express himself.”15 This chapter aims to go beyond these initial observations and value judgements by exploring the social significance of medieval and early modern parlour games and interactivity created through their material playspaces. Game-texts have also been omitted from notable historical indexes of games such as Harold Murray’s A History of Board-Games other than Chess, David Parlett’s The Oxford History of Board Games, Robert Bell’s Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations. These types of interactive literary games have also been deemed to be borderline cases or non-games by some game studies scholars and such literary experiences, often called ‘interactive fiction’, continue to straddle the border between game and literature.16 Medieval game-texts, I argue, do not always fit neatly into traditional or modern theoretical game models, and adopting a modern blanket definition of ‘game’—often stemming from the study of digital games—yields an                                                           ne ment et le jeu du roi et de la reine,” Romanische Forschungen 23 (1902): 163-73; Betsy McCormick, “Remembering the Game: Debating the Legend’s Women,” in The Legend of Good Women: Context and Reception, edited by Carolyn P. Collette (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2006), 105-31; Nicola McDonald, “Games Medieval Women Play,” in The Legend of Good Women: Context and Reception, edited by Carolyn P. Collette (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2006), 176-97; Nicola McDonald, “Fragments of (Have Your) Desire: Brome Women at Play,” in Medieval Domesticity: Home, Housing, and Household, edited by P.J.P Goldberg and Maryanne Kowaleski (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 232-58; Allan J. Mitchell, Ethics and Eventfulness in Middle English Literature (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009), especially chapter 3; and John Stevens, Music and Poetry in the Early Tudor Court (London: Methuen, 1961). My edited collection is the first comprehensive examination of the relationship between games, literature, and culture and aimed to discuss the game-texts in their own right. See: Patterson, Games and Gaming, especially chapters 3,4, 5, and 9. 15 Eleanor P. Hammond, “The Chaunce of the Dice,” Englische Studien 59 (1925): 4. 16 Harold J. R. Murray, A History of Board Games other than Chess (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952), David Parlett, The Oxford History of Board Games (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), and Robert Bell, Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations (Oxford; Oxford University Press, 1960). See Juul, Half-Real, 44 for a diagram of activities defined as games, borderline cases, and non-games. 10  anachronistic understanding of how medieval people imagined their games and game-worlds. This chapter will not attempt to construct a fully resolved definition of ‘medieval game’; rather, it reorients the theoretical boundaries imposed around our understanding of ‘game’ by investigating conceptual commonalities such as narrative, interactivity, player effort, rules, and lusory attitude to open avenues of investigation into medieval games and gaming.  Since game-texts unsettle the boundaries between ‘game’ and ‘literature’, their intersections between ‘game’ and ‘text’ present one way to explore—and test—previous assumptions about entertainment and recreation in premodern literature and culture. Critics and editors dismissed the early Middle English bird-debate The Thrush and the Nightingale (c. 1272-82), for instance, as a completely conventional poem with “no personal touches,”17 but fail to note that the text's purpose was not focused toward a literary rhetorical competition, as in the earlier The Owl and the Nightingale (c. 1250) found in manuscripts for a clergy interested in secular literature, but an oral one: the majuscules marking the dialogue for each speaker throughout the work denote that The Thrush and the Nightingale was designed for a household audience who wished to perform a debate in a hall, chamber, or garden by interacting with the text. Medieval manuscripts were often produced for a patron or circulated through a community of readers (though this was not always the case); it was not until the late fifteenth century through developments in printing, commercial book production, and the guild of Stationers (established c. 1403) that the demand for books spread beyond pockets of literary communities.18                                                           17 Bruce Dickens and R.M. Wilson, eds. Early Middle English Texts (Cambridge: Bowes and Bowes, 1951), 71. 18I am thus using the term ‘textual community’ in a broader receptionist sense, more akin to the model deployed by Brian Stock than Martin Irvine, in that medieval texts and manuscripts not only generated cohesion through their circulation within existing social networks, but also enabled their reading audiences to actively participated in this transmission. Brian Stock, Listening for the Text: On the Uses of 11  As interactive literary objects, game-texts are akin to other performative texts in the Middle Ages which create contingent moments among readers in each iteration of their gameplay and performance. The texts, manuscripts, and reading communities in which these entertainments were found attest to the cultural tastes and trends of a broad social spectrum. It is these spaces of play between the ludic and the literary that this chapter takes as its focus, exposing contrived dichotomies and assumptions that have long plagued game scholarship to explore what the idea of ‘game’ held for authors and players of medieval literature and culture.  1.1 Defining Game Any critical discussion of games and play in culture must invariably begin with Dutch medievalist and cultural historian Johan Huiziga’s groundbreaking work Homo Ludens: The Play-Element in Culture, which was the first investigation of play in culture and remains the initial touchstone in play and cultural game studies.19 Huizinga coined the term ‘magic circle’ in                                                           the Past (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990). In his recent book on English literary communities, Ralph Hanna III considers London as a distinct community of readers in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Although London grew into a metropolis known for commercial book production in the early modern period, its status as a literary centre was equivalent to York, Bristol, Winchester, Worcester, and other sites of continual book production since it was neither a centre for administration until the 1340s nor city with a large university. London’s reputation as a ‘provincial’ locale, coupled with the lack of universities near the city, explain in part the scarcity in book production in London before 1380. London Literature, 1300-1380 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 1-43. C. Paul Christianson also provides an early history of the book trade in London and Misery of Stationers in his valuable resource A Directory of London Stationers and Book Artisans, 1300-1500 (New York: The Bibliographical Society of America, 1990). For an overview of textual communities in the later Middle Ages, see also: Ralph Hanna III, Pursuing History: Middle English Manuscripts and their Texts (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), 8-17 and Paul Zumthor, Toward a Medieval Poetics, trans. Philip Bennett (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972), 13-24. 19 Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: The Play Element in Culture (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1955). 12  his effort to explain how games create their own sense of reality with different rules that do not have meaning or significance in everyday affairs: “Inside the circle of the game the laws and customs of ordinary life no longer count. We are different and do things differently.”20 The magic circle, at its most literal, is the physical place and time of a game (e.g., on a board or in a field). It is a way in which to ascribe meaning to cultural objects and circumstances. The “hallowed” spots for medieval games occur within both physical spaces (e.g., hall and garden) and material spaces (e.g., game board, manuscript, and text). As a binary concept, however, Huizinga’s magic circle has met with criticism in recent years as being too formalist, rigid, and idealistic in its conceptions of ‘game’ and ‘reality.’ Edward Castronova, in his book Synthetic Worlds , argues that games “cannot be sealed completely; people are crossing it all the time in both directions, carrying their behavioural assumptions and attitudes with them.”21 Indeed, the game/life dichotomy remains a topic of ongoing debate within the field of cultural game studies, especially in light of recent trends in the game industry, such as the use of augmented reality technology, persuasive games, and gamification—that is, the application of game elements (points, scores, turns, contests, badges) to nongame activities as a form of external motivation.22 More recently, videogame scholars have suggested moving beyond discussions of the magic                                                           20 Ibid., 12. 21 Edward Castronova, Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), 147. 22In her recent article, game studies scholar Mia Consalvo critiques Huizinga’s ‘magic circle’ as a limiting, passé structuralist concept. She argues that games should instead be regarded as frames, showing the fluidity of experience in and outside of the play-space. “There is No Magic Circle,” Games and Culture 4.4 (2009): 408-17. See also: Jacques Ehrmann, “Homo Ludens Revisited,” Yale French Studies 41 (1968): 31–57; Eugen Fink, “The Oasis of Happiness: Toward an Ontology of Play,” Yale French Studies 41 (1968): 19–30; T. L. Taylor, Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (Cambridge, MA.: The MIT Press); Thomas Malaby, “Beyond Play: A New Approach to Games,” Games and Culture 2.2 (2007): 95–113. I discuss medieval and early modern game spaces in Chapter 4. 13  circle concept altogether in the study of games.23 Nevertheless, Huizinga’s magic circle remains an enduring concept, and one currently underexplored in the context of medieval studies. Approached from different disciplines—mathematics, economics, anthropology, psychology, sociology, computer science, languages and literatures, and others—and constituting a wide range of activities, games are easy to identify but difficult to concretely define. Indeed, each discipline seems to have its own definition of the term. In order to demonstrate how medieval game-texts differ from our modern understanding of games, it is first necessary to outline the definitions conceived by game studies scholars. The following chart includes ten influential modern definitions of game from game theorists and designers (Table 1.1, emphasis mine):                                                                     23 See, for instance, Eric Zimmerman, “Jerked Around by the Magic Circle—Clearing the Air Ten Years Later,” Gamasutra, February 7, 2012, accessed January 12, 2013, http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6696/jerked_around_by_the_magic_circle; and Darryl Woodford, “Abandoning the Magic Circle,” dpwoodford.net , 2008, accessed September 2, 2013, http://www.dpwoodford.net/Papers/MCSeminar.pdf. 14  Table 1.1: Definitions of ‘Game’ by Game Studies Scholars and Designers  CRITIC DEFINITION HUIZINGA (1938) “[Play is] a free activity standing quite consciously outside “ordinary life” as being “not serious,” but at the same time absorbing the player intensely and utterly. It is an activity connected with no material interest, and no profit can be gained by it. It proceeds within its own proper boundaries of time and space according to the fixed rules and in an orderly manner. It promotes the formation of social groupings.”24  CAILLOIS (1958) “Play is “an activity which is essentially: Free (voluntary), separate [in time and space], uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules, make-believe.”25  ELIOTT AVEDON AND BRIAN SUTTON-SMITH (1971) “[As game is] an exercise of voluntary control systems in which there is an opposition between forces, confined by a procedure and rules in order to produce a disequilibrial outcome.”26 BERNARD SUITS (1978) “To play a game is to engage in activity directed towards bringing about a specific state of affairs, using only means permitted by rules, where the rules prohibit more efficient in favor of less efficient means, and where such rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity.”27  CHRIS CRAWFORD (1982) “I perceive four common factors: representation [“a closed formal system that subjectively represents a subject of reality”], interaction, conflict, and safety [“the results of a game are always less harsh than the situation the game models”].”28  SID MEIER (2000) “A game is a series of interesting choices.”29                                                           24 Huizinga, Homo Ludens, 13. 25 Roger Caillois, Man, Play, and Game, trans. Meyer Barash (New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1961), 10-11. 26 E. M. Avedon and Brian Sutton-Smith, Study of Games (New York: Wiley, 1971), 7. 27 Bernard Suits, The Grasshopper: Games, Life, and Utopia (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1978; Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2005), 34. 28 Chris Crawford, The Art of Computer Game Design (Berkeley: McGraw-Hill/Osborne Media, 1982), 7-14. 29 Andrew Rollings and Dave Morris, Game Architecture and Design (Scottsdale, Arizona: Coriolis, 2000), 38. 15  SALEN AND ZIMMERMAN (2004) “A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.”30  THOMAS MALABY (2007) “A game is a semi-bounded and socially legitimate domain of contrived contingency that generates interpretable outcomes.”31 ESPEN AARSETH (2011) “[Games are] facilitators that structure player behavior, and whose main purpose is enjoyment.”32  Table 1.1 Definitions of ‘Game’ by Game Studies Scholars and Designers  While each definition presents its own set of criteria—and illustrates the polysemous nature of ‘game’—certain characteristics of games remain consistent: rules, autonomy and freedom, known outcomes, and goals within a feedback system. The rule-based, formal system determines player behavior by limiting methods for achieving a goal or solving a problem. Limiting actions enables players to creatively explore possibilities in support of achieving their desired outcome. Games also include definite known outcomes. While Salen, Zimmerman, and Juul believe that outcomes must be quantifiable, Malaby instead defines a game’s outcomes as “interpretable,” which can include qualitative results that are known to the players. For most definitions, theorists note that players either know the outcome or know the type of outcome they could achieve by winning the game.                                                           30 Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), 80. 31 Malaby, “Beyond Play,” 106. 32 Espen Aarseth, “I Fought the Law: Transgressive Play and the Implied Player,” Situated Play, Proceedings of DiGRA 2007 Conference (2007): 130. 16  Games also require autonomy and freedom of play, within the accepted goals, rules, and system. Player autonomy ensures a safe space for surmounting challenges and handling conflict. In fact, conflict becomes one of the main criteria for Avedon, Sutton-Smith, Salen, Zimmerman, and Malaby. For Juul, “player effort” also implies competition.33 The autonomy experienced by the player thus requires an opposition in order to be considered a game. Finally, games include a goal, which is the specific outcome that players will strive to achieve (whether personal or shared). The goal not only generates a sense of purpose, but also reinforces participation and motivation through a feedback system.34 Other criteria, such as Thomas Malaby’s “socially legitimate domain” and Espen Aarseth’s “enjoyment,” emphasize qualities that are common elements of games, but they do not necessarily need to apply to classify an activity as a game. Sid Meier offers such a broad definition that other activities, such as cooking, would have to be included as well. More implicitly, definitions of games by game designers, scholars, and critics often situate notions of player autonomy and cultural production squarely within the domain of modern history. In his theoretical discussion of play and game, Miguel Sicart interprets games as successors to the Bakhtinian carnivalesque space of subversion: “[g]ames are an example of carnivalesque behavior that leads to festive liberation in search [of] freedom, expression, and truth.”35 Medievalists are, of course, well aware of this outmoded view of medieval spaces of laughter, play, and festivity.36 Yet scholars continue to claim ideas of ‘game,’ ‘leisure,’ and                                                           33 Juul, Half-Real, 40. 34 An edge case to this criterion would be the modern ‘sandbox’ simulation game like Minecraft where the goals of the game (e.g., survive) do not take precedence over the content-creation of the player. 35 Miguel Sicart, Play Matters (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2014), 11. 36 Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of the carnivalesque has often been ascribed to the Middle Ages as a point of comparison to the modern world, whether in terms of play or a past utopian space that was ‘lost’ in the 17  ‘entertainment’ as concepts that are distinctly post-medieval. Following the fallacy of ascribing the modern concept of a work/recreation dichotomy to the medieval period,37 social historian Peter Burke reasons that the concept of ‘leisure’ simply did not exist in the Middle Ages and was invented in the early sixteenth century.38 Burke argues that leisure developed as an institutionalized time-space as working hours became well-defined, so people engaged in “non-utilitarian” leisure activities in times they were not working.39 To rob the Middle Ages of playful spaces means discounting the ways in which players, designers, readers, and scribes understood games. It is not that people in the Middle Ages did not play games, but rather that the games they enjoyed upheld and reflected familiar cultural systems and were a significant aspect in the social fabric of those who played them. The idea of labour may have been defined differently (or not as sharply) for the nobility, but pastimes were often considered to be methods for occupying free time and involved active participation.40 As abstract systems that were often used to allegorize social organization, rules of conduct, and inanimate agencies such as chance, medieval game-texts in particular share a novel relationship with literature that perturbs the seemingly core features of modern games outlined above (rules, known outcomes, autonomy, goals, feedback                                                           early modern period, but remains a romantic notion that critics do not support with historical examples. See, for instance, Chris Humphrey, The Politics of Carnival: Festive Misrule in Medieval England (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), especially chapter 1 for an overview of critical approaches to the notion of misrule in medieval England. 37 For historians and sociologists that conceptualize the temporal ‘rupture’ between pre-industrial and industrial societies regarding the notion of leisure, see: Joffre Dumazedier, Toward a Society of Leisure, trans. Stewart E. McClure (New York: Free Press, 1967); Michael Marrus, The Emergence of Leisure (New York: Harper & Row, 1974); and Jean Verdon, Les loisirs en France au Moyen Age (Paris: J. Tallandier, 1980), 9. 38 Peter Burke, “The Invention of Leisure in Early Modern Europe,” Past & Present 146 (1995): 139. 39 Ibid., 149. 40 See my discussion of medieval leisure in “Introduction: Setting Up the Board,” in Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), 8-9. 18  loops). But before I turn to a discussion of medieval game-texts, it is first necessary to explore the etymological roots of ‘game’ and ‘play’ as they relate to the Middle Ages. When is a game in the Middle Ages considered a game (as opposed to play, pilgrimage, love, and so on)? Can such boundaries exist? And, perhaps more importantly for the purposes of this chapter, how do we formulate a boundary between a game and a non-game in a literary context? The concepts of game and play changed considerably throughout the Middles Ages. The Middle English Dictionary defines both ‘game’ and ‘play’ as pleasurable activities that often include amusement, joy, merriment, jest, jokes, contests, fun, sport, and amorous play.41 In other analyses of games from the Middle Ages, the idea of ‘game’ becomes synonymous not only with the more generalized concept  of ‘play,’ but also with other pastimes such as gardening, dancing, and parading pets.42 Huizinga observes that despite their seeming interchangeability, the words ‘game’ and ‘play’ possess a unique derivation in English compared to other European vernaculars; while most Romance languages contain a single word to express these concepts (derived from the Latin word jocus), English contains two words (derived from ludus and plega). In Middle French, for instance, the phrase “playing a game” translates as “jouer un jeu.”43 In classical Latin, jocus originally signified joking or jesting, and the word’s meaning was eventually broadened to include all manner of ‘play.’44 In early English texts, Laura Kendrick                                                           41MED, pleien, s.v.; MED, game, s.v.; and MED, gamen, s.v. 42 Teresa McLean, The English at Play in the Middle Ages (Berks: Kensale Press, 1985), 89. 43 Other derivatons of jocus in Romance languages include: gioco (Italian), juego (Spanish), joc (Rumanian), and jogo (Portuguese). See: Huizinga, Homo Ludens, 36. Laura Kendrick notes that Old English shows some evidence of the semantic structure, “playing a play,” but the language (for reasons unknown) did not adopt this structure long-term. “Games Medievalists Play: How to Make Earnest and Still Enjoy It,” New Literary History 40.1 (2009), 49–50. 44 Huizinga, Homo Ludens, 36. 19  notes that scribes used the Old English plega to translate ludus, and gamen to translate jocus.45 Originating from the Old Saxon plegan, meaning to expose oneself to danger, the Anglo-Saxon word plega and the verb plegan were associated with movement, exercise, and actions such as clapping, dancing, fighting, grasping, and other forms of physical activity.46 In the Canons of Edgar, Wulstan writes: “We lærað þæt preost ne beo hunta ne hafecere ne tæflere, ac plegge on his bocum swa his hade gebirað” [We advise that a priest should not be a hunter, hawker, or gambler, but play with his books so as to sustain his nature]—suggesting that not only were books considered to be playthings, but reading was also considered a worthwhile activity for priests.47 Gamen, on the other hand, evolved to incorporate not just feelings of pleasure but also pastimes that produced positive emotions, including activities such as hawking, jousting, debating, sporting, playing board games, and other forms of recreation. Games, in essence, become the object of play (a deviation from the term found in modern notions of game).48 By the late thirteenth century, gamen in England began to lose its earlier connotations and became more closely associated with strategy, rules, and thing-ness in a narrower sense. Nearing the end of the early Middle English bird-debate The Owl and the Nightingale (thirteenth century) for instance, the Nightingale states to the Owl, “Me þunc[þ] þat þu forleost þat game” [I think that you lost that game]—thereby attempting to declare herself the victor over her opponent.49 Even when considered from a philological perspective, ideas of game and play are determined culturally. V.                                                           45 Kendrick, “Games Medievalists Play,” 43-61. 46 Huizinga, Homo Ludens, 38. 47 Wulfstan, Canons of Edgar, ed. Roger Fowler (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972), lxv.14. 48 Philosopher Miguel Sicart writes that games “are part of the ecology of playthings and play contexts.” Play Matters, 4. 49 The Owl and the Nightingale, ed. and trans. J. W. H. Atkins (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922), line 1649. 20  A. Kolve notes that “ludus, with it English equivalents play and game, became the ubiquitous generic term for vernacular drama” and argues that the word ‘play’ once had a dramatic root which is now divorced from our understanding of the term.50 However, the etymology of ‘game’ provides only a general sense of how medieval authors understood and employed notions of the entertainment. Given the term’s fluidity throughout the Middle Ages, we might wonder whether such a definition would prove useful for exploring the many games found in/as medieval literature, especially in conjunction with the modern definitions of ‘game’ discussed above. Indeed, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein chose the term ‘game’ to argue for the impossibility of such intrinsic definitions, believing that games can only be identified by “family resemblances.”51 In his encyclopedic treatise The Oxford History of Board Games, Parlett also writes that “[t]he word [game] is used for so many different activities that it is not worth insisting on any proposed definition. All in all, it is a slippery lexicological customer, with many friends and relations in a wide variety of fields.”52 Given the fluidity of terms, defining ‘game’ in the Middle Ages is at once frustratingly open and contained. Game-texts thus present us with candidate media objects for the study and destabilization of properties long thought to be essential for considering what makes something a game.                                                           50 V. A. Kolve, The Play Called Corpus Christi (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1966), 12–13. Kolve continues his philological discussion, arguing that vernacular drama in the Middle Ages was often perceived as a game, which sets it apart from Latin liturgical drama (often called ordo, processio, and repraesentatio). In the same vein, Lawrence Clopper, in his discussion of medieval drama, remarks that “the word ‘play’ is historically and conceptually a philological subset of the word ‘game,’ not the other way around.” Drama, Play, and Game: English Festive Culture in the Medieval and Early Modern Period (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 12. 51 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (New York: MacMillan, 1953), 66–67. 52 Parlett, The Oxford History of Board Games, 1. 21  Before turning to a discussion of medieval game-texts, it is also important to keep in mind the potential perils of discussing medieval concepts in conjunction with modern models of games. Glending Olson cautions us on assuming a seamless understanding of play in the Middle Ages, which could be applied to the idea of games as well:  The idea of recreation is in one sense an attempt to fit play into an ethical framework. It invites consideration of the idea of play itself, which has been the topic of some well-known theoretical treatment, particularly Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens . . . In some respects medieval views of play are reasonably close to modern ones, but in general they tend to treat the subject from an ethical perspective rather than a psychological, sociological, or anthropological one. I prefer to stay with medieval theorizing here, especially since its point of view . . . is more directly related to medieval literary claims and criticism than modern play and game theories” [emphasis mine].53  We should note here Olsen’s hesitance in subscribing to any modern theories of play in his study, lest he stray from medieval ideology and succumb to a false ahistoricism. For medieval players, games were not just a form of recreation, but one means by which they could understand their own moral nature within the social fabric of medieval society.54 Following an ethical framework for studying recreation in the Middle Ages, Olsen reminds us that the acceptance of entertainment was heavily influenced by Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, which aided in “liberalizing view[s] of recreation…[on] ethical terms rather than explicitly Christian ones” and medieval pastimes should be viewed within this lens.55 In Ethics, a text discovered in the twelfth century and adopted by scholars at Oxford, Aristotle discusses the appropriate relationship between “the desire for entertainment and virtuous behaviour by making the former an                                                           53 Glending Olsen, Literature as Recreation in the Later Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982), 100. 54 Game Studies scholars have also recently illustrated how players are not passive receptacles, but rather understand games as ethical objects within a wider network of moral responsibilities. See, for instance, Miguel Sicart’s The Ethics of Computer Games (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2009) for a comprehensive analysis of the ways in which player’s negotiate morality in their digital experiences. 55 Olsen, Literature as Recreation, 94. 22  instrument of the latter.”56 Even from this overtly ethical frame of reference, a compiler or scribe, whose manuscripts were destined for public recreation, would be designing for a user experience—an experience often rooted by an attempt to simultaneously moralize and entertain for a specific audience; for instance, the twenty-two demandes included in British Library MS Additional 46919, an early fourteenth-century friar's miscellany owned by the Franciscan preacher William Herbert, are featured alongside a number of didactic works such as the French manual Art de Venerie and are prefaced with Latin commentary.57 Within such a pluralistic ethical and cultural framework, Huizinga’s ‘magic circle’—as an “act apart” from the “ordinary world” —cannot always be so clearly delineated along strict boundaries for medieval games (just as the concept finds issues with the influences and consequences of play in videogames).58 The ‘hallowed spots’ we find in recreational game-texts in the Middle Ages appear in the same places and manner that we might find other texts: in collections of similar items (as with the demandes d’amour), in anthologies like the Findern manuscript, or in miscellanies among other texts and documents significant to medieval life. The scribe-compilers were obviously not always following Aristotelian ethics, but their choices of textual and visual arrangement for entertainment existed within a larger cultural framework, which can only be expounded by analyzing these historical, physical, and material spaces.                                                             56 Ibid., 95. In her book on ethics and medieval enjoyment, Jessica Rosenfeld notes that few philosophical treatises praising enjoyment survived in the early Middle Ages; thus, “pleasure was either transformed or denied as a valid ethical goal” in subsequent ideologies, often filtered through critics of pleasure such as Cicero. Ethics and Enjoyment in Late Medieval Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 21. 57 See Chapter 3 for a discussion of this manuscript and the circulation of demandes d’amour in England. 58 Huizinga, Homo Ludens, 10. 23  1.2 The Medieval Game-Text Scholars have noted the game-like qualities of the earlier Anglo-Saxon riddles in the Exeter Codex, but there are relatively few extant representations of games in English manuscripts and texts prior to the 1170s.59 The earliest known reference to chess in England occurs in the Latin ‘Winchester Poem’ (c. 1150), which outlines the rules for chess by describing the moves and positions of the chess pieces on the game board.60 While game-texts could be viewed as stemming in part from intellectual influences such as the tradition of performing and circulating Latin disputatio, a rhetorical competition created for medieval university curricula in Paris and Oxford during the 1150s,61 their play and circulation are overwhelmingly found in the fin’ amors courtly tradition originating from the lyrics of the troubadours in twelfth century France. This tradition of love is perhaps a fitting trend for the introduction of the interactive game-text, for fin’ amors was not a reflection of actual behaviour among the aristocracy, but rather a stylized expression of love—a fiction that could be enjoyed through lyric poetry, romance, and literature or performed at court. First described as “courtly love” by Gaston Paris                                                           59 For discussions of the Exeter riddles as playful texts, see: John Niles, Old English Poems and the Play of the Texts (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2006); Dieter Bitterli, Say What I am Called: The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book and the Anglo-Latin Riddle Tradition (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009); and Patrick Murphy, Unriddling the Exeter Book (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011). 60 See Chapter 2 for a discussion of the ‘Winchester Poem.’ 61 For a more detailed analysis of the disputatio tradition, see: B. C. Bazàn, J. W. Wippel, G. Fransen, and D. Jacquart, Les Questions disputées et les questions quodlibétiques dans les facultés de théologie, de droit et de medicine, (Belgium: Brepols, 1985). For a description of the medieval university see: Hastings Rashdall, The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, 3 Volumes (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987); John Van Engen, ed., Learning Institutionalized: Teaching in the Medieval University (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2000). 24  in 1883, the cultural concept has long endured dispute and scrutiny among medievalists.62 Since the fin’ amors tradition has been well documented by medievalists, my aim here is not to provide a comprehensive discussion of fin’ amors, but rather to explore how game-texts became part of this tradition and, through this tradition, depart from our modern notions of ‘game.’ In Courtly Love, the Love of Courtliness, and the History of Sexuality, James Schultz describes the cultural tenor in which literary games first emerged: “[c]ourtly culture elaborated a class-specific ideal of social life that required certain self-restraint—at table, in speech, in response to insult or challenge—and promised distinction in return.”63 In twelfth-century France, this court culture developed new ways to display refinement and sophistication among the ruling elite, including debates of love, verbal sparring, and displays of skill (e.g., tournaments and chess). Love in the medieval literary imagination was not only a fiction enjoyed by the nobility, but also a mode of cultural production that could display this ‘distinction’ through social activity. As Richard Firth                                                           62 The term amour courtois was popularized in 1883 by Gaston Paris in his article “Lancelot du Lac, II. Le Conte de la Charrette,” Romania 12 (1883): 459-534. While the term has become widely adopted among medievalists, many scholars have criticized its ahistorcism and multi-variant definitions. C. S. Lewis argued that courtly love represented an idealization of sexual love, but described it as a social process created by landless knights rather than an exclusively literary mode. The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1936; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 11-14. In response to such claims, D.W. Robertson argues that ‘courtly love’ does not exist and chastises those who discuss it, believing that ‘courtly love’ impedes proper examination of medieval literature. “The Concept of Courtly Love as an Impediment to the Understanding of Medieval Texts,” in The Meaning of Courtly Love, ed. F.X. Newman (Albany: SUNY Press, 1968), 1-18. In his influential study on the meaning of courtly love, Roger Boase identifies twelve approaches to defining ‘courtly love’ in the Middle Ages, one of which is through a ludic lens. See his chart comparing the various theories in The Origins and Meaning of Courtly Love (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), 27. More recently, James Schultz argues in favour of reinstating the term ‘courtly love’ by arguing that ‘courtly love’ more accurately reflects the discipline of courtliness in which it originally flourished. Courtly Love, the Love of Courtliness, and the History of Sexuality (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006), 159-72. In this chapter, I prefer to use the terms ‘matters of love’ and ‘courtly literature’ since they appear more factual. 63 Schultz, Courtly Love, xvi. 25  Green writes, the “late medieval nobleman was not content merely to experience the ennobling power of love through the poet’s imagination, he had himself to play the lover, to join with his fellows in an elaborate game of romantic make-believe.”64 For medieval audiences, to participate in fin’ amors was essentially to play. In the prologue to book four of the Middle English Confessio Amantis, the lover Amans lists actions he can perform in pursuit of his lover—a collection of social activities that John Stevens calls the “game of love”:65  And whanne it falleth othergate,  So that hire like noght to daunce, Bot on the dees to caste chaunce  Or axe of love som demaunde,  Or ells that hir list comaunde  To rede and here of Troilus.66  John Gower describes here the ludic space for lovers (in this case, unrequited) at play, crafting cooperative activities like dancing, reading, or playing with dice or questions of love. The ‘game of love’ as described by Stevens is not quite a game in the modern sense (outlined earlier in this chapter), but rather a way in which to define all manner of social activities in the expression of love. While the term has long been adopted by medievalists to figuratively describe the activities associated with participating in the fin’ amors tradition, it comprises vague, arbitrary social rules that he does not explicitly define.67                                                            64 Richard Firth Green, Poets and Princepleasers: Literature and the English Court in the Late Middle Ages (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980), 115. 65 Stevens, Music and Poetry in the Early Tudor Court (London: Methuen, 1961; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 154-202. 66 John Gower, The Confessio Amantis, ed. Russell A. Peck. TEAMS: Medieval English Texts Series (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute, 2003), 2:4.2790-95. 67 For instance, in his study of English court poetry, Richard Firth Green discusses ‘the game of love’ in terms of the type of stylized writings of court poets. Green, Poets and Princepleasers, 101-34. 26  In fact, Stevens’s term as applied to medieval phenomena does not actually align with medieval uses of  ‘game of love.’ Medieval players invoke the term more specifically for depicting games like le Roi Qui Ne Ment, showing that the medieval use of ‘game’ supports the idea that the term increased in specificity in the later Middle Ages. The pursuit of a lover as a ‘game’ to win their favour was nevertheless allegorized and game boards found in medieval marginalia signify this parallel between games and love. For instance, John Lydgate’s Reson and Sensuallyte (c. 1407) is a translation and expansion of Les Échecs Amoureux that illustrates how games in literature can reflect both the allegorical potential of love and the materiality of chess. Following a string of encounters with mythological gods and goddess in the Garden of Pleasance, the narrator witnesses a game of chess played between Deduit (Pleasure) and a young lady. After the game results in a tie, the narrator subsequently begins a game with the lady in an effort to win her love. Like chess games in other romances, here the chess game acts as a performance of courtly behaviour. As the narrator claims, Venus had sent him to the garden to learn the art of chess so that he may be successful in love: “For he sholde haue exercise / Of this play in al[le] wyse, / That his tyme he nat lese, / Syth he ys her wher he may chese.”68 The concepts of ‘game’ and ‘love’ clearly shared a close relationship in the later Middle Ages, but I would caution against using the terms loosely in the descriptions of all social activities surrounding fin’ amors. In this dissertation I will use ‘game of love’ when the game I am discussing is specifically related to matters of love, taking my cues from texts, manuscripts, and boards, and the more general term ‘play’ when discussing other social activities related to fin’ amors tradition.                                                           68 John Lydgate, Reson and Sensuallyte, ed. Ernst Sieper, Early English Text Society (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner, 1901), line 5941-44. 27   The first games of love to emerge and gain widespread popularity were the demandes d’amour, a literary genre composed in both verse and prose and comprising a series of questions and answers that deal with the ideologies, attitudes, and etiquette of fin’ amors. While the demandes d’amour could be enjoyed in their own right as a form of courtly literature, they were primarily used as a social framework for debating matters of love and for highly stylized conversation, and provided a basis for aristocratic and gentry parlour games. In their ability to function as both a literary form and a social amusement for the leisured classes, the demandes d’amour focused on open-ended questions concerning the nature of love, the acquisition of love, the practice of loving, the effects of love, and the characteristics of an ideal lover; thus, they mirrored the formalization of love developed by the literary imagination of medieval France and later disseminated in England and elsewhere. Readers could use demandes for engaging in casual, sophisticated discussion about amorous topics that could test knowledge of fin’ amors and linguistic proficiency as well as reflect personal status. The demandes d’amour also provided a model for teaching aspects of courtesy, morality, proper social conduct, and social refinement, reflecting the literary tastes of the French aristocracy. As a genre with widespread popularity among the gentry and nobility between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, the demandes d’amour are found in 25 manuscripts and 30 incunabula—including literary anthologies, didactic manuals, miscellanies, and printed collections—in France, England, and elsewhere. Collections of demandes d’amour, which comprised various lists of questions of love and their answers, first appeared in the early fourteenth century and likely sprung from the earlier rise of courtly debate literature and the ideals of fin’ amors in the twelfth century. Adam de la Halle’s first jeu-parti, for instance, asks the question: “if you were to enjoy the favours of a lady only ten times in your life, would you 28  take them immediately or wait for a long time?” —a question found in later collections of demandes d’amour. The modularity of demandes d’amour indicates their fluidity as a ludic form without ascribing specific static outcomes of the game or winning objectives—elements that Avedon, Sutton-Smith, Salen, and Zimmerman include in their definition of games. The demandes d’amour could thus be used for a variety of ludic activities, from leisurely reading among an audience to more structured forms such as the social question-and-answer game Roi Qui Ne Ment (discussed in more detail below). Scholars have suggested the mutual influence of both the demandes d’amour and the jeux-partis on social debate. Alexander Klein and Eero Illvonen first noted that questions and answers resembling the demandes d’amour appeared in the twelfth-century game juec d’amour and may have been an antecedent to later jeu—a speculation also shared by Margaret Felberg-Levitt, the most recent editor of the demandes d’amour. However, Christa Schlumbolm posits instead that the demandes d’amour arose from the Provençal joc-partit, linking the joc-partit to social games at court. Similarly, Madeleine Lazard argues that the demandes d’amour derived from the Le Roi Qui Ne Ment game in the early thirteenth century. In contrast, Arthur Långfors observes that the demandes d’amour may be based on the jeux-partis. While the origins of the demandes d’amour are clearly difficult to trace with any certainty, they certainly influenced and were influenced by other debate genres and may have begun as an oral amusement that were later written down. Felberg-Levitt notes that the demandes d’amour may have been initially transmitted orally and later circulated in loose folios or unbound manuscripts for memorization earlier than the fourteenth century. The origins of early demandes d’amour, developed within the open structure of medieval debate, provided a foundation for creating more stylistic debates, questions of love, and amatory patterns of communication. 29  Precursors to the demandes d’amour collections are also inspired by the courts of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie the Countess of Champagne in twelfth-century France and, from the beginning, elicit a ludic, interactive experience that emphasizes an adaptable system for debating matters of love. In book two of Andreas Capellanus’s Latin treatise on the art of refined love, De Amore (c. 1186–90), Capellanus identifies Eleanor and Marie among other court ladies in a section titled De variis iudiciis amoris (Various judgements on love). These “love judgements,” totaling 21 in all, encompassed various cases in love that a court of noble ladies and gentlemen discussed, debated, and resolved with one person designated as a judge. It is doubtful whether Capellanus’s cases on love were actual witnesses of the questions and activities within the courts (and textual communities) of Eleanor or Marie, but his effort to situate this ludic playspace nevertheless indicates a popular trend within courtly culture. Building on the traditions of scholastic dialogue and debate, including classical fields of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectics, and the poetic tensos, partimens, and cobla exchanges of the troubadours—that is, forms of courtly debates on love in which noble ladies were expected to participate—Capellanus’s “love judgments” present a structure for discussing matters of love and became a forerunner to later demandes d’amour wherein each question ends with a single answer (a structure that mirrors that question and answer pattern found in the demandes d’amour collections). Other twelfth-century French debate poetry also incorporated demande-like questions, including Jean de Condé’s Dit de l’amant hardi et de l’amant cremeteus, and the jeux-partis of Thibaut de Navarre. Similarly, the French clerc-chevalier debates such as Florence et Blanchefleur, written in the twelfth century, focus on a central question: is it the clerk or knight who is the best at love? In these instances, questions and answers acted as points of contention and encouraged debate among the audience; the conventions of fin’ amors could thus be 30  explored among a group of readers as a pleasurable pastime in the courts of France and the demandes d’amour could be used to elicit this experience, whether through a formal game or through playful debate (or both). Courtly games adopting the demandes d’amour as a central aspect of gameplay echo the collective debating community of the French court and appear frequently in romances, debates, and other recreational literature.69 One such game, Le Roi Qui Ne Ment, was enjoyed by the aristocracy and gained widespread popularity in northern France during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries as a courtly entertainment played alongside other debating games such as the popular jeux-partis and tensons. Le Roi Qui Ne Ment was played by both men and women, and, more important for our purposes, specific rules of the game varied widely depending on the region or particular group of players. One of the most common ways to play the game was that a player was typically chosen as the ‘king’ and he or she would ask each other player a question concerning love. A player was required to respond with sincerity and the ‘king’ could punish the player if he or she judged the answer unsuitable. After a round of answers the players could ask the ‘king’ a question.70 A player was required to respond with sincerity and the ‘king’ could punish the player if he or she judged the answer unsuitable. The questions asked may have been personal in order to draw out amorous love interests, but the numerous demandes d’amour                                                           69 The Middle French romance Le Chevalier Errant (c. 1394-96) contains scenes that incorporate both les demandes and Le Roi Qui Ne Ment. See also: Richard Firth Green, “Le Roi qui ne Ment,” 211-25. 70 Alexander Klein’s study of the demandes d’amour led him to conclude that the game had no fixed rules and could be played in a variety of ways. Die altfranzösischen Minnefragen, Marburger Beiträge zur romanischen Philologie (Marburg: Adolf Ebel, 1911), 231. In his analysis of the game’s social function, Richard Firth Green explores the rules and parameters of Le Roi Qui ne Ment based on depictions of the game found in romances and demandes collections. Green, “Le Roi qui ne Ment,” 211-26. For more information on Le Roi Qui Ne Ment, see also Ernest Langlois, “Le Jeu du Roi et le jeu du Roi et de la Reine,” Romanische Forschungen 23 (1907): 163-73. 31  collections indicate that riddles and general questions of love were chiefly used to encourage courtly, polite conversation and verbal sparring through lengthy debate. While the game could have a definite winner (and losers), this was not always the case and the game could continue ad infinitum until the participants tired of the game—a notion that would be troubling for the modern definitions of game quoted above. This open, playful, and non-restrictive attitude toward medieval games is prevalent among numerous game-texts. As Emma Cayley remarks, the game of love in late medieval France “is played in a constant state of desire for continuation rather than completion; the end of the game (closure) is often deliberately deferred in order to perpetuate the game,” similar to narratives of courtly love in romance.71 The game also served a more significant social function: as Richard Firth Green notes, the purpose was to pair off couples and potential lovers, providing a certain degree of social and emotional intimacy. The rules and parameters of the game therefore varied depending on the audience’s desires while maintaining a loose, recognizable form for play. Le Roi Qui Ne Ment was depicted in romances (such as the Dutch Roman van Heinric en Margriete van Limborch), fabliaux (Le Sentier Batu, where a queen is chosen instead of a king), and other medieval texts (notably Boccaccio’s Filocolo, book IV), which often describe the game in play. Players could draw inspiration and demandes from the large collections of demandes d’amour found in manuscripts; alternatively, the demandes could be, in part, recordings of past games. John Longuyon’s Alexandrian romance Les Voeux du Paon (The vows of the peacock) (1312), which he wrote for Thibaut de Bar, bishop of Liège, includes a lengthy depiction of the game played by five characters in the Chamber of Venus at the request of Cassamus: Betis, his younger sister Fesonas, his cousin Edea, Ydorus, and their prisoner-guest                                                           71 Cayley, Debate and Dialogue, 12 (see chap. 1 n. 11). 32  Cassiel. Cassamus encourages this game in an effort to pair Edea and Cassiel.72 Le Roi Qui Ne Ment was also mentioned by other authors as a form of social activity to reflect the refinements of court culture. In Le joli Buisson de Jonece, Jean Froissart notes that a gathering of nobles played the game as a form of elite entertainment. Guillaume de Machaut depicts a group of courtiers playing the game in Remède de fortune and a gathering of nobles, including Charles, Duke of Normandy, playing Le Roi Qui Ne Ment in Voir dit. That the game was referenced continuously in literature is a testament to its popularity and significance as a space for role-playing fin’ amors among friends and family.  Another game based on the demandes d’amour, called Le Jeu aux Rois et aux Reines (The game of kings and queens) has been suggested by scholars to be a parody of Le Roi Qui Ne Ment. Adam de la Halle’s pastourelle Le Jeu de Robin et Marion (c. 1283) is among the first to mention the game, which is played in a similar fashion to Le Roi Qui Ne Ment. In the pastourelle, Adam de la Halle uses a demande to mock courtly etiquette by asking personal questions such as “Quel viande tu aimes miex?” (What meat do you like the best?). The game also includes the king’s ability to request a forfeit. Robin, in his refusal to respond to a question Marion deems unsuitable, pays a forfeit demanded by the king: he must kiss Marion. In the Tournoi de Chauvency (1285), Jacques Bretel observes three question-and-answer games played by the aristocracy following the tournament of Chauvenci, including Le Roi Qui Ne Ment and Le Jeu aux Rois et aux Reines, which he lists as separate games. Felberg-Levitt also suggests that Le Roi Qui Ne Ment and Le Jeu aux Rois et aux Reines may have been two completely separate games, though they have decidedly similar rules. While questions could be devised orally, collections of demandes d’amour may have also been consulted by players as inspiration or aid for such games                                                           72 See Chapter 3 for a discussion of this scene in a fifteenth-century Middle English excerpt. 33  and other recreational activities. Indeed, different series of demandes d’amour collections list a wide variety of demandes, ranging from questions that incite lengthy discussion to questions that accompany one-word answers (or no answers at all). The extant utterances and model dialogues found in the demandes d’amour collections—questions that are often reiterated in textual depictions of Le Roi Qui Ne Ment and other question-and-answer games—nevertheless provide insight into the particulars of aristocratic courtliness and entertainment and show how the game’s modularity could adapt to serve the interests of its audience.  The Middle French dice-poem Le Jeu d’Amour [the Game of Love] (c. 1300) also played with this code of love by producing a more structured interactive, non-linear literary experience in which players are directly inserted into the courtly rhetoric through dice rolls. Found in a single extant manuscript penned during the late thirteenth century, Le Jeu d’Amour was played in mixed company of aristocratic men and women. Courtly phrases such as “bonne amour fine,” and “bel ami” appear throughout its leaves: the scribe enhances this performance of the fin’ amors ethos by literally transforming each page in the manuscript into an ornate gaming board, listing eight fortunes on a page enclosed in gold and blue medallions and organized by sum.73 The design of Le Jeu d’Amour is visually elaborate and, given the prevalence of other courtly games in the late thirteenth century, the author’s preoccupation with creating temporal instances of dalliance does not come as a surprise. Kenneth Varty conjectures that the game was played with four men and four women. Each player would cast two or three dice and match their roll to a medallion.74 Upon further inspection, the manuscript contains four game sets ranging from a sum of three to eighteen, save the first set which begins at the sum of nine, and a sequential                                                           73 Kraemer, Le Jeu d’Amour, lines 154, 258, and 542. 74 Kenneth Varty, review of Le Jeu d’Amour, by Erik Kraemer, Modern Language Review 72.3 (1977): 678. 34  single game of two dice on folios 3v, 7v, and 11v. The ability of readers to play Le Jeu d’Amour in any number of ways, ranging from a few people playing a single set (having four to choose from) to each player possessing their own set of pages, echoes the malleability of the demandes d’amour.75 The game-poet utilizes the binomial triangle in order to organize his sums, but he applies no special meaning to any number, including his mention of “rafle” or the highest roll 6.6.6, which can contain a positive or negative fortune depending on the set (Table 1.2):  Good       Poor  Set #1  C’est bien jete, rafle moult grande,  Il est fol qui sens vous demande,  Car vous haves vostre estudie  Boute en l’amoureuse vie (181-4).   Set #2 Tu contrefes le papelart,  Et s’as un droit cuer de renart  Personne qui se fie en toy  N’est pas bien avise, je croy (465-68).  Table 1.2: Comparison of Fortune 6.6.6 in Le Jeu d’Amour  In these two outcomes, the focus lies in revealing aspects about the player or players, including whether they will receive love or whether they are a deceiver in matters of love. In order to create opportunities for intimate tension, the author occasionally separates the outcomes in certain sums depending on whether the player was a man or woman, and dictates different actions a player can complete. One combination of 5.5.3, for instance, asks a fellow player to call the roller “folle I bee” if the player is a woman, and a roll of 5.5.4 of the same set allows, perhaps suggestively, a male player to embrace a fellow “friend.”76 Other fortunes require                                                           75 To date, no scholar has examined how these texts function together (or even how the game is played). 76 Kraemer, Le Jeu d’Amour, lines 134 and 146. 35  players to pay money to a pot and some rolls even required players to sit out, thereby showing that the game can have a potential winner if the players choose to turn Le Jeu d’Amour in to a gambling game.77 Teresa McLean comments on this type of ludic atmosphere in noting that these forms of love games and romance were incredibly popular among women and created “conversation [that was] charged with possibly romantic significance.”78 In that vein, the game-poet references popular literary couples from Arthurian romances, including Lancelot and Guinevere, though he evokes a general knowledge of the characters rather than a specific trait.79 The game thus initiates discussion and debate, dalliance, and moments of courtly flirtation with fellow participants as they read and draw connections between a player and their fortunes; perhaps anticipating this readerly agency, the game-poet maintains minimal authorial presence, focusing instead on the reader’s overall ludic experience. As Kraemer observes, the game-poet mentions “vous” thirty-one times and “tu” one-hundred-eighteen times.80 Through the use of the codex and probability, the game-poet creates the rules, actions, and future outcomes for the players, and the players in turn enjoy spontaneous play in matters of love from their own interpretations of the pages. Chance by casting dice is not figured as the primary agent in love, but as an implied, necessary factor for generating this amorous play. Although specific outcomes                                                           77 Ibid., lines 365-68. 78 Teresa McLean, The English at Play, 93. 79For instance:    Onques Lancelot n’ama tant    Genevre au gentil corps pleasant    C’on vous aime de cuer parfait.    Il m’est avis que c’est bien fait (Kraemer, Le Jeu d’Amour, 165-8)   This element is common in other dice-games as well. See also A. Bobrinski’s edition Jeu d’Amour, Franzusskaja gadalnaja kniga 15 weka. St. Petersburg, 1856 for a similar use of romance characters. 80 Kraemer, Le Jeu d’Amour, 9. 36  are possible, they are rare among the fortunes; rather, the emphasis lies on immersing players in the fin’ amors tradition in a similar fashion to the demandes d’amour. While the demandes d’amour collections focus on polite conversation and verbal sparring, Le Jeu d’Amour transforms each player into a potential lover themselves, and the suggestive outcomes denote a higher level of intimacy among the players. In both instances, the objective of the game is to participate in this fiction. The manuscript provides the feedback loop necessary to facilitate play, but the nuances of the text area are only revealed in the moments of play between the players and their relations. Although such a game shows evidence of rules and autonomy, its lack of competition and goals particular to the game would render it an edge case within the confines of many of the definitions of the modern game. Le Jeu d’Amour was nevertheless clearly understood and played as a game in medieval French social circles. The appeal of courtly literature and games was in this access to specialized knowledge: a code of conduct only the most noble could seek to imitate, perform, and enjoy.  From the rise in popularity of the demandes d’amour collections and games and the visually ornate pages of Le Jeu d’Amour, we can see that social courtly games in France provided not only a form of recreation, but also a status symbol presented visually on the page. Furthermore, these courtly games of love affirm the ethical and social conditions postulated by Stephen Jaeger, but their prevalence and appeal does not necessarily speak to a rise from primitivism: the courtesy, civility, and refinement exhibited in the demandes and Le Jeu d’Amour reinforces virtues and accomplishments in order to achieve an aesthetic that promotes status and reputation.81 From their invention and popularity among readers who wished to practice and participate in luf-                                                          81 C. Stephen Jaeger, The Origins of Courtliness: Civilizing Trends and the Foundation of Courtly Ideals, 939-1210 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985), 3-9. 37  talkyng, the demandes d’amour games and Le Jeu d’Amour reveal how players negotiated a fluid boundary between the terms ‘game’ and ‘literature’ and between ‘game’ and ‘non-game.’ While the demandes d’amour could be used as a literary device or narrative framework, they could just as easily lend themselves to courtly games dependent on stylized debate and performance. Similarly, Le Jeu d’Amour’s invocation of familiar literary figures and provocative gestures testifies to the desire to become immersed in fin’ amors. The demandes d’amour are not referenced as games in themselves, but their capacity to become a game was certainly known to audiences. In this way, medieval game-texts reinforce the main tenet of games as formal systems (and are akin to medieval board games like chess and merels) at the same time they unsettle the criteria for modern games such as quantifiable goals and outcomes as posited by modern game studies scholars. Le Jeu d’Amour and le Roi Qui Ne Ment could potentially be played competitively—that is, players can win or lose the game—but a number of literary games remain deliberately variable in their form and content and are thereby able to be played either competitively or non-competitively.  Another feature of modern game definitions troubled by medieval literary ludic games is the assumption that all games include disequilibrial (Avedon and Sutton-Smith), quantifiable (Salen, Zimmerman, and Juul), or unproductive (Caillois) outcomes. In the fifteenth-century Chaucerian dice-poem The Chaunce of the Dyse (c. 1430-1450), the game-poet constructs a poem that deliberately depends on chance—the unknown—in order to create meaning for the players. While other game-texts such as Ragman Rolle equalize chance (e.g. every fortune has a 1/23 odds), The Chaunce of the Dyse, like Le Jeu d’Amour, employs dice as an active agent for distributing fortunes to the players. Players cast three dice and match their rolls to a corresponding stanza, a series of seven lines that assigns the player a specific character-portrait. 38  The game-poet also organizes The Chaunce of the Dyse by combination, descending from 6.6.6 to 1.1.1.82 While other dice-poems such as Le Jeu D’Amour employs probability as a simple mediating agent between the player and their fortune, The Chaunce of the Dyse instead uses these structures to denote symbolic relations. Fortune 6.6.6 requires one of the least probable rolls, and is considered the ‘best’ roll—often associated with Venus.83 Following this precept, the poet not only dedicates the fortune to her, but also connects the player’s disposition to Venus’s exemplary ideal: “So youre mekenesse ageysn al vice is bote / Who pleynly knoweth youre condicioun / To yow may be made no comparisoun” (26-8). The Chaunce of the Dyse presents a deepened preoccupation with characters and character types, and uses mnemonic devices such as Venus’s “Cokille” and “synamome” aroma to relate immediate experience to previous knowledge.84 Not surprisingly, 1.1.1 reads “Pore is the caste and ryght such is the chaunce” (408), indicating the poor cast and, perhaps coincidentally, allowing the author to end the poem by “leu[ing] in woo” (413). In this way, this game-poet shows a clear working knowledge of both literary conventions and the conventions of recreational dicing games. While the author also includes good and bad fortunes, the entertainment lay primarily in the discussions and dalliance within the text. The game-poet’s addition of well-known Chaucerian characters, including Griselda and Troilus, and allusion to popular locations in London generate                                                           82 Three six-sided dice have a total of 216 possible combinations and 56 sets of combinations. One cubic die has a 1/6 chance of displaying a specific number.  As the rolls are order-independent according to basic combinatorics, the probability of receiving any given fortune ranges from 0.46% to 2.78%. 83L. Barbe, “Dice,” Notes & Queries. s5-IV (1878): 302. 84 Hammond, “The Chance of the Dice,” 22-25. Hereafter, line numbers for The Chaunce of the Dyse will be given in parentheses. 39  a relationship between author, player, and text that is markedly situated within fifteenth-century English literary culture.85 Fortune forty-three reads, for instance:  Of olde stories / taken ye grete hede That ye ne had moo bokes / is gret skathe ffor your talent / ys gretely set to rede Ye kan by rote / the wifes lyfe of Bathe He might wel sey ful erlyche / and to rathe Chosen he had / that machched with yow were Sure of a shrewe / might he ben with oute fere (295-301).  In this particular fortune, the game-poet addresses a player not only well-read, but also well-acquainted with Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. As Eleanor Hammond, the first editor of the text, writes: the game-poet “does change the formula, he does see more of his object, he is not attempting to instruct” but entertain.86 For The Chaunce of the Dyse, the game-poet deliberately attempts to craft fortunes that could apply to both men and women, resulting in the creation of ambiguous character portraits. While Hammond contends that this ambiguity causes the game-poet to maintain a stiff, expressionless poetic form, the poet’s ability to create such variability in outcome, as in fortune forty-three, shows considerable skill in medieval game design.87 The reader’s player agency in The Chaunce of the Dyse results not only from the spontaneous interplay of self and text—players matching the topically variable fortunes to their own predicaments—but also from the conversational dialogue between author and reader in the confirmation of moral virtue and fin’ amors ethos. Accordingly, the author’s recognizable use of structure, local and literary allusion, and temporal immediacy create a performative space that is rich in debate and innuendo typical of other games in the fin ‘amors tradition.                                                           85 J. Allan Mitchell explores the allusions to Chaucerian characters in The Chaunce of the Dyse and their relation to Troilus and Criseyde. See Ethics and Eventfulness, 61-68. 86 Hammond, “The Chance of the Dice,” 3. 87 Ibid., 4. 40  The game-poet, then, distinguishes The Chaunce of the Dyse in both form and content from other so-called ‘classic’ games. In this game-text, there is no declared ‘winner’; instead, the pleasure of playing the game comprises the audience’s interactions with the text itself. Unlike other contemporaneous dice-poems in France and Italy, such as Lorenzo Spirito’s  Libro della Ventura [The Book of Chance] (c. 1482) and the Dodechedron, which both use elaborate tables and mechanisms reminiscent of philosophical divination practices to determine prognostications, The Chaunce of the Dyse game-poet creates a gaming system that is closer to popular gambling games. While gambling games such as hazard were a subject of continual sanction and criticism by the Church, courtly games of chance that mimicked such gambling games did not fall under such scrutiny since their outcomes did not include life-changing stakes.88 Chaucer’s Pardoner associates the play of hazard with riots, taverns, parties, and betting, warning his fellow pilgrims of the dangers of gambling: “[h]asard is verray mooder of lesynges, / And of deceite, and cursed forswerynges, / Blaspheme of Crist, manslaughter, and wast.”89 The outcome not only becomes quantifiable, but also involves a higher emotional (and financial) investment as the gamester places a wager in order to achieve their future outcome. For the Pardoner, false outcomes become an enabler of immoral things to come:  Seven is my chaunce, and thyn is cynk and treye!”  “By Goddes armes if thou falsely pleye,  This daggere shal thurghout thyn herte go!” —                                                           88 Rhiannon Purdie, “Dice-games and the Blasphemy of Prediction,” in Medieval Futures: Attitudes to the Future in the Middle Ages, ed. J. A. Burrow and Ian P. Wei (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2000), 167-84. During the twenty-fourth year of Henry III, the Council of Worcester decreed that clergymen were prohibited from playing at dice or chess, see John Ashton, The History of Gambling in England (New York: Burt Franklin, 1968), 13. For a comprehensive study of gambling in France, see also Thomas M. Kavanagh, Dice, Cards, and Wheels: A Different History of French Culture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005). 89 Geoffrey Chaucer, Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), lines VI.591-94. 41  This fruyt cometh of the bicched bones two, Forsweryng, ire, falsnesse, homicide.90   As Rhiannon Purdie remarks in her examination of dice-games, “[t]he crucial difference lies in whether or not something is at stake.”91 That the game-poet’s system in The Chaunce of the Dyse emphasizes simplicity in lieu of complex rituals or stakes is indicative of the game’s ludic space within high society. The Chaunce of the Dyse was thus an acceptable, and indeed prestigious, game that empowered aristocratic men and women to play within the space of love. In his book Convergence Culture, media studies scholar Henry Jenkins observes that a “medium’s content may shift . . . its audience may change . . . and its social status may rise or fall . . . but once a medium establishes itself as satisfying some core human demand, it continues to function within the larger system of communication options.”92 Jenkins’s argument addresses the co-existence of analog and digital media in the twentieth century, but the idea of diffusion and fluidity of content across media can also be found with medieval game-texts like le Roi Qui ne Ment, Jeu d’Amour and The Chaunce of the Dyse, and, indeed, constitutes one of the properties of medieval game-texts that trouble our modern notion of games. For medieval readers, the jump from “axe of love som demaunde” to “rede and here of Troilus” may have just been a matter of turning the page—the text as a playful object does not change despite the varied presentation, content, and audiences. While game-texts could be experienced singularly and read as text, the convergence of game, text, and player brings the game as an object into existence. It                                                           90 Chaucer, Riverside Chaucer, lines 653-57. 91 Purdie, “Dice-games and the Blasphemy of Prediction,” 183. Clifford Geertz also touches on this in his study of Balinese culture; specifically, he observes that in gambling games with greater amounts of money, “much more is at stake than material gain: namely, esteem, honor, dignity, respect.” The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 433. 92 Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (New York: New York University Press), 14. 42  is this interactivity—formed through variable and ever-changing sequences—that renders the game-text a playful experience. Game studies scholar Eric Zimmerman contends that stories and games comprise two widely different modus operandi: “a story is the experience of a narrative,” while games are experience through play.93 As we have seen, medieval game-texts blur this clear-cut distinction by creating interactive spaces that enable players to participate in the wider emergent narrative of fin’ amors. The narrative becomes the personas of the players, while the rules outline the form of play. As Zimmerman states: “it’s not a question of whether or not games are narrative, but instead how they are narrative . . . we need to ask how games can be narrative systems in ways that other media cannot.”94 It is this interactivity that sets game-texts apart from the “’idealizing impulses’ and distorting ‘receptions’” of texts.95 For game-texts, agency comprises a series of negotiable, ever-changing elements: the poet, the scribe, the player(s), the game’s manuscript context, and its place in medieval culture. The fusion of literary and game traditions thereby produces a distinct form of entertainment.  The demandes d’amour games, Le Jeu d’Amour, and The Chaunce of the Dyse all craft games of love for their various literate audiences, predicated on the effort to create and encourage immersion within the fin’ amors or literary ethos enjoyed by the specific audiences who played them—a kind of “virtuality” between games and life that also appears in the game-oriented fifteenth-century Spanish cancionero poetry.96 “Recreation,” as Olsen writes, “involves                                                           93 Eric Zimmerman, “Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games: Four Naughty Concepts in Need of a Discipline,” in First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game, eds. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004), 161. 94 Ibid., 161-62. 95 Arthur Bahr and Alexandra Gillespie, “Medieval English Manuscripts: Form, Aesthetics, and the Literary Text,” Chaucer Review 47.4 (2013): 351. 96 Juan Escourido, “Textual Games and Virtuality in Spanish Cancionero Poetry,” in Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature, ed. Serina Patterson (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), 187-208. 43  some kind of activity, some form of ludus which creates physical refreshment or mental quies through delectatio, thereby invigorating the psyche.”97 Herein lies a key concept in the ways in which medieval audiences understood games: the “lusory attitude” as defined by philosopher Bernard Suits, is “the acceptance of constitutive rules just so the activity made possible by such acceptance can occur.”98 The lusory attitude can also be prompted through the game’s signification as a playful object and ethical views and tastes of its players. For the game-texts discussed above, game-poets signal this lusory attitude through the literary content, visual aesthetics, and manuscript contexts. However, as we shall see in Chapter 3, medieval game-texts were often appropriated for pedagogical purposes and were regularly used as learning tools outside of gaming contexts. Therefore, typically playful markers such as the use of dice with a given poem may or may not encourage a lusory attitude.  Consider an anonymous Middle-English dice-poem found in four manuscripts dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.99 While the game-poet of Le Jeu d’Amour clearly had a vision of the desired game and its probable outcomes, the anonymous dice-poem presents a more eclectic and general view of literary dice-playing. The poem’s fortunes seem more akin to the tradition of astragalomancy—that is, lots by dice—and prophecy.100 As such, the majority of the fortunes caution the player to be wise, follow God’s will, and adhere to higher virtues such as                                                           97 Olsen, Literature as Recreation, 103. 98 Suits, The Grasshopper, 54. 99 Nicola McDonald has recently suggested naming this poem “Have Your Desire.” See “Fragments of (Have Your) Desire: Brome Women at Play,” 232-58. 100 Reflecting on this observation, Braekman notes that the A-version of the poem, located in Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Library, MS. 123, completely diverges from the authoritative B-version, located in Boston, Boston Public Library, MS. 100. Since the A-version focuses more exclusively on matters of love, Braekman suggests that the original text is based from a dice-book for lovers and a book on general prophecy. “Fortune-Telling,” 17. 44  meekness and steadfastness. The author of most of the poem even occasionally stands in as a surrogate counsellor for revealing the future and aiding the reader; in fortune 5.5.4 he states that:  Quines and cater you haues on ye disse,  I consayl ye be war and whysse,  Trast in no hertly thing [y]at may be,  For ye warld is noght bot vanite.101 This particular fortune concerns the foolishness of pursing worldly things, and recalls to the reader a need to set his or her sights on God. The author is concerned not only with imparting a general knowledge of the future, but also reinforcing Christian moral practices. Chance in the Middle Ages, as Howard Patch has argued, often becomes subservient to divine providence in order to normalize previously conflicting ideas about future events.102 Building from this conventional medieval concept of chance, Thomas Cavanagh also writes that “[fortune’s] real function was to encourage the soul to choose the higher road of the spiritual life.”103 In accordance with a Christian model of moral truth, chance in this particular dice-poem is not associated with the goddess Fortuna or romantic outcomes, but is interpreted as a state of luck governed by God’s providence. Fortune 6.6.3, for instance, asks the player to “cast a nother schaunssce / gyf you wilt yi seluen auaunsse,” and 4.4.2 foresees that the player will “hau ‘e’ god hape, go wher you go”—fortunes that reinforce a general state of goodwill.104 Fortune 5.5.3 even goes so far as to combine elements of chance and divine providence to effect a player’s outcome: the author begin with “swinis and trai is thi schaunce, / gode is mighty ye to auaunce” and then states how the player should put their trust in the virgin Mary.105 Again reflecting this                                                           101 Braekman, “Fortune-Telling,” lines 92-95. 102 Howard Patch, The Goddess Fortuna in Mediaeval Literature (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1927), 19. 103 Thomas Kavanagh, Dice, Cards, Wheels, 15. 104 Braekman, “Fortune-Telling,” lines 15-16 and 154. 105 Ibid., lines 93-96. 45  generalized, non-linear view of chance, the poet does not place varying weights on the numbers. Organized by combination from 6.6.6 to 1.1.1 and depicted by red or black dice (or, as in one manuscript, Arabic numerals), the outcomes and their subsequent fortunes seem to be equally randomized. 1.1.1, for example, is often regarded among gambling circles as the worst roll. Although the final outcome is not favourable, the poet does not hint at this gambling convention; instead he remarks that the player should pray hard in order to be redeemed.106 While this use of prognostication would usually suggest that the poem was used for serious purposes, a certain number of fortunes do hint at playful matters of love, which were an addition from a different manuscript as noted by Braekman.107 For the player, the scribes' amalgamation of generalized, prophetic fortunes and amorous love allows a freedom of interpretation as the poet(s) rarely invoke any specific desire. In this manner, the game could be played with serious intentions or it could be played as a ludic pastime. Whatever the reader’s intention, the poets and scribes make clear that the moral agenda is the highest priority.  From the few interactive game-texts discussed in this chapter, the signification of the ludic function is often signaled through ordinatio and aesthetics, such as the placement of the Chaunce of the Dyse among other texts encouraging debates on matters of love in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Fairfax 16 and Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 638 (e.g., alongside La Belle Dame Sans Mercy) and its dice pictographs accompanying each stanza. Such position and visual markers cannot be construed with certainty as a ludic function, however; more often, the signal for play occurs either in the text itself, such as in the demandes d’amour collections, or through the audience’s own purposes for using the text, such as the anonymous dice-poem which                                                           106 Ibid., lines 221-24. 107 Ibid., lines 3-29. 46  appears alongside decidedly non-ludic texts. When is a text then not a game? In the little-known Middle English prophetic poem “When Sunday goeth by D and C,” the reader casts dice much like the anonymous dice-poem. While the use of dice may at first glance suggest a ludic function, the purpose of the poem is political rather than personal. Found in at least fourteen manuscripts, the poem appears most often in miscellanies with other prophetic texts, many of which deal with the War of the Roses and England.108 In Oxford, Bodleian Library Rawlinson D.1062, for instance, the poem appears on fol. 93v, sandwiched between “The Prophisies of Rymour, Beid, and Marlyng” (ff. 92-94) and a metrical prophecy about the future of England (ff. 119-120v).109 In four manuscripts, “When Sunday goeth by D and C” is paired with another poem that reveals political prophecy via the stars.110 Although a number of variants depict the dice in-text via pictograph (see, for instance, London, British Library, MS Harley 559, fol. 39rv), the poem itself closely follows the tradition of prognostication and functions more like the texts with which it is paired. The poet designates six and one as the best and worst rolls, respectively: “Evermore schalle the {six} be the best cast on the dyce / Whan that {one} beryth up the {six} ynglond                                                           108 The extant manuscripts are: Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Ii.6.11; Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.2.53; Dublin, Trinity College, MS 516; London, British Library, Cotton Cleopatra C.IV; London, British Library, MS Harley 559; London, British Library, MS Harley 7332; London, British Library, MS Sloane 2578; London, Public Records Office, MS SP 1/232; Oxford, Bodleian Library, Arch. Ee. B. 8; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson D.1062; London, British Library, Cotton Rolls II 23; 109 See also the contents of the sixteenth-century commonplace miscellany London, British Library, Lansdowne 762 that includes the poem: proverbs and gnomic verses; texts discussing anger and discord; a recipe for removing wine, water, and milk stains; three prophetic poems on the conquest of France; The First Scottish Prophecy; various animal prophecies; and poems against marriage. For more information about this manuscript, see: David Reed Parker, The Commonplace Book in Tudor London: an Examination of BL MSS Egerton 1995, Harley 2252, Lansdowne 762, and Oxford Balliol College MS 354 (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1998). 110 Cambridge, Trinity College O.2.53, f. 41r; London, British Library Cotton Cleopatra C.IV, f. 123v; London, British Library Harley 559, f. 39r; and London, British Library Lansdowne 762, f. 96r. 47  schal be as paradice.”111 The prognostication of the poem concerns the general well-being and stability of England, as line 6 indicates with the prophecy of a new king to rule if the reader happens to throw a two: “Ye schal have a  newe kyng at a new paarlament.”112 Dice were used widely as prognostication tools in the Middle Ages and the combination of dice and poetry alone does not therefore suggest a ludic function.  Returning to the question of whether Jean de Meun’s Le dodechedron de fortune is in fact a medieval game, we can speculate that the text certainly served a ludic function not unlike the other nonlinear interactive texts discussed above and contains a number of elements found in other game-texts. The text focuses on the individual rather than the political, aligning more closely with other ludic texts, but does not emphasize any particular theme; instead, the text also maintains a fluidity in both content and purpose since the text could just as easily be used by a reader attempting to find answers to life’s difficult questions. Media and digital humanities scholars have often used premodern texts such as the prophetic Chinese I Ching as examples when explaining concepts in interactive electronic literature. The textual matrix in Le dodechedron de fortune also generates a plurality of possibilities that can be interpreted as ludic or non-ludic depending on the audience. In his discussion of cybertext readers, Aarseth notes that “you are constantly reminded of inaccessible strategies and paths not taken, voices not heard” when reading a non-linear text.113 This is also true of medieval game-texts, but not in a sense that the text formulates a linear narrative path through player choice; rather, the feedback loop in the manuscript or game creates a fictive (‘virtual’) reality that is unique to each game session.                                                           111 Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 516, fol. 118, lines 1-2. The transcription is my own. Brackets represent pictograph of dice corresponding to the number. 112 Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 516, fol. 118, line 6. 113 Aarseth, Cybertext, 3. 48  “Cybertext,” Aarseth writes, “shifts the focus from the traditional threesome of author/sender, text/message, and reader/receiver to the cybernetic intercourse between the various participant(s).”114 These game-texts appear at first to be akin to the “choose-your-own-adventure” interactive fiction popularized in the 1980s, but they do not include the same assumptions that characterize the modern interactive fiction genre (e.g., partial knowledge and inputs). In his analysis of electronic interactive fiction, Nick Montfort, for instance, notes how the genre requires an “explicit challenge and a verbal literary work”—elements that are not always present in medieval game-texts.115 I highlight the concepts developed in interactive fiction criticism here because this genre is often considered a game, though the nature of interactive fiction as game is rarely discussed. Montfort notes how:  The typical interactive fiction game differs from a game like chess not only because the players in chess oppose each other but because in that game total information about the situation is always available to players. Not only is the state of the game (i.e., the situation of the IF world) known only in part in interactive fiction, but the workings of this world (and of the interface to it) are at first also only partly known.”116  If we were to define medieval game-texts under these criteria, however, they would not qualify as interactive fiction or a game, for they are not necessarily competitive (though games like Le Roi Qui Ne Ment can set up players in opposition) and the text is completely known to the players, whether they choose to read it linearly or nonlinearly. In this way, medieval game-texts do not easily fit into discussions of modern interactive fiction, yet they are more than the sum of                                                           114 Aarseth, Cybertext, 22. 115 Nick Montfort, Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2005), 3. 116 Montfort, Twisty Little Passages, 34. 49  their parts: they present an interactive ludic experience in potentia on the page, thereby moving beyond the idea of playful linguistics theorized by Marie-Laure Ryan in Narrative as Virtual Reality.117  In Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction, Montfort notes that the “pleasure involved in interaction is not simply that of reading. Nor is it entirely alien from that of reading.”118 Medieval game-texts reveal a complex network of text, manuscript, poet, and audience that serves to create a ludic textual experience. These games function as both social and literary activities that encourage participation through the manuscript interface and interactive mechanics. While medieval audiences considered them as parlour games to be played in a social gathering, the texts nevertheless struggle to find coherence within modern definitions of game and its modern cousin interactive fiction. Indeed, they straddle the line between game/play, game/literature, and ludic/nonludic depending on a particular audience’s desires, lusory attitude, and cultural circumstances.119 More recent definitions, such as Thomas Malaby’s notion of game as a “semi-bounded and socially legitimate domain of contrived contingency that generates interpretable outcomes” perhaps offers the most relevance to a medieval game-text, but still falls                                                           117 Marie-Laure Ryan designates three ways in which a text can be considered a game: literally (through fixed constraints such as poetic metre), metonymically (offering a problem for the reader to solve like a riddle or include a game mechanism), and metaphorically (participation in a verbal competition that involves skill where the text itself is not the ludic activity). While certain medieval game-texts embody some of these categories (e.g., the Chaunce of the Dyse could be considered metonymic since it uses dice), I would argue that none satisfy any category completely, for the ludic experience of the game-text is made up of a complex network of manuscript, text, poet, and player (e.g., its poetic form or use of dice). Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 179-81. 118 Montfort, Twisty Little Passages, 3. 119 A modern equivalent that troubles definitions of games is the sandbox simulation genre where the goals of the game (whether personal or shared) rarely take priority over the activity of building and creativity (e.g., MineCraft and SimCity). 50  short in capturing the dual-purpose ludic or non-ludic experiences that these texts offered audiences. From this discussion of medieval game-texts, I propose the following features for identifying medieval games: 1. A formal system that can be either open or closed. Given the modularity and plurality of forms medieval literary games enjoyed as they circulated, games could include a plurality of formal rules, regional styles, and so on. Thus, the game still contains certain constraints, but the rules are often not static; rather, they can change based on the audience’s tastes, region, language, and purpose—thereby creating derived types that are nevertheless still comprise an activity that is more structured than general ‘play.’  2. Outcomes are not always known, quantifiable, or disequilibrial (e.g. win/lose structure).  Games do not always include a beginning, middle, and end, but are at the discretion of the players. 3. Games contain negotiable consequences: in Jesper Juul’s words, “games are characterized by the fact that they can be assigned consequences on a per-play basis.”120 Games can thus be played with or without real-life consequences; this fluidity of interpretation reflects medieval ideas of games. 4. Interactive participation and player effort can be competitive or non-competitive. A game-text can elicit participation through literary modes. Contrary to many modern definitions, the concept of player effort in many medieval game-texts does not necessarily need to be challenging. 5. Games emphasize social activities and serve a social function. While modern games often include individuals versus non-human agents (e.g. playing tic-tac-toe against a                                                           120 Juul, Half-Real, 36. 51  computer), medieval literary games were inherently social and could be played either by one gender or in mixed company.  These criteria also align with other tabletop games enjoyed in the Middle Ages. On fol. 157v of London, British Library, MS Royal 13 A XVIII a backgammon board is etched in the space below the end of a travel route listing the towns one passes when travelling from London to Avignon via Amiens and Clermont-Ferrand (Figure 1.2).121                                                            121 For an updated Latin transcription of the text, see Ulrich Schädler, “Das Spiel der Engländer. Backgammonspiele im Ms. Royal 13 A xviii der British Library,” in Sport und Spiel bei den Germanen, ed. Matthias Teichert (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014), 109-62. 52   Figure 1.2: London, British Library, MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 157v   Labeled “Ludi ad tabulas,” the following page includes a list of several games and their variant rules as well as five game problems in Latin that can be played with the board, showing how the game of backgammon could change depending on the region or players. The game board does 53  not signal a particular game, but rather acts as an empty vessel for a number of games, problems, and variants. Furthermore, while the travel route and list of games seem distinct, the game board image acts as a pictorial hinge, linking them together. Inked in the same hand as the travel route, the play spaces of the board follow an alphabetic numeric system for placing pieces (similar to the chess problems discussed in Chapter 2) and may have been used as a practice board in order to learn different games or solve game problems presented in the subsequent pages. More curious is the order of the games and problems, which begin with an English game (“Ludus Anglicorum”) and turn to French Games such as “Fayle” and “Ludus Lombardorum” [The Lombard Game] following the geographic route from London to Southern France outlined in the travel route. While evidence is scant, I posit that the texts enabled the traveller to play the various games and rules from different regions with fellow players of the area―an imaginary space that is also wholly connected to the geographical spaces mapped by the text. The game board also serves a dual purpose and could be used for formal games or problems with differing outcomes and negotiable consequences.   1.3 Conclusion In this chapter I demonstrated how, in the words of Betsy McCormick, “[m]edieval games provide an earlier starting point and foundation for studying how games both affect and reveal culture: while the Middle Ages inherited games such as chess and backgammon from earlier periods, its players molded games into forms that are still recognizable today.”122                                                           122 Betsy McCormick, “Afterword,” in Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature, edited by Serina Patterson (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), 215. 54  Medieval game-texts operate through different means than modern games and other forms of recreation. As texts like The Chaunce of the Dyse and “Ludi ad tabulas” illustrate, medieval games are not simply static, mechanized systems. Modern definitions of games do not sufficiently take into account the cultural production and dissemination of medieval games and their relation to other forms of recreation (i.e. vernacular literature). Game-texts, as I have shown, trouble modern definitions of ‘game’ because they demonstrate how medieval texts and manuscripts could accommodate different types of entertainment and interactivity that we no longer associate with books and reading. Medieval audiences enjoyed a fluidity and openness in their play and design of games—a notion that I explore in further detail through an analysis of medieval game problems in the next chapter—and therefore offer the field of cultural game studies a more comprehensive development of the idea of ‘game.’             55   Chapter 2 — Mind Games: Learning, Skill, and the Pleasures of the Problem Could we look into the head of a chess player, we should see there a whole world of feelings, images, ideas, emotion, and passion. –Alfred Binet123  It is better to follow out a plan consistently even if it isn't the best one than to play without a plan at all. The worst thing is to wander about aimlessly.  –Grandmaster Alexander Kotov124   In Hilary Mantel’s award-winning historical novel Wolf Hall (2009), Thomas Cromwell’s apprentice, Thomas Avery, smuggles in “Luca Pacioli’s book of chess puzzles” to him while he is taken ill. Cromwell has quickly “done all the puzzles, and drawn out some of his own on blank pages at the back. His letters are brought and he reviews the latest round of disasters.”125 At first glance, the book of chess problems is likened to a trivial activity in a list of tasks: a pleasurable amusement to pass the time and relieve boredom while Cromwell, an avid chess player, regains his health. Yet the chess problems, on closer inspection, both become both a motif for the larger legal and political moves Cromwell plays in the court of Henry VIII as the king’s chief minister and act as an activity that keeps his mind sharp in order to perform his job successfully. For                                                           123 Alfred Binet, Psychologie des grands calculateurs et joueurs en echec (Paris: Hachette, 1894), 33. 124 Alexander Kotov, Think Like a Grandmaster, trans. Bernard Cafferty (London: Batsford, 1971), 137. 125 Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (New York: Fourth Estate, 2009), 508. 56  Mantel’s Cromwell, chess puzzles stand in as a method for solving problems when the political landscape of the Tudor court is not readily available.  A subtler detail in the scene is Mantel’s specific attribution of chess problems to Fra Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli (1446/7-1517), an Italian Franciscan friar, mathematician, and prominent figure in the development of early accounting practices. The text Mantel alludes to is a treatise on chess, titled De Ludo Scacchorum [On the Game of Chess], composed around 1500 by Pacioli and re-discovered by book historian Duilio Contin in Count Guglielmo Coronini’s 22,000-volume private library in 2006.126 Dedicated to the chess enthusiast Isabella d’Este, the manuscript includes one hundred chess problems that Franco Rocco speculates may have been designed and drawn by Leonardo da Vinci, Pacioli’s friend, due to their adherence to the Golden Mean (a numeric ratio of approximately 1: 1.618).127 Additionally, the collection includes an amalgamation of problems that use either medieval or modern rules, called “a la rabiosa” [the furious], which refers to the queen’s new, more powerful movement.128 Composed for both edification and entertainment, Pacioli’s (and possibly da Vinci’s) problems provide a rare glimpse into the game’s transition to modern rules, a juxtaposition of rules that begin to appear in other manuscripts across Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.129 In Wolf Hall, Cromwell does not simply solve Pacioli’s problems, but composes his own “on blank pages at the back” of the manuscript, indicating his prowess at chess and, more abstractly, his mastery of                                                           126 Attilio Bartoli Langeli and Enzo Mattesini date the manuscript between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. 127 Franco Rocco, Leonardo and Luca Pacioli, the Evidence: New Rules New Shapes in the Manuscript of Luca Pacioli about Chess (Lexington: CreateSpace, 2013). 128 See Mark Taylor “How Did the Queen Go Mad?” in Chess in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: A Fundamental Thought Paradigm of the Premodern World, ed. Daniel O’Sullivan (Boston: De Gruyter, 2012), 169-84. 129 Murray, A History of Chess, 776-810 (see chap. 1 n. 7). 57  political strategy. Chess here stands in as a metaphor for emerging early modern politics: Cromwell’s compositions are original, contributing to new ideas alongside Pacioli rather than copying older Arabic and Muslim problems. As a man rising in political stature from among the lower ranks of society, Cromwell is, in effect, also creating this new political game as much as he participates in it, pioneering new forms of political maneuverings in early modern England—that is, moves that mark a distinct shift from medieval to early modern practice. Just as the changing rules in chess mirror a continent in transition, Pacioli’s and Cromwell’s chess problems become a space to showcase skill of the game and, for Cromwell, to develop skills for problem-solving that he will later apply to other areas of his life. This wider, more general application of games to non-game-related tasks—a hypothesis that considers whether playing games can not only improve cognitive abilities such as memory and attention, but also enable a transference of expertise to other tasks—is currently a prevailing area of research in the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. “Can human thinking be studied using games?” ponders Pertti Saariluoma in his investigation of the thinking of chess players and the impact of chess on mental faculties.130 Cognitive scientists Mark Blair, Jozef Pisk-Dubienski, and Alexander Lee, et al. at Simon Fraser University have also recently begun a large-scale study investigating how players become experts at a skill, using Blizzard Entertainment’s action-strategy game StarCraft II as a controlled environment. Using a dataset                                                           130 Pertti Saariluoma, Chess Players’ Thinking: A Cognitive Psychological Approach (New York: Routledge, 1995), 3. For study of tasks that chess players of various skill levels perceive, see also William Chase and Herbert Simon, “Perception in Chess,” Cognitive Psychology 4 (1973): 55-81. 58  of 3,305 players, aged 16-44, Blair has found cognitive-motor performance decreases after the age of 24 regardless of skill at the task.131 As Blair, et al. write:  [o]ne possible concern is that our finding of age-related decline in StarCraft 2 could be due to a speed accuracy trade-off: older players become slower in virtue of focusing on accurate movements or strategic planning. It is straightforward to imagine this kind of trade-off in a strategy game like chess, where one could improve one's decisions by spending more time exploring possible moves.132 Players thus reveal how we as humans cultivate learning. In light of the recent rise of so-called ‘brain training’ digital applications, software, and exercises that claim to improve cognition, psychologist Eliot T. Berkman has also conducted a study showing that the brain can improve performance for a given task, but that cognitive improvement does not necessarily transfer to other environments.133 Expertise at chess and StarCraft II, in other words, may not generalize to other problem-solving tasks that require strategic thinking. Conversely, neuroscientist Joaquin Anguera, et al. studying motor control in adults ages 60-85 found that playing video games could enhance multitasking ability and cognitive control, “highlight[ing] the robust plasticity of the prefrontal cognitive control system in the ageing brain.”134 Likewise, the Nintendo DS game Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!, which is based on neurologist Ryuta Kawashima’s Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain and has sold over 33 million copies to                                                           131 Joseph J. Thompson, Mark Blair, and Andrew J. Henrey, “Over the Hill at 24: Persistent Age-Related Cognitive-Motor Decline in Reaction Times in an Ecologically Valid Video Game Task Begins in Early Adulthood,” PLoS ONE 9.4 (2014): n.p., accessed April 18th, 2014, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0094215#pone.0094215-Chase1. 132 Ibid. 133 Eliott T. Berkman, Lauren E. Kahn, and Junaid S. Merchant, “Training-Induced Changes in Inhibitory Control Network Activity,” The Journal of Neuroscience 34.1 (2014): 149-57. 134 J. A. Aguera, et al. “Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults,” Nature: The International Weekly Journal of Science 501.7465 (2013): 97. 59  date, includes puzzles, music, memory recall, Sudoku, and other exercises to improve cognition. Aimed at older players, Brain Age argues that completing these puzzles keeps certain regions of the brain active, thereby developing increased mental capacity. The game also includes charts that track the ‘age’ of your brain in human years based on the player’s performance and devises strategies for cognitive development.135 Game studies scholar Jesper Juul remarks that games are “fundamentally a learning experience” in their ability to provide challenges for players, but, as psychologists and neuroscientists are currently debating, this ability to learn new skills can be potentially applicable both inside and outside the game.136 Was there an association between games, learning, and skill acquisition in the Middle Ages, such as those suggested by Mantel? Were games thought of as useful for gaining knowledge and improving cognitive ability? How were games taught, given their many regional variations, and what role did narrative play in the composition of these problems? This chapter addresses these questions by continuing the discussion of games as fluid textual objects I began in Chapter 1 by examining one form in which knowledge and application of games circulated in manuscripts: problems. Game problems—that is, puzzles composed within a closed, logical system containing a definite solution—have long been enjoyed by players not only as recreational activities, but also as exercises to learn techniques to improve their skill at the game. As compositions found in manuscripts that negotiate the interplay between entertainment (the pleasure of the problem) and education (learning new skills), game problems present model cases                                                           135 While a number of neurologists have argued that Brain Age is effective for combatting dementia Alzheimer’s, others remain skeptical of its ability to improve increase a player’s cognition. 136 Jesper Juul, Half-Real, 5 (see chap. 1 n. 3). 60  for examining how medieval players and readers thought of games as ways in which to gain knowledge, skill, and improve their lives. Consider, for instance, problem seventy-three in Alfonso X’s encyclopedic magnum opus, Libro de los Juegos [The Book of Games] (Figure 2.1):  Figure 2.1: Problem 73, Libros de los juegos  Written around 1282, the text features problems and instructions for a variety of games played in the Spanish courts at the time, including chess, merels, tables, dice, and astronomical games. This particular problem is not of Arabic origin, but rather part of a supplementary collection of fifteen problems composed in thirteenth-century Europe. The other eighty-eight problems are 61  derived from Arabic manuscripts. Problem seventy-three is a chess mate in three puzzle that is solved by checkmating with a black pawn—a move considered highly skilled, for the lowest valued piece wins against the highest valued piece (Figure 2.1).137 While the problem promises to teach the player a coveted chess move, which would certainly showcase a player’s skill and, more importantly, one’s prestige, the problem is but one piece in Alfonso’s larger allegory for leading a balanced and virtuous life.138 Chess problems, which I discuss in detail below, exemplify complex spaces for understanding the game. In Chaucer’s The Book of the Duchess, for instance, the Black Knight blames his defeat at a game of chess against Lady Fortune on his lack of skill, believing more practice with chess problems may have helped thwart the loss of his ferse (queen):  Ful craftier to pley she was Than Athalus, that made the game First of the ches, so was hys name. But God wolde I had oones or twyes Ykoud and knowe the jeupardyes That kowde the Grek Pictagores! I should have pleyd the bet at ches And kept my fers the bet therby.139  Here the Black Knight believes that intellect and knowledge of the game is the chief, and only, factor in determining the outcome. Jenny Adams notes the Black Knight’s use of chess in this instance to gamble for Blanche’s life, and other literary critics have considered the game                                                           137 Solution: 1. Kc3; 2. Ktb2 +; 3. Pd3 m. See Murray, A History of Chess, 570-71 and Sonja Musser Golladay, “Los Libros de Acedrex Dados E Tablas: Historical, Artistic and Metaphysical Dimensions of Alfonso X’s ‘Book of Games,’” PhD Dissertation (University of Arizona, 2007), 307-09. 138 Luis Vázquez de Parga, "Alfonso X el Sabio," in Libros del ajedrex, dados y tablas, eds. Vicent García Editores, Valencia, and Ediciones Poniente (Madrid: Patrimonio Nacional, 1987), 13–28. 139 Geoffrey Chaucer, The Book of the Duchess, The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson, 3rd edn. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), lines 662-69. 62  metaphor as a deliberate rhetorical strategy or “confused” application of grief.140 But the chess game also reveals a dual sense of loss: fortune proves to be a formidable, “[f]ul craftier” opponent who calls checkmate “in the myd poynt of the checker” (660)—often regarded in the Middle Ages as one of the most difficult tactics to checkmate an opponent. As the Black Knight states, “[m]yself I wolde have do the same, / Before God, hadde I ben as she; / She oghte the more excused be.” The chess problems act as a mnemonic device, whether to recall patterns or positions, but Chaucer paints the irony of the game in the problem: despite a foreseeable loss against Lady Fortune, the Black Knight nevertheless characterizes the jeupardyes as the key for securing victory. Game problems in the later Middle Ages—such as the encyclopedic jeu-parti collections composed primarily for table games—gained occasional use as tools for increasing one’s skill at gaming, often for the purpose of winning wagers at court in addition to being pleasurable intellectual exercises. Despite the prevalence of game problem collections across Europe, including seven extant problem collections in later medieval England, scholars have paid little attention to the genre, with the exception of chess historian Harold Murray in his pioneering tour de force, A History of Chess. This chapter provides a fresh investigation of medieval game problems—namely recreational mathematics and chess problems—by addressing how these texts exemplify ideas of skill, mastery, and pleasure within different social contexts, from gentry                                                           140 Jenny Adams, “Pawn Takes Knight’s Queen: Playing with Chess in The Book of the Duchess,” The Chaucer Review 34 (1999): 132-34. Margaret Connolly, “Chaucer and Chess,” The Chaucer Review 29 (1994): 43. Connolly’s argument seems to be based partially on Franklin D. Cooley’s older article, which argues that the line “Thogh ye had lost the ferses twelve” should be omitted from future editions. Franklin D. Cooley, “Two Notes on the Chess Terms in The Book of the Duchess,” Modern Language Notes 63 (1948): 34-35. Guillemette Bolens and Paul B. Taylor, “The Game of Chess in Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess,” The Chaucer Review 32 (1998): 325. 63  households to clerical cloisters and abbeys. Game problems are more than simple exercises: they incorporate varying degrees of storytelling, aesthetics, layout, and compilation strategies in order to create interactive experiences for players, who use problems as supplements to learning the game or—similar to websites like Lumosity—as tools to sharpen mental faculties. As a result, game problems demonstrate how medieval games, like game-texts, could be used for multiple purposes depending on the .needs of their players. The first section examines how mathematical problems, as the first type of problem in the Middle Ages used as tools for learning and skill acquisition, become intertwined with recreation and games. Building on Murray’s initial observations of chess problems, collections, and manuscripts, the second section traces the reception and compilation of chess problem collections in later medieval England. In both instances, game problems, which have their roots in medieval education, intersect with ideas of learning and cognition and display the fluidity and adaptability of medieval games.  2.1 Algebra is for Lovers Problem solving is at the heart of all mathematics in medieval and modern educational curricula;141 it involves both a task and a motivated solver who must act in order to solve a problem. Problems demand active participation, requiring the solver to play along and initiate the experience. In order to be considered a mathematical problem, mathematical concepts and principles must be used in the derivation of an answer. While problems may appear as a word or visual problem, such a composition stands in to illustrate a technique or a mathematical concept.                                                           141 See, for instance, Alan H. Shoenfeld, “Learning to Think Mathematically: Problem Solving, Metacognition, and Sense Making in Mathematics,” in Handbook for research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning, ed. D. Grouws (New York: MacMillan, 1992), 334-70. 64  Recreational mathematics, a branch of mathematics composed for entertainment that often describes unrealistic situations, highlights the enjoyment of problem-solving as a meaningful activity. Puzzles and problems adhere to specific rules and have set goals but they are, for the most part, not inherently competitive in nature. While modern game studies scholars separate games from puzzles, their aspects in the Middle Ages are closely linked and, using the framework I outlined in Chapter 1, could be considered game-like, especially for problems that appear in collections of demandes d’amour or among textual game boards.142 A solver completes the problem by discovering the solution, but does not necessarily lose if he or she cannot solve the puzzle. Game designer Chris Crawford elaborates that puzzles are static and unchanging while games are dynamic, but modern exceptions—such as the card game Solitaire and the adventure video game genre—do exist. For medieval games and game problems, each playthrough can have a number of divergent possibilities, while a modern crosswords or chess puzzles do not often change on the page with each interaction.143 Mathematical problems can range from abstract puzzles to familiar, relatable situations in need of resolution. Due in part to their ability to intermingle algebra and storytelling, recreational problems can also reflect cultural ideas and values in their depictions of objects and issues or in the real-world application of a solver’s approach. The earliest recreational mathematical problems in Europe stemmed from algebraic exercises used to teach principles of algebra and other mathematical concepts and were not                                                           142 For a discussion of the ontological difference between puzzles and games, see Veli-Matti Karhulahti, “Puzzle is not a Game! Basic Structures of Challenge,” in Proceedings of DiGRA 2013: DeFragging Game Studies, DiGRA, accessed August 22, 2013, http://www.digra.org/wp-content/uploads/digital-library/paper_179.pdf.  143 The distinction between games and puzzles is difficult to discern and thoroughly subjective. Crawford, The Art of Computer Game Design, 13 (see chap. 1 n. 28). 65  originally associated with other known games. The oldest known collection of recreational mathematical problems, the Latin treatise Propositiones ad Acuendos Juvenes [Problems to Sharpen the Young], was first composed in Anglo-Saxon England; written by Alcuin of York (c. 740-804), Propositiones exists in twelve extant manuscripts (the earliest manuscript dates from the late ninth century and others extend to the eighteenth century).144 The fifty-three problems combine narrative and logic, wherein the end of the story reveals the solution. Problem eighteen, for instance, presents the reader with one of the first “river-crossing” problems, titled “The Problem of the Wolf, the Goat, and a Bunch of Cabbages”: Homo quidam debebat ultra fluvium transferre lupum et capram et fasciculum cauli, et non potuit aliam navem invenire, nisi quae duos tantum ex ipsis ferre valebat. Pracceptum itaque ei fuerat, ut omnia haec ultra omnino illaesa transferret. Dicat, qui potest, quomodo eos illaesos transferre potuit. Solutio: Simili namque tenore ducerem prius capram et dimitterem foris lupum et caulum. Tum deinde venirem lupumque transferrem, lupoque foras misso rursus capram navi receptam ultra reducerem, capramque foris missa caulum transveherem ultra, atque iterum remigassem, capramque assumptam ultra duxissem. Sicque faciente facta erit remigatio salubris absque voragine lacerationis.145 [A certain man had to take a wolf, a goat, and a bunch of cabbages across a river. The only boat he could find could only take two of them at a time. But he had been ordered to transfer all of these to the other side undamaged. Say, he who is able, in what manner the man was able to cross the river with the goods intact? Solution: I would take the goat and leave the wolf and the cabbage. Then I would return and take the wolf across the river. Having put the wolf on the other side I would take the goat back over. Having left that behind, I would take the cabbage across. I would then row across again, and having picked up the goat take it over once more. Thus, by doing all this rowing the man will become healthy, and without any lacerating catastrophe].                                                           144 Menso, Folkerts, ed., Die älteste mathematische Aufgabensammlung in lateinischer Sprache: Die Alkuin zugeschriebenen: Propositiones ad Acuendos Iuvenes (Wien: Springer, 1978), 13–80, see esp. pp. 15-21 for a list of extant manuscripts that contain Propositiones ad Acuendos Juvenes. See also: John Hadley, “Problems to Sharpen the Young,” The Mathematical Gazette 76 (1992): 102-26. 145 Folkerts, Die älteste mathematische, 54-55. All translations from Latin are my own. 66  While the problems are presented as recreational puzzles, Alcuin’s writing and posing of the problem nevertheless attempts to help improve mental faculties. Alcuin also composed the first problems for children and desired stories, objects, and subjects that would be both familiar and delightful for retaining attention—a methodology that he could have certainly borrowed from texts such as Horace’s influential Ars Poetica (19 BCE).146 As Horace writes in his oft-quoted dictum, “aut prodesse uolunt aut delectare poetae / aut simul et iucunda et idonea dicere vitae” [poets aim either to benefit, or to amuse, or to utter words at once both pleasing and helpful to life].147 For Horace, poets should aspire to teach and delight, rather than, to use St. Paul’s imagery, separate the wheat from the chaff.148 From their inception in medieval culture, mathematical problems, such as those composed by Alcuin, were often infused with a sense of pleasure for the ease of learning. Alcuin’s problems are not only often written as descriptive stories, but the themes he employs also relate to objects and events from everyday life, from ploughing fields to propositions of marriage. The object of the problems was, of course, to teach the reader mathematical principles or, at the very least, provide an interesting puzzle to pass the time, but                                                           146 D.A. Russell, “Ars Poetica,” in Horace, ed. C.D.N. Costa (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973), 113-34 and 137. 147 H. Rushton Fairclough, trans., “The Art of Poetry,” in Horace: Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1926), 478-79. 148 By mingling pragmatism with pleasure with regard to poetry, Horace’s doctrine continued to influence writers and educators well into the Early Modern period. As Robert Matz argues, Horace’s marriage of profit and pleasure in relation to poetry “created a conflict over the value of labor or leisure, and an uncertainty about which activities constituted either” for early modern writers. Defending Literature in Early Modern England: Renaissance Literary Theory in Social Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 1. 67  Alcuin’s emphasis on everyday events also displays a certain practicality to the problems. Problem twenty-one, for instance, asks the solver how many sheep can be put into a field: Est campus, qui habet in longitudine pedes C C et in latitudine pedes C. Volo ibidem mittere oves, sic tamen, ut unaquaeque ovis habeat in longitudine pedes Vet in latitudine pedes IV. Dicat, rogo, qui valet, quot oves ibidem locari possunt. Solutio: Est campus, qui habet in longitudine pedes C C et in latitudine pedes C. Volo ibidem mittere oves, sic tamen, ut unaquaeque ovis habeat in longitudine pedes Vet in latitudine pedes IV. Dicat, rogo, qui valet, quot oves ibidem locari possunt.149 [There is a field with a length of 200 feet and a width of 100 feet. I want to place sheep in it so that each sheep has a space of five feet by four feet. How many sheep can be put in the field? Solution: This field has the length of 200 feet and breadth of 100 feet. The number of fives in 200 is 40; dividing 100 by 4 the fourth part of 100 is 25. Since there are 40 fives and 24 fours, 1000 fills the quota. Therefore, this is the number of sheep that can be placed into the field]. The agricultural economic problem here reveals how, for many of the algebraic problems, solvers could apply them directly to their own real-world concerns, whether for increasing the efficiency of their operations or gaining profit.  Indeed, recreational mathematics problems originated from mercantile trade and many problem collections deal chiefly with finance, exchange, and other issues relevant to the lives of merchants. In his discussion of the rise of algebra in early medieval Italy, Jacques Sesiano notes that “Italy’s merchants, trading intensely throughout the Mediterranean, had a pressing need for mathematics applied to commerce.”150 Typical problems for application included “sales, expenditures, and the hiring of workers.”151 Leonardo of Pisa (famously known as Leonardo                                                           149 Folkerts, Die älteste mathematische Aufgabensammlung, 56-57. 150 Jacques Sesiano, An Introduction to the History of Algebra: Solving Equations from Mesopotamian Times to the Renaissance, trans. Anna Pierrehumbert (Providence, Rhode Island: American Mathematical Society, 2009), 95. 151 Ibid., 97. 68  Fibonacci) learned mathematics for commerce from his father, a merchant who often traveled for work to Bougie (Algeria); he later composed the Liber Abaci (1202), a treatise of fifteen chapters including numerous recreational mathematical problems, many of which were applicable to mercantile economics. The problem Fibonacci is perhaps most known for is a recreational mathematical problem involving the reproduction of rabbits.152 While Fibonacci’s rabbit problem began as a recreational exercise, it nevertheless mirrors real-world phenomena and has more recently found utility in computational and biological algorithms.153 For modern instructional design in education, David Jonassen argues that mathematical problems encountered by students are not engaging due to their abstraction and cannot be extrapolated to real-world concerns.154 Conversely, the educational, economic, and mercantile origins of mathematical exercises and recreational mathematics in the Middle Ages reveal a much more nuanced interplay between problems and life: real-world concerns and familiar objects influence the composition and                                                           152 The “Fibonacci Sequence” asks the solver how many pairs of rabbits will result after one year from a single pair of rabbits shut inside a field using the following conditions: [1] the interval between two generations, the gestation time, and the time to reach adulthood are all one month; [2] rabbits mate immediately after giving birth to offspring; [3] each litter comprises a pair of rabbits (one male, one female); and [4] no rabbit escapes or dies during the year. The solution follows a sequence (Fx = Fx – 1 + Fx – 2). At the end of the nth month, the number of the pairs of rabbits is equal to the number of new pairs of rabbits. For the first month, then, the first pair mates, so there is still only one pair. At the end of the second month, the female rabbits gives birth to a new pair, so there are now two rabbit pairs in the field. At the end of the third month, the first pair produces another set of offspring, so there are now three pairs in the field. At the end of the fourth month, both the first and second pairs produce offspring, so five pairs of rabbits exist in the field. Thus, the number of pairs at the end of the year is 377 (F14). 153 The Fibonacci sequence has, for instance, helped us reveal rhythmic patterns in nature such as the shape of pine cones from conifer trees. See Alfred Brousseau, “Fibonacci Statistics in Conifers,” Fibonacci Quarterly 7.5 (1969): 525-32. 154 David H. Jonassen, “Toward a Design Theory of Problem Solving,” Educational Technology Research and Development 48.4 (2000): 63. 69  narrative descriptions of these puzzles at the same time the mathematical mechanics at play prove useful for real-world issues. Mathematical problems, due to their usefulness for solving everyday concerns and playfulness, also find applicability among women educating their children and governing households. In the Carolingian Liber Manualis (841-43), a handbook written by the Duchess Dhuoda to her son William to help guide his social advancement and moral behavior, she devotes book nine to computations, numerology, and mathematics, drawing her inspiration and sources from computing manuals, and cites Augustine’s Tractates on the Gospel of John on Biblical numerology such as the “double birth” and “double death.”155 Dhuoda was an avid reader and had access to mathematical books. She also likely had a rudimentary understanding of mathematics and computation. As the only book written by a woman to survive the Carolingian period, Liber Manualis thus sheds rare insight into the education and knowledge of noble women. Women were often not only educators, but also household managers in charge of stock, farming, revenue, servants, and entertaining guests.156 Christine de Pizan, in her fifteenth-century conduct manual dedicated to Princess Margaret of Burgundy, Le tresor de la cité des dames de degré en degré [The Treasure of the City of Ladies, also known as The Book of the Three Virtues] (1405), discusses the various household responsibilities and tasks required in order to be                                                           155 Marcelle Thiebaux, Introduction to Liber Manualis: Handbook for her Warrior Son, by Dhuoda (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 10. 156 Joanna H. Drell, “Aristocratic Economies: Women and Family,” in The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe, eds. Judith M. Bennett and Ruth Mazzo Karras (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 327-42. 70  effective managers, which often included the need to be proficient in mathematics.157 In another household book from fourteenth-century Paris written by an aging husband to his teenage wife, Le Menagier de Paris [The Goodman of Paris], section three (now lost in all extant manuscripts) was dedicated to parlour games for indoor entertainment, including dice, chess, riddles, and mathematical games. Christine Rose argues that this conduct book shapes the identity and role of women from a male perspective: “His book of keeping house is also a book about keeping women—in their place.”158 Nevertheless, the household management and games sections indicate how women assumed responsibility for governance and entertainment. If algebraic problems exhibit aspects of pleasure and edification and could be used recreationally, then what is their relation to medieval games?  In two fifteenth-century incunabula printed by Colard Mansion of Bruges, a friend of William Caxton, a collection of recreational mathematical problems is preserved among a larger miscellany of demandes d’amours, titled Les Adevineaux amoureux.159 As James Hassell, Jr. notes, much of the content for Les Adevineaux amoureux was drawn from multiple oral and written sources and compiled in Northern France or Belgium sometime around 1470.160 The demandes d’amours, which are questions and answers of love used in games like Le Roi Qui Ne Ment (discussed in more detail in Chapters 1 and 3), were played among a mixed group of players and served as a social context                                                           157 Christine de Pizan, A Medieval Woman’s Mirror of Honor: The Treasury of the City of Ladies, ed. Madeleine Pelner Cosman, trans. Charity Cannon Willard (Tenafly, NJ: Bard Hill Press, 1989). 158 Christine M. Rose, “What Every Goodwoman Wants: The Parameters of Desire in Le Menagier De Paris / The Goodman of Paris,” Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: International Review of English Studies 38 (2002): 397. 159 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Rés. Ye. 93 and Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Rés. Ye. 186. The accepted dates are c. 1479. See James Woodrow Hassell, Jr. “Introduction,” in Amorous Games: A Critical Edition of Les Adevineaux Amoureux (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974), xvii. 160 Hassell, Amourous Games, xxviii. 71  for intimate conversation. As questions that illuminate cultural values and relatable situations through discussion and role-play, the demandes reflect interests and concerns found within spaces of dalliance, much like the sections reserved for games as one way to amuse guests in Le Menagier de Paris. Question 220 asks, for instance, to calculate the number of dinner guests seated at the table: Compaignons estoient assis au disner; illec survint ung aultre qui leur dist: “Dieu gard la compagnie et feussiés ung cent.” Et l’un des compaignons respondi: “Nous ne sommes point cent, maiz se nous estions encoires autant que nous sommes, et la moittié de autant, et le quart de autant, et toy avecques, adont serions nous cent ne plus ne moins.” Or est a savoir quell nombre ilz seoient au disner.161 [Companions are seated at dinner; they see another that says to them: “God guard these companions and make them one hundred.” And one of the dinner guests responded: “We are not at all a hundred, but we are twice as we seem, half of what we are, and a quarter, and also you included, and we are neither more nor less than this.” How many guests are seated at dinner?] None of the recreational mathematical problems concern matters of love directly, but they do contribute to a culture of polite society and good household management. For the above question, the composer provides the algebraic equation in order to solve the problem:  2x + x/2 + x/4 + 1 = 100, which, when solved, reveals that there are 36 guests present at dinner.162 While the mathematical problems could be considered educational on their own, their insertion in the demandes collection—as problems added without any visual differentiation from other demandes—suggests that their primary purpose in Les Adevineaux amoureux was for leisure rather than learning. Like other demandes in the collection, the algebraic problems could be asked within a social parlour game among house guests, family, or friends. Similarly, other mathematical problems in the collection focus on themes of feasting, wedding gifts, travel, and                                                           161 Ibid., 55. The translation is my own. 162 To solve: 11x + 4 = 400, x = 36. Therefore, there are 36 guests present at the meal. 72  the division of estates. Five problems (214, 215, 220, 223, and 226) among the 40 mathematical demandes explicitly focus on supper, for instance. Earlier demandes in Les Adevineaux amoureux focus on questions of love, and the mathematical problems add a sense of realism to the collection. Question 75, for example, asks what is the best virtue a man or woman in this world could possess other than loyalty (answer: a prudent manner and temperament) and Question 38 asks the player, “Sire, je vous demande quelle chose est amours” [Sir, I ask you what is love?].163 In Les Adevineaux amoureux, the compiler organized the miscellany by grouping different types of questions together, including a series of prose questions of love between a Damoiselle and Chevalier (fols. 1v-13v), riddles (fols. 14r-21r), “venditions en amours,” which are connected to Evangiles des quenouilles (a collection of popular superstitions) (fols. 21v-23v), and mathematical problems (fols. 24r-27v). An early modern manuscript, Chantilly, Musée Condé, MS 654 (1572), instead places the problem collection between questions of love (fols. 45v-58v).  While the problems found in Alcuin’s Propositiones display a variety of fictitious and real-life concerns, the mathematical problems in Les Adevineaux amoureux correspond more directly to issues relating to élite entertainment and household management like those found or alluded to in other domestic advice manuals—showing again how algebraic problems could be used simultaneously as forms of entertainment and as tools applicable to, or at least familiar with, real-world issues. Medievalists do not yet know the origin of the mathematical problem group in the demandes collection, but the problems seem derived, in part, from mercantile exercises similar to those composed by Fibonacci; three problems depict wine merchants (217,                                                           163 Hassell, Amorous Games, 22 and 14. 73  229, and 230), one asks the solver to divide casks of fish among merchants (234), and another deals with the purchase of horses (232). Still others discuss the exchange of animals (219), capital gains (246), and dealings at a tavern (224). The insertion of a recreational mathematical problem group into a collection of demandes therefore does not recycle or appropriate the genre, but rather illustrates how easily the genre could suit a variety of entertainments and social classes. Mathematical exercises were not only used in university curricula and the apprenticeship of merchants, but also enjoyed by noble and gentle men and women as ways in which to pass the time as a social amusement and form of edification, including in good household management, which reflects the values and lifestyles of the gentry and nobility.  Recreational mathematics, the earliest problems to appear in medieval England, thus move between spaces of learning and play and—as we have seen above—was adapted for either educational or leisurely pursuits. While recreational mathematics problems are not games in themselves, compilers could adapt them as questions to be used in courtly games such as those played with the demandes d’amours. The next section of this chapter explores more closely the relationship between skill acquisition, cognition, and storytelling in medieval chess problems—the most popular type of game problem in medieval Europe.  2.2 Sites of Learning  “That due knowledge of any subject not perfectly simple in itself implies exact knowledge of its elements or parts is a truism remarkably appropriate to chess,” begins chessmaster James Mason (1849-1905) in his widely influential treatise The Art of Chess (1895); “now to form just ideas of the parts or elements of which chess consists, it is necessary to 74  consider them each separately at first, and not to confound them all into one view, so that, as it were, we cannot see the wood for the trees.”164 A number of chess masters composed chess books in the nineteenth century, but Mason’s The Art of Chess was one of the first handbooks to provide a general overview and methodology for learning the game. For Mason, learning chess was more than simply memorizing solutions to problems. He devised an approach for teaching chess to beginners that met with lasting appeal and remained popular well into the twentieth century: “having mastered the parts … a correct method will enable us to trace their connections and interactions, until we may eventually perceive them working together according to that controlling principle of unity in diversity which is the last to be discovered in the actual game.”165 Mason breaks down the game into sections comprising problems focusing on a different aspects of the game—endings, combinations, and openings—beginning with the endgame since it has the fewest pieces which makes it easier to learn how pieces move and work together. Mason also gradually increments the quantity and variety of pieces on the board, moving from pawns (the simplest pieces) to the Queen (the most complicated piece), and presents not only the correct sequence of moves for the outcome, but also a reasoning behind the strategy.  Mason’s teaching philosophy in The Art of Chess implies that students must go beyond memory and mimicry in order to learn the game. Chess is such a complex logic system that numerous theories for skill acquisition have been developed over the past two hundred years that combine ideas of learning, cognitive processing, and the mind. Psychologist Alfred Cleveland’s model of skill acquisition in chess similarly includes the player’s development of “positional                                                           164 James Mason, The Art of Chess (New York: Dover, 1958), 3. 165 Ibid., 3. 75  sense,” wherein players gain awareness of the meaning and value of each piece for different situations.166 Still others suggest that learning (and exceling) at chess involves pattern recognition or the use of knowledge of chess to search for alternative situations to given positions on the board.167 Chess is a ‘perfect’ strategy game: all pertinent information is displayed to each player and there are no chance moves.  While chess may at first appear simple in design, with sixty-four chequered squares, thirty-two pieces, two opponents, and one winner, the number of variations—which contains between 1043 – 1050 positions and 10123 possible chess game variations in the modern game—makes this finite game highly complex.168 While the medieval game had a smaller number of variations, the fusion of simplicity and multifariousness still presented a challenge for medieval players who wished to master chess.169 As mentioned above, cognitive psychologists have long studied whether chess, as a task environment, can illustrate human thinking processes and show how related behavioural models are transferable to other situations. In the words of Saariluoma, “when we better understand selective thinking in chess, we can certainly be able to develop theories that describe selective thinking in other task environments as well.”170 Chess, as the “drosophila of cognitive science,” reveals not only how                                                           166 Alfred A. Cleveland, “The Psychology of Chess and of Learning to Play it,” Journal of Psychology 18.3 (1907): 269-308. 167 See Saariluoma, Chess Players’ Thinking, 30-31. 168 In his seminal work on chess, Claude Shannon determined the lower bound for the number of chess positions was estimated to be 1043 (now called the “Shannon Number”) using the formula: 64! / 32!(8)2(2!)6. His conclusions, however, did not omit illegal moves. Building on Shannon’s formula, Victor Allis calculated the upper bound of game-tree complexities to be 1052. Allis also estimated that the possible number of game variations to be 10123, which is more than the number of atoms in the universe. Claude Shannon, “Programming a Computer for Playing Chess,” Philosophical Magazine 41 (1950): 256-75 and Victor Allis, “Searching for Solutions in Games and Artificial Intelligence,” PhD diss (University of Limburg, 1994). 169 Scholars have yet to calculate the number of variations in the various medieval assizes. 170 Saariluoma, Chess Players’ Thinking, 17. 76  we as humans acquire knowledge, but also what differentiates novices from masters in the game and in other areas of expertise.171 Mason’s methodology for teaching the game marks a watershed moment in teaching chess. Before the nineteenth century, teaching chess from manuals often consisted of an explanation of rules, such as Charles Cotton’s widely influential The Compleat Gamester (1674), or a series of problems (or both).172 How did medieval players learn the skill of the game? Were there strategies for teaching chess to novices and, if so, how did they differ from later epistemological approaches? Were medieval chess problems adapted for non-game related tasks? This section examines the strategies and methods by which teachers, composers, and scribe-compilers taught the popular game of chess to players in medieval England, including ecclesiastics, the gentry, and university students, in order to understand how medieval players learned the game and how this education differs from our modern notions of chess and skill acquisition.  While game studies scholars paint an image of the static nature board games before the invention and dissemination of video games, chess in the Middle Ages was in fact a game in transition. Originating in northern India, chess traveled to Spain and Italy sometime before 1000CE and entered a long period of experimentation—in pieces, rules, and material representation—throughout medieval Europe. Our modern rules did not come into play until about 1475, when the Bishop changed from a leaping to a fluid piece (and extended his movement to the edges of the board) and the Queen adopted the powers of the Rook and Bishop,                                                           171 Ibid., 3. 172 Charles Cotton, The Compleat Gamester, ed. Thomas E. Marston (Barre, MA: Imprint Society, 1970), 42-59. 77  thus becoming the most powerful piece in the game.173 We can view this transition toward the modern game through the problem collections that included both medieval and modern rules, much like Pacioli’s problems in De Ludo Scacchorum discussed at the beginning of this chapter. Known as locus partitus (Latin), jeu-parti (Old French), and jupertie (Middle English), the medieval chess problem was originally inherited from earlier Indian and Arabic manuscripts, wherein solutions to chess problems (also called manṣūbāt) were “highly esteemed” among players as intellectual puzzles.174 Pioneering chess historian Harold Murray found over 1600 manṣūbāt, many of which are concerned with techniques for the endgame: “In its origin the manṣūbā was nothing more than the termination of an actual game played over the board which was deemed worthy of preservation by the players or their contemporaries because of the brilliance, the difficulty, or other special feature in play.”175 As chess problems spread outwards in the thirteenth century from Italy and France, the two main centres of problem composition and compilation, the jeupartie and other game problems became more generally known as “a position in a game … in which the chance of winning or losing hang in the balance.”176 Learning chess from manuscripts did not, however, begin with the circulation of problems. The earliest reference to chess in Europe occurs in the “Einsiedeln Verses” in Switzerland (997CE), though the game was likely known before this first recorded allusion.                                                           173 See Taylor, “How Did the Queen Go Mad?,” 169-84 and Marilyn Yalom, Birth of the Chess Queen: A History (New York: HarperCollins, 2014), 191-226 for discussions of the queen piece’s change in movement on the board. 174Murray, A History of Chess, 281. Translated from Arabic, the term manṣūbāt (sing. mansūba) means “arrangement” or “position” and is derived from the passive participle of naṣaba, meaning “to erect,” “set up,” or “arrange.” Ibid., 266. 175 Ibid., 270. 176 Ibid., 566. 78  Historian Richard Eales speculates that the introduction of mathematics to school curricula was accompanied by chess problems, which acted as exercises to teach practical knowledge.177 As Daniel O’Sullivan posits, “the notion of two oppositional forces locked into a battle with well-established rules that call for implementing social strategies might very well have struck the imagination of more than one Scholastic thinker.”178 Chess reached England by the late eleventh century, but it did not gain popularity until the twelfth century. The earliest playing pieces, found in Gloucester and Winchester, date between 1075-1125CE and are sculpted from deer antlers in an abstract Eastern style.179 All known chess pieces excavated in England date from the post-Anglo-Norman conquest and may have followed the reintroduction of tabula (backgammon) in the eleventh century.180  Recorded rules for chess circulated at first in clerical texts, such as the Versis de Scaccis in southern Germany and the Latin ‘Winchester Poem’ in Winchester, England. The earliest references to chess show not merely curiosity, but interest in learning the game. The ‘Winchester Poem,’ found in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Cat. Bibl. Cod. 58, p. 110 (mid-twelfth c.), describes each piece and its corresponding movements on the board. For example, the author                                                           177 Richard Eales, Chess: the History of a Game (New York: Facts on File, 1985), 42-48. See also Murray, A History of Chess, 405. 178 Daniel O’Sullivan, “Introduction: ‘Le beau jeu notable,” in Chess in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: A Fundamental Thought Paradigm of the Premodern World, ed. Daniel O’Sullivan (Boston: De Gruyter, 2012), 3. 179 T. G. Hassall and J. Rhodes, “Excavations at the new Market Hall, Gloucester 1966-7,” in Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucester Archaeological Society 93.15 (1974): 100 and Martin Biddle, Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester (Oxford: Clarendon, 1990), 704. Other chess pieces found in England from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries were created from chalk, whalebone, wood, and, most notably, jet. For a table of pieces and their materials, see Ian D. Riddler, “Anglo-Norman Chess,” in New Approaches to Board Games Research, International Institute for Asian Studies Working Paper 3, ed. Alexander de Voogt (Leiden, 1995), 104. 180Riddler, “Anglo-Norman Chess,” 103. 79  describes the pawn as: “Unusquisque pracedentes assequantur pedites. / Tunc incipient pedestres praelium committere / Neque verti retro queant, sed directe properent / Quod repererint incautum, per transversum feriant.” [Each pawn proceeds on foot. / Then they begin to engage in a battle of infantry / And do not recoil, but directly they can hasten / In order to strike a guard diagonally].181 The rules for chess were often regional (called assizes), and players could change their methods of play on a whim. In England, two assizes called the short assize and the long assize were common forms of play, the latter of which was used in chess problems.182 O’Sullivan argues that when chess was relatively unknown to audiences, the transmitted allegories and rules of chess remained necessarily “textually cumbersome.”183 As chess increased in prominence and popularity, “poets could dispense with tedious explanations and create dynamic allegories capable of conveying meaning more subtly and economically.”184 As clerical texts and curricula relied increasingly on the written word, manuscripts began to act as a method for recording and circulating rules to games. Earlier Anglo-Saxon games, such as Hnefatafl, are mentioned rarely in Anglo-Saxon literature, as their rules were disseminated orally among players. Conversely,                                                           181 Murray, History of Chess, 514-15, lines 15-18. The translation is my own. 182 In medieval chess, the movement of the pieces favours leaping as opposed to gliding, which is found in the modern game. The differences in movement for the long assize are as follows: the King can leap to a third square on his first move as long as he cannot be checked by his opponent. He cannot leap over an enemy’s piece or capture a piece by leaping to it. He cannot leap out of check. After the first move, he can only move one square in any direction. A pawn can move two squares in its initial move and can capture another pawn, called en passant. The Queen and promoted pawn have the same first move. A ‘Bare King’ (the opponent only has the King piece left on the board) is not necessarily considered a win. See Murray, A History of Chess, 464-68. 183 Daniel O’Sullivan, “Changing the Rules in and of Medieval Chess Allegories,” in Chess in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: A Fundamental Thought Paradigm of the Premodern World, ed. Daniel O’Sullivan (Boston: De Gruyter, 2012), 201. 184 Ibid., 201. 80  chess allegories describing basic rules begin to appear across Europe soon after the game’s inception and rise in popularity.185 Chess did not remain an intellectual activity solely of the clergy, however. As the game gained popularity among the nobility and gentry, chess became an essential part of a noble child’s upbringing as it was thought to instill good moral character, tactical skill, and courtly values. Petrus Alfonsi, Henry I’s physician, writes in his twelfth-century treatise Disciplina Clericalis, that the seven knightly skills include, “riding, swimming, archery, boxing, hawking, chess, and verse-writing.”186 In her analysis of Chretien de Troyes’ Perceval and the Didot Perceval, Jenny Adams similarly observes that chess operates as a site for Perceval’s personal and intellectual development and can be linked to the growing emphasis on education in the thirteenth century.187 The knowledge and education of chess among secular players was gained primarily through tutors and by “imitating their elders,” but the recorded rules and chess problems show evidence of their use of books to learn the game as well.188 Such an education is often reflected in medieval romance, where authors describe knights such as Tristram and Lancelot as accomplished chess players. By the sixteenth century, chess and other pastimes had become a well-established form of entertainment in household gardens and chambers across England. In The Boke Named the Governor (1531), Sir Thomas Elyot praises chess as a suitable game for governing members of the nobility and gentry:                                                           185 See especially Murray, A History of Chess, 496-528. 186 Eberhard Hermes, ed., The “Disciplina Clericalis” of Petrus Alfonsi, trans. P. R. Quarrie (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), 115. 187 Jenny Adams, “Medieval Chess, Perceval’s Education, and a Dialectic of Misogyny,” in Chess in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age: A Fundamental Thought Paradigm of the Premodern World, ed. Daniel O’Sullivan (Boston: De Gruyter, 2012), 111-34. 188 Eales, Chess, 53. 81  The chesse, of all games wherin is no bodily exercise, is mooste to be commended; for therin is right subtile engine, wherby the wytte is made more sharpe and remembrance quickened. And it is the more commendable and also commodiouse if the players haue radde the moralization of the chesse, and whan they playe do thinke upon hit; whiche bokes be in englisshe. But they be very scarse, by cause fewe men do seeke in plaies for vertue or wisedome.189   Elyot devoted sections of his educational handbook to pastimes deemed proper for his audience, including not only hunting, dancing, and physical sports, but also board games considered “honest exercises” comprising methods for finding “moche solace, and also study commodiouse; as deuising a bataile, or contention betwene vertue and vice, or other like pleasaunt and honest inuention”—a sentiment occasionally at odds with ecclesiastical writings.190 For Elyot, sanctioned games—chess, tables, and cards—instill desired values, contribute to one’s health, and provide another social outlet as a rest from labour. Chess, in particular, improves the mind and teaches moral behavior. Notably, in the passage quoted above, Elyot also ties the experience of chess to the lessons taught in Jacobus de Cessolis’ thirteenth-century allegory, Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium super ludo scacchorum [Book of the Morals of Men and the Duties of nobles—or the Book of Chess], and is likely referencing Caxton’s translation The Game and Playe of the Chesse.191 While he does not address chess problems directly, Elyot nevertheless associates chess with the development of improved memory and cognitive abilities. Chess, Elyot argues, has the potential to improve one’s character, both mentally and morally. Setting up the board, as it were, was both a recreational and spiritual matter that could incite                                                           189 Sir Thomas Elyot, The Boke Named the Gouernour, ed. Henry Herbert Stephen Croft (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, and Company, 1883), 1:284-85. 190 For a survey of attitudes toward board games by the Church, see Robert Bubczyk, “‘Ludus inhonestus et illicitus?’ Chess, Games, and the Church in Medieval Europe,” in Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature, ed. Serina Patterson (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), 23-43. 191 For a detailed discussion of Cessolis’ Liber, see Chapter 4. 82  either virtue or vice, but either way the ability to play chess was an important skill for the social élite. Historical documents, material artifacts, and literary references may reveal opinions and evidence of gameplay, but they fail to show in detail how the game might have been taught in every case, especially when the specific rules of the game could be changed so easily depending on the audience or locale. Problems recorded on rolls and in manuscripts reveal another way in which players learned chess in the Middle Ages. The Anglo-Norman, Latin, and Middle English chess problem manuscripts show evidence of an increased interest in mastering chess as the manuscripts operate as sites of learning for players. As I will demonstrate, the problems also act as cognitive exercises for learning skills such as problem-solving and logic, and could be adapted to other academic subjects such as astronomy and mathematics. Moreover, chess problems reveal that board games were not considered static objects by medieval composers, compilers, and players, but rather dynamic, malleable textual playspaces. Chess problems were not only valued differently from modern games in terms of their composition, but were also used for different purposes by the players and readers who enjoyed them. Murray remarks that chess problems found in England “are generally of a very elementary and simple type,” dismissing them as “unsophisticate[d]” exercises for a minority audience of chess players.192 Richard Eales similarly downplays the significance of chess problems, stating that problem manuscripts show that “the general standard of play was not high,” since they “rarely showed signs of technical advance on the eastern [Muslim] prototypes.”193 Yet a closer glance at medieval chess problems found in England indicates an                                                           192 Murray, A History of Chess, 607 and 565. 193 Ibid., 69. 83  organizational and compositional strategy for teaching chess to the clergy, English gentry, and students that merits further scrutiny. Seven surviving manuscripts in England, which date from c. 1248 to c. 1470, include a total 183 problems, 106 of which are variant. Problem collections also range from as few as two problems to as many as fifty-five and, and, as a co-occurrence matrix shows (Table 2.1), a number of problems appear in multiple manuscripts, suggesting a shared network of collections or problem collections that stem from completely separate sources.194                                                                     194 The manuscripts are: London, British Library, Cotton, MS Cleopatra B IX; Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.2.45; London, British Library, MS Sloane 3281; London, British Library, King’s Library, MS 13 A.XVIII; London, Royal College of Arms, Roll 20/26; New Haven, Yale University, MS Porter; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 344. 84   MS O.2.45 (c. 1248)  MS Cleopatra B IX (c. 1273) MS Sloane 3281 (early 14th c.) MS Royal 13 A XVIII (14th c.)  Roll 20/26, dorse (14th c.)  MS Porter (c. 1450)  MS Ashmole 344 (c. 1470)  Number of Problems in each Manuscript          2         18        11        55        14        40        41 MS O.2.45 (c. 1248)                    2         0        0         0         1         1 MS Cleopatra B IX (c. 1273)         2                  0         14         7         2         3 MS Sloane 3281 (early 14th c.)          0         0                  0         0         0         0 MS Royal 13 A XVIII (14th c.)        0         14         0                 11        12        16 Roll 20/26, dorse (14th c.)          0          7         0        11                  1         3 MS Porter (c. 1450)          1          2         0        12         1                 28 MS Ashmole 344 (c. 1470)          1         3         0        16         3        28           Table 2.1: Co-Occurrence Matrix of Chess Problem Collections in England, c. 1273-1470      85  Murray speculates that four of the seven extant chess problem collections in England were derived from a single Latin source (MS Cleopatra B IX, MS Royal 13 A XVIII, MS Porter, and MS Ashmole 344),195 but the low survival rate of early manuscripts, the wide variation of problems among these manuscripts, and the variations in ordinatio, even among manuscripts that share a large number of problems, indicate that there were most likely several now-lost problem collections in circulation.196 MS Cleopatra B IX, one of the earliest collection of problems in England, and MS Ashmole 344, the latest problem collection in England, share only three problems between their collections, for instance (see Table 2.1). Chess problems in England may not have been overly popular among players, but their composition as an aesthetic puzzle and cognitive exercise reveals how the mechanics, texts, layout, and ordinatio render them useful as pedagogical tools for learning the art and skill of chess in England—characteristics that also show how medieval composers, compilers, and players thought of their game spaces. This study therefore reconsiders Murray’s initial study of chess problems in order to lend long-overdue attention to the genre and provides a starting point for further research in the history and cultural understanding of chess and other games in the Middle Ages.  2.2.1 Warm Ups and Cool Downs: Early Problems in England Just as the first recorded rules appeared in clerical manuscripts, members of the clergy were also among the first players to copy game problems in England despite the suspicious attitude ecclesiastics held toward chess and other games in the later Middle Ages.197 The first                                                           195 Murray was unaware of Roll 20/26, which also shares a large number of its problems with Murray’s so-called ‘Anglo-Norman’ group. 196 Murray, A History of Chess, 579. 197 See Bubczyk, “Ludus inhonestus et illicitus?,” 23-43.  86  extant problems appear in Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.2.45, a mid thirteenth-century trilingual miscellany penned and compiled at Cerne Abbey in Dorset, England (c. 1248). Two chess problems appear at the top of fol. 2r followed by a fourteen-line Latin poem commonly titled “Carmina Ludi Scachorum” [The Song about How to Play Chess]. Although MS O.2.45 comprises a diverse array of texts, including mathematical puzzles, satires, treatises on mathematics and astronomy, tracts on the computus, prayers, and prose tales, the scribes devised an intentional organizational schema for the first three pages of the manuscript: each leaf contains visual, interactive texts and activities that focus on contemplating the afterlife, enjoying earthly pleasures, and sharpening mental faculties, respectively. These introductory texts may have not only prepared the reader for the other academic and devotional texts in the manuscript—effectively serving as warm-up exercises—but also offered a respite from reading and studying.198 Before I turn to a discussion of the two chess problems, it is necessary to first outline the items on the first two leaves in order to gauge the scribe’s plan for the interactive texts and inclusion of the problems. On fol. 1r, the scribes begin the miscellany with a labyrinth composed of an eleven-ringed circuit through a circle (Figure 2.2).                                                            198 The manuscript’s missing quires, which include texts on medicine and astronomy and a lapidary, now comprise sections of London, British Library, Egerton 843. Montague Rhodes James, The Western Manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge: A Descriptive Catalogue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1902), 3:150-60. 87    Figure 2.2 MS O.2.45, fol. 1r, Labyrinth  Unlike mazes, which consist of a series of forking paths and dead ends, a labyrinth is a unicursal winding path that leads to the centre of the circle—a centre that, as the final destination on the path, sometimes represented heaven or Jerusalem. The four-fold symmetry along the path as the reader’s eye moves from each area of the circle shares its construction with several Roman and Anglo-Saxon labyrinths, and the spread of the eleven-circuit design in France, including its 88  construction on the pavement floor of Chartres Cathedral in 1201, attests to its significance as a religious symbol in the Middle Ages.199  The development and popularity of the medieval labyrinth also reflects the image’s continued representation as a symbol of devotion and faith. A number of labyrinths, such as those found at Amiens and Reims, were designed as paths for personal meditation.200 The image of the labyrinth in this particular manuscript supports this notion as well. A Latin riddle appears above the labyrinth, signaling its potency as an icon of spiritual reflection: “Hon hic introeas nisi que sint hec tria dicas: / Quod facit & num fit . facit & fit . non facit & fit” [Upon entering here, but what are the three things you declare: whether what he does is done, what he does is done, and what he does is not done].201 The riddle provides a guide for the reader with which to use the labyrinth; while the three things stated (“hec tria dicas”) could highlight the reader’s actions in general, the labyrinth may have also highlighted how one’s actions could lead to one of three locations after death: purgatory, heaven, or hell. While the manuscript pages do not convey the same kind of performative, physical experience as walking along actual paved labyrinths (which can measure 10-40 feet in diameter), it still enables the reader’s mind to focus on a specific                                                           199 Between 863 and 871CE Otfrid, a monk from Weissenburg, modified the classical seven-circuit labyrinth pattern by adding four extra circuits, creating the more complex eleven-circuit labyrinth design known as the “medieval labyrinth.” His drawing in the end leaf of his Book of Gospels became a base for the development of a number of later thirteenth and fourteenth century labyrinths found in cathedrals and churches across Europe. See Wolfgang Haubrichs, Ordo als Form, Strkturstudien zur Zahlenkomposition bei Otfrid von Weissenburg und in karolingischer Literatur (Tübingen: M. Niemeyer, 1968), 285-93. 200 David McCullough, The Unending Mystery: A Journey through Labyrinths and Mazes (New York: Random House, 2004), 70-77. For more information about medieval labyrinths and mazes, see also: William Henry Matthews, Mazes and Labyrinths: A General Account of their History and Developments (New York: Longmans, 1922) and DeAnna Dare Evans, “Labyrinths in Medieval Churches: An Investigation of Form and Function,” MA Thesis (University of Arizona, 1992). 201 Cambridge, Trinity College, MS O.2.45, fol 1r. 89  space: the singular path directs the eye (and possibly a finger) and the time passed in this meditative activity furthers the embodied practice.202 The aesthetic, bounded space thus becomes a tool with which to gain spiritual insight and contemplate the path of the soul through life. The second image on the leaf depicts the spiritual journey more explicitly as another visual exercise, portraying a “Spheara Pythagorae” that consists of a map of the heavens and a path from vite (“life”) to mortis (“death”) (Figure 2.3).   Figure 2.3: MS O.2.45, fol. 1r, “Spheara Pythagorae”                                                           202 Interestingly, clinical psychologists and therapists have used medieval labyrinth designs for counseling and therapy sessions. See, for instance, Michelle Bigard, “Walking the Labyrinth: An Innovative Approach to Counseling Center Outreach,” Journal of College Counseling 12.2 (2009): 137-48 and Ingrid D. Bloos and Thomas O’Connor, “Ancient and Medieval Labyrinth and Contemporary Narrative Therapy: How Do They Fit?,” Pastoral Psychology 50 (2002): 219-30. 90   The labyrinth, coupled with the “Spheara Pythagorae,” thus provides a physical space for such meditation on the afterlife. While they differ from the chess problems, the riddle, labyrinth, and “Spheara Pythagorae” nevertheless underscore a different kind of problem: salvation after death. The problems are “solved” by leading a pure Christian life. The images are therefore intended to provide a site for exploring matters of the soul that can then be plumbed further by engaging with the other spiritual texts in the manuscript. The next leaf, fol. 1v, turns to another matter entirely: that of the leisurely board game (Figure 2.4):   Figure 2.4: MS O.2.45, fol.1v, Game boards         91  That these images appear alongside a labyrinth and “Spheara Pythagorae” reveals a close relationship between mind and soul: the first images provide spiritual nourishment while the later problems provide intellectual and pleasurable stimulation. Clergymen often criticized board games as activities that encouraged idleness, addiction, gambling, and other sins, but there is no indication in MS O.2.45 that the scribes or compilers exhibited such criticism. In fact, despite bans from the Church, board games continued to be played in abbeys and monasteries throughout the Middle Ages.203 With no instructions or text to accompany the three game boards in MS O.2.45, the page may have been a model for the creation of game boards or intended as a portable collection of games that would have already been familiar to the players (or, at least, the owner of the manuscript). The games could be played by a reader and another player, much like the game boards and interactive game-texts discussed in Chapters 1 and 3. The game facing the top right of the page is merels (from the Latin merellus [game piece]), which is closely related to the game Tic-Tac-Toe (also called Noughts and Crosses) and maintained widespread popularity across medieval Europe as a game for the social élite.204 Together with chess and tables, merels formed the triumvirate of the most well-known and played board games in medieval Europe. Game historian David Parlett notes that “[i]t was the Norman French version of this name [Marelle] that accompanied the larger varieties of the game reaching England in the wake of                                                           203 Bubczyk, “Ludus inhonestus et illicitus?,” 23-43. 204 The aim of the game is to arrange three or more pieces in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line on a board and capture the opponent’s pieces. In the first phase, each player takes turns placing pieces on the board, and after the pieces have been placed players move pieces onto unoccupied spaces. After each successful line, he or she can capture an enemy’s piece. A player wins if he or she leaves the opponent with no moves or the opponent only has two pieces left. Alfonso X also includes a variant of the game using three cubic dice in Libros de los juegos. A die cast during the first phase of the game with throws of 6, 5, 4; 6, 3, 3; 5, 2, 2; or 4, 1, 1 could break an enemy line and capture a piece. If a line was formed with the charging piece, the opponent would lose two pieces from the board. After all pieces have been placed on the board, the game continues without the use of dice. 92  William the Conqueror,” yet all forms of the game enjoyed popularity in medieval England.205 The game board in MS O.2.45 depicts the earlier variant of Nine Men’s Morris in England, with a triple mill of twenty-four points without any diagonal lines.206 Each player begins with nine pieces in this case and can only create vertical or horizontal lines. While the merels board in MS O.2.45 is a unique textual witness, investigations at ecclesiastical sites in England reveal that others enjoyed the game: various merels boards have been found carved into cloister seats at the cathedrals of Norwich, Canterbury, Gloucester, Chester, Durham, Chichester, Lincoln, Salisbury, and Westminster Abbey, which suggest possibly play by builders or even the clergy.207 The game board on the bottom right of the page is alquerque, a positional strategy game and antecedent of English draughts. Players begin by placing twelve pieces onto the two rows closest to them and the two rightmost spaces in the centre of the board. The scribe clarifies this positioning by using green and red ink on each side of the board, though the four pieces placed in the centre row are reversed (see Figure 2.4). In this game, which was classified as a “war game” by Harold Murray, the player’s piece can jump over an opponent’s piece to capture it, and multiple captures are allowed by jumping over successive pieces.208 Unlike merels, alquerque                                                           205 Parlett, The Oxford History of Board-Games, 109 (see chap. 1 n. 16). 206 See: Murray, A History of Board-Games, 37-45 (see chap. 1 n. 16). Other popular variants of the game included Three Men’s Morris, Six Men’s Morris, and Twelve Men’s Morris. 207 Bell, Board and Table Games, 92 (see chap. 1 n. 16). 208 Players must capture a piece if it is possible to do so, or else his or her gaming piece is removed from the board. A player wins the game by capturing all of the opponent’s pieces or the other player cannot move. Murray speculates that the Moors introduced the game to Spain. Murray, A History of Board-Games, 65-66. See also Parlett, The Oxford History of Board-Games, 243-44 and Bell, Board and Table Games, 47-48. 93  was not widely played in Europe,209 though a game board has also been found etched into the cloisters at Norwich Cathedral, indicating that the game was played on occasion in England.210 The vast majority of game board carvings at English monasteries, cathedrals, and abbeys are found in the secular and novice cloisters and quarters, though, as Henry Spence-Jones notes, some of the games may have been etched by builders.211 The last game board on the leftmost side of the page has been much more difficult to identify. In contrast to the two quadrilateral games, this game uses a 2 x 11 squared board with twenty-four points coloured red and green (presumably indicating twelve gaming pieces for each player) placed along the outer edge of the board. The game appears to have started with a red piece moved to the centre point of the third row and a green piece moved to the centre point of the first row (see figure 2.4). Historian Peter Michaelsen conjectures that the game was a chase game played with dice, and was possibly an early version of the Danish game daldøs.212 The game board appearing in MS O.2.45 is the only extant example of this game in Europe outside                                                           209 Alfonso X includes alquerque in Libros de los juegos, calling it alquerque de doze, and classifies a variant of the game as Nine Men’s Morris [alquerque de nueve]. Parlett, The Oxford History of Board Games, 243. 210 Murray, A History of Board-Games, 66. 211 Henry Donald Maurice Spence-Jones, The Secrets of a Great Cathedral (London: J. M. Dent, 1914), 137-38.The game of Fox and Geese also sometimes accompanied Merels. In the North Alley at Gloucester Cathedral, for instance, a Nine Men’s Morris board and two variants of Fox and Geese boards are carved into a stone bench. As Henri Jean Louis Joseph Massé observes, the gameboards “are almost exclusively confined to the novices’ alley, the only others now to be seen in the cloister being unfinished ‘Nine men’s morris’ board in the south alley, and one or two crossed squares in the west alley.” The Cathedral Church of Gloucester: A Description of its Fabric and a Brief History of the Episcopal See, 2nd ed. (London: George Bell, 1900), 108. See also: Peter Hampson Ditchfield, The Cathedrals of Great Britain: Their History and Architecture (London: J. M. Dent, 1916), 203 and 351. 212 Peter Michaelsen, “Daldøs: An almost forgotten dice board game,” Board Game Studies 4 (2001): 21-31. 94  Scandinavia, and may have been adapted from Arabic or Norwegian versions of the game.213 Franz Rosenthal notes that a version of daldøs was known in the Near East by 1300CE, but the game depicted in MS O.2.45 places the game in Europe nearly half a century earlier.214 While game boards also appear on benches, steps, and cloisters more frequently than manuscript leaves, the games appearing in MS O.2.45 show evidence of the use of manuscripts for interactive activities beyond reading—another surface for learning and leisure. That they are not accompanied by rules is also telling: while the rules to merels and alquerque were certainly played on these board layouts, there may have been other rules in circulation as well. The textual game boards therefore do not necessarily signal or dictate the rules of the game. While this may be suggest that game boards betray signs of signification, I argue that the boards become an open structure ripe for play depending on the immediate needs of their audiences. The game boards could be played by a small group of clergy playing together huddled around the manuscript, or perhaps by two monks who wish to use the game as a moral vehicle to reflect on earthly pleasure. Scholars do not have direct access to such experiences, of course, but we can speculate on the ways in which such games may have been used and understood based on their compilation and readership. That the chess problems and rules appear together on the page opposite the game boards indicate a clear proximal relationship to leisurely play. The inclusion of the poem of chess rules, which appears in four other extant manuscripts including MS Cleopatra B IX, suggests that chess was a new, unfamiliar game that readers may not have been as acquainted with as they were with other games in the manuscript. The scribal adaptations in the manuscripts copied in England                                                           213 Ibid., 25-27. 214 Franz Rosenthal. Gambling in Islam (Leiden: Brill, 1974), 44-45. 95  further attest to a clarification of the rules; while variants of the poem found in France and Germany devote one or two lines to the movements of each piece, ending with “Rex loca circa se clipeo defendit et ense” [the King defends the places around him with shield and sword], the two versions in England extend the line in order to explain the conditions for ending the game:  Si scacces regem, regalem perdere sedem Cogitur, et totus sit rex de sede remotus. Dic regi scaccum; si semita non patet illi, Matus erit factus nusquam latuisse coactus. Miles et alphinus, rex, roc, regina, pedinus, Et inter scaccos alphinus inutilis astat. [If the king loses his royal seat  Declined, then the king is completely removed from his throne. Says the king of chess; If the path is not clear to him,  Checkmate will remain hidden by constraints. Knight and Bishop, King, Rook, Queen, and Pawn And even among them the bishop of chess stands helpless]. The goal is to find a way to dethrone the enemy king, a path that is at first “latuisse” [hidden] until pieces are moved and strategies are put into play. While the rules familiarize readers with the game, the omission of a chessboard upon which to play suggests that readers may have had access to a physical board. Furthermore, in addition to teaching chess, the poem may have also been conceived as a supplement for solving the chess problems directly above it on the same page. The two chess problems in MS O.2.45 also appear together as problem 19 and 20 in MS Cleopatra B IX (Figure 2.5); the two problems in MS Cleopatra B IX were also inserted in a 96  different hand and clearly were not part of the sources for the original collection (discussed below).    Figure 2.5: MS O.2.45, fol 2r, chess problems  The fact that scribes copied these two problems as a pair in two thirteenth-century manuscripts with their accompanying Latin titles suggests that the problems may have circulated in other now-lost Latin collections. The first problem in MS O.2.45 (problem 19 in MS Cleopatra B IX) 97  is a chase problem in which a check occurs in all moves (Figure 2.6).215 The Latin title is thus fitting: “Quem sequitur fugiens astanti sit color dem” [What follows is (to remain) standing by fleeing the same colour]. The text below the two problems is faded, but it is the same as the Latin and Anglo-Norman text in MS Cleopatra B IX. This problem asks the solver to “matera en le point ou sun roc esta” [checkmate at the place where the rook is positioned] in fifteen moves.  Figure 2.6: MS O.2.45, fol. 2r, Problem 1                                                           215 Solution: 1 Ktc6 +; 2 Ktd6 +; 3 Pg7 +; 7 Kte7 +; 5 Pg8 = Q; 6 Ktf7 +; 7 Pg4 +; 8 Ktf5 +; 9 Ktg5 +; 10 Rc2 +; 11 Kth3 +; 12 Ktg3 +; 13 Re2 +; 14 Ktf2 +; 15 Rc2 m. Murray notes that the condition mate on c1 truncates the move 5 Rh2 m. Murray, A History of Chess, 588. 98  The second chess problem constitutes one version of the Dilaram problem and differs from problem 20 in MS Cleopatra B IX by appearing sideways and mirrored (Figure 2.7).   Figure 2.7: MS O.2.45, fol. 2r, Problem 2  The Dilaram problem is based on the story of a nobleman with several wives—and, like recreational mathematics problems, shows the close relationship between problems and storytelling. In a chess game, he wagered his favourite wife, whom he called Dilaram [heart’s 99  ease], and was quickly losing the game. When the game arrived at the problem’s positioning, Dilaram saw a way for her husband to win the game.216 While the problem found in MS O.2.45 originates from the Arabic puzzle, it is devoid of the narrative. Instead, a writer inserts a lesson in love, perhaps as an echo of the original tale: “Qui non dat quando amat. Non accipit omne quod optat” [He who does not give when he loves does not receive all that he desires]. Taken together, the two problems in MS O.2.45 provide a brief glimpse into the strategy of chess. Unlike other collections in England, the inclusion of the two problems by the scribes was not to provide an overview for a beginner or showcase a variety of techniques; their utility as a pedagogical tool for teaching chess in this instance is limited. What then is the relation between these two problems? They could have been the only problems on hand, of course, but a Persian manuscript, MS Berlin Orient. 40 124, also pairs them on two loose leaves inserted into the manuscript. This instance, coupled with the pairing of the problems in MS Cleopatra B IX, suggests that these two problems ostensibly circulated together outside large problem collections.217 If, as Martha Rust notes, books are “auxiliary of the reader’s imagination,” then the images and texts among the first few leaves of MS O.2.45 offer a sensual experience rooted in meditation and thought.218 In this instance, Stephen Nichols and Siegfried Wenzel’s term “materialist philology” proves useful, for it calls attention to the locality and agency afforded manuscripts: “far from being a transparent or neutral vehicle,” they note, “the codex can have a                                                           216 See Murray, A History of Chess, 311-12. Alfonso X also included three variations of the Dilaram problem in Libros de los juegos, see Golladay, “Los Libros de Acedrex Dados E Tablas,” 275-77. 217 See Murray, A History of Chess, 588. 218 Martha Dana Rust, Imaginary Worlds in Medieval Books: Exploring the Manuscript Matrix (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007), 5. 100  typological identity that affects the way we read and understand the texts it represents.”219 For the texts on fols. 1-2r of MS O.2.45, abstract thought is tied to the concrete images on the page. The interplay among the images, as a reader moves from devotional texts and drawings of recreational game boards to game problems that sharpen the mind before moving onto pedagogical texts, therefore elicits a virtual dimension that requires reader interaction in order to render them meaningful.220  That these interactive texts appear at the beginning of the manuscript, possibly for ease of access (though they could have circulated as separate leaves before becoming bounded), suggests that they may have been used as meditative spaces for other academic texts in the miscellany. In his treatise on education, Didascalicon (c. 1128), Hugh of St. Victor notes that “[t]hose who work at learning must be equipped at the same time with aptitude and with memory, for these two are so closely tied together in every study and discipline that if one of them is lacking, the other cannot lead anyone to perfection …. Aptitude gathers wisdom, memory preserves it.”221 His methodology for learning requires that students read and meditate using books, thereby contrasting the “order” of reading linearly to grasp concepts with the freer act of meditation,                                                           219 Stephen G. Nichols and Siegfried Wenzel, Introduction to The Whole Book: Cultural Perspectives on the Medieval Miscellany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996), 1-2. In their seminal work on medieval manuscripts, Mary and Richard Rouse also discuss the importance of approaching the study of manuscript holistically: “[t]o study any one element in isolation—the ruling, or the layout, or the form of the letters and the script, or the words of the text itself—without the others is to cut apart what was both conceived and perceived as a unit. Each of the three, the material base, the script or image, and the text, is a changing or evolving thing, a product of a compromise between traditional norms and the contemporary needs of an audience.” Authentic Witnesses: Approaches to Medieval Texts and Manuscripts (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991), 2. 220 For other examples of this type of textual virtual phenomenon in the Middle Ages, see also, Escourido, “Textual Games and Virtuality,” 187-208 (see chap. 1 n. 96). 221 Hugh of St. Victor, The Didascalicon of Hugh of Saint Victor: A Medieval Guide to the Arts, trans. Jerome Taylor (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961), 3.7. 101  which enables students to think beyond the text.222 For chess problems, the desire to answer the puzzle correctly (as with the recreational mathematical problems) or to increase one’s aptitude at the game takes place within this meditative playspace. The chess problems in MS O.2.45 are presented as, in the words of Hugh of St. Victor, “sustained thought along planned lines,” enabling the player to consider possibilities within known rules and bounded space.223 These spaces for play contrast with the astronomical and mathematical texts that follow, which necessitate a more structured approach to learning. Like other medieval pedagogical games like Rithmomachia and Ludus Astronomorum, these chess problems reflect a meditative epistemology that goes beyond rote learning found in other medieval educational practices. As Mary Carruthers notes, “[m]editatio is only free within bounds, like play having both agreed limits and umpires.”224 The chess problems in MS O.2.45 act as another form of recreation, a method for illustrating the ways in which pieces move, and the collocation of rules and game boards also suggests that their inclusion in the manuscript furnished readers with cognitive exercises that could hone thinking and problem-solving skills—warm-up exercises that increased proficiency with systematic learning, cultivated visualization skills, and increased concentration. The only extant collection of Latin problems in England appears in MS Sloane 3281 (early 14th c.) and was extracted from Nicolas de Nicolai’s larger problem collection Bonus Socius circulating on the Continent (c. 1275).225 Perhaps as a result of their manifestation among                                                           222 Ibid., 3.6-10. 223 Ibid., 3.10 224 Mary Carruthers, The Experience of Beauty in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 20. 225 Bonus Socius was compiled in thirteenth-century Lombardy and gained wide popularity in France and Italy; seven manuscripts of French production have survived and include approximately 194 chess problems, 34-48 tables problems, and 24 merels problems. Murray, A History of Chess, 618-28. See also: Harold J. R. Murray, “110,” in Catalogue of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books from the Libraries of 102  the larger collections, the eleven chess problems in MS Sloane 3281 do not appear in any other extant problem collections circulated in England (see Table 2.1). MS Sloane 3281 is a miscellany containing treatises on mathematics, astronomy, astrology, physiognomy, chiromancy, medicine, and dream theory. The problem collection is copied carelessly on fols. 81r-82v in a fourteenth-century hand; the problems follow a treatise on astrology and precede prognostications about the weather and recipes copied in French by two different hands. The chess problems are arranged in an order that differs from those found in Bonus Socius and in the contemporary collection Civis Bonaniae [Citizen of Bologna] (c. 1300), with no conceivable organizational structure (Table 2.2).  Problem Number in MS Sloane 3281 Problem Number in Bonus Socius Problem Number in Civis Bonaniae 1 12 7 2 16 11 3 1 32 4 54 84 5 45 43 6 108 136 7 118 149 8 29 22 9 9 35 10 18 13 11 62 53  Table 2.2: Problem Correspondence between MS Sloane 3281 and Bonus Socius  The scribe leaves each problem unfinished with only partial information, opting to fill in only one set of colour pieces on an uncoloured chequered board for each puzzle (two problems where                                                           William Morris, Richard Bennett, Bertram Fourth Earl of Ashburnham, and other Sources, ed. J. Piermont Morgan (London: Chiswick, 1906), 170-72. 103  only white pieces were copied and nine problems where only black pieces were copied). The problems in MS Sloane 3281 also lack answers, but some of the problems include special notation indicating moves to reach a solution.226 The letters noting incremental moves for solving the problem demonstrate one way to teach chess to novices. While the problem collection in MS Sloane 3281 is entirely unusable since the problems remain unfinished, it nevertheless shows a set of problems that may have been intended to teach chess to students, novices, or ecclesiastics and, like MS O.2.45, act as a space in which to practice problem-solving and cognitive skills that would have been helpful for reading other texts in the miscellany.  2.2.2 Teaching Chess in Medieval England While composers and compilers borrow a number of chess problems from the earlier jeu-parti collections, their chess problem treatises circulating in England from the late thirteenth to fifteenth centuries demonstrate a deliberate effort to educate readers and players through a combination of composition, text, and problem layout in the manuscripts. As Murray puts it, chess problems changed to reflect “the art of combination by which the player directs the attack of a number of pieces towards a single point.”227 Combinations in medieval chess were much harder to execute than the modern game due to the limited mobility of the pieces; the Rook, for instance, often became the primary piece for checkmates because it was also the strongest piece (and, incidentally, the only gliding piece on the board in a medieval game). As a result, combinations that involve mates by weaker pieces, such as pawns and ferses, immediately reveal                                                           226 For notation in chess, see Murray, A History of Chess, 469. 227 Ibid., 564. 104  a highly skilled player—especially, as we shall see, if they could mate on a specific square or section of the board. The eighteen chess problems found on fols. 4r-8v in MS Cleopatra B IX (c. 1273) demonstrate a discernible shift in the ways in which problem collections were conceived and structured in medieval England.228 Addressing “Seignors” [Lords] who “les gius de eschés amez” [love the games of chess], the compiler explains in his introduction that he created a treatise to help players better their game.229 Working through chess problems, argues the compiler, was the best approach to improve a player’s skill: “Grant veisie i ad, m’est avis, / E mult si purra l’en amender / Ki a tuz les eschés voldra juer” [Great skill will be gained in my opinion / And much of this book is to better oneself / For all the chess you wish to play].230 The compiler promises the player that his book will boost “aseurement” [confidence] and ability to “Juer purra plus afeitement” [play with more courteous decorum]—the positing of reassurances that are also often found in modern how-to handbooks that seek to improve a reader’s character or solve an issue.231 The player can thus gain confidence with the privacy of this treatise by learning the game “Ki ne fust assis a l’eschekier / U l’om peust les traiz juger” [When you are not sitting at the checkerboard / Where someone can judge your moves].232 A modern notion of chess is that it is, in the words of anthropologist and chess enthusiast Robert Desjarlais, a “purely                                                           228 There is a missing bifolium between fols. 5r and 6r, which may have contained problems found in Roll 20/26. See Tony Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez: Two Anglo-Norman Chess Treatises (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1985), 3. 229 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “First Treatise,” lines 1-2. The translations are my own. I have modernized some spelling for clarity. Murray also transcribes selections of the text in A History of Chess, 583. 230 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “First Treatise,” lines 8-10. 231 Ibid., lines 17-18. 232 Ibid., lines 37-38. 105  mental activity, conducted in a bodiless, wordless domain by solitary thinkers who grapple with each other in a space of pure thought.”233 In contrast, medieval chess was not only an intellectual game, but it was also fundamentally a social game, one which contained literal stakes (i.e., gambling) and social stakes (i.e., the need to maintain one’s social reputation). Often played in gardens, in taverns, and at court, chess was a “spectator sport,” with crowds of friends, acquaintances, and others cheering and betting on their favoured player. In New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS G.24, for instance, the illuminator adds an audience in the miniature displaying the chess game between Fesonas and Cassiel the Baudrain in John de Longuyon’s widely popular Middle French romance Le Voeux du Paon (c. 1312).234 Miniatures in Alfonso X’s Libros de los juegos also often include spectators watching a game.235 The players were not only expected to play well, but to save face among their peers; in MS Cleopatra B IX, the compiler offers his player a safer space upon which to practice and improve his skills at the game for this purpose. In this way, chess problems might at first glance seem appear to be a solitary exercise pitting the composer against the solver, but it also serves a more general social function in the attempt to improve the player’s skill at the game as a performance of social rank among peers. The intended patron of this treatise, who requested the problems (according to the compiler) did not desire an assortment of problems in Latin, such as those in MS Sloane 3281,                                                           233 Robert Desjarlais, Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), 8. 234 Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, MS G.24, ff. 1r-141v, 1350. 235 Mary Louis Trivison notes that women in the Libros de los juegos appear primarily as audience members of a game in the second treatise, for instance. “The Medieval Woman: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Leisure,”  Romance Quarterly 33.3 (1986): 377-83. 106  but rather wished to have the problems translated and rendered “en romans” [into the vernacular], presumably for the purpose of reflecting his social status.236 As mentioned earlier, one’s skill at chess was a marker of prestige for the gentry and nobility, and the compiler suggests that the player keep the problems a secret lest they circulate too widely and the positional knowledge become too well known among his friends. The manuscript was penned and compiled in an academic miscellany at Abbotsbury Abbey in Dorset. Entered in a neat hand, the problems appear in their own quire and may have circulated separately before becoming bound in the manuscript. Another scribe later entered two problems on fol. 10r (the same two problems in MS O.2.45) and a four-player chess board was drawn on fol. 9r with illegible text, indicating again a close relationship between learning and leisurely spaces within miscellanies focused primarily on education.237 For the player(s) and compiler of this problem collection, however, chess is an amalgamation of skill and courtesy, of poetry and intellect. Literary critic William Wimsatt also observed the relation between composing problems and poetry, remarking that “the chess problem far outdoes the poem” with regard to structure and complexity.238 While the collection does not show overt organization, it nonetheless includes a gamut of self-mates, exercises, conditional mates, ordinary mates, and end-game problems. As Hunt observes, the compiler expanded and emended the text to his preferences by “criticiz[ing] a number of chess pieces with bishops and abbots and clerks” and “criticiz[ing] lack of generosity in the upper ranks of society.”239 The compiler narrates the first problem through a situational and methodological context in order to establish an interpretive lens for solving the subsequent                                                           236 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “First Treatise,” lines 29-32. 237 See Murray, A History of Chess, 342-43. 238 W. K. Wimsatt, “How to Composes Chess Problems, and Why,” Yale French Studies 41 (1968): 78. 239 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, 2. 107  problems (Figure 2.8), showing again the association between chess problems and storytelling as a key component of the experience.240   Figure 2.8: MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 4r, Problem 1  Unlike other problems in the collection and elsewhere, this problem becomes part of a larger narrative: two lords are learning chess and decide to make a wager to decide the better player                                                           240 Solution: 1 Bc5 +, Kb8; 2 Rg8 +; 3 Rc8 +; 4 Rc6 +; 5 Pd4 +; 6 Re6 +; 7 Re3 +; 8 Qg3 +; 9 Be3 m. 108  among them. One player wagers “sa fille, s'il nel pout mater” [his maiden if his opponent mated him].241 Fearful for the outcome of the game, the maiden finds an educated and skilled knight who reveals that she can be spared in nine moves based on the present state of the board (thus yielding the problem). The compiler then guides the reader through each move by stating which piece should move next until “al neofime vient avant li cornuz” [with the ninth move they come in front of the bishop] and “icist cornu corne la menée” [here sounds the blast of the hooked horn].242 The pun on the term “cornuz” as the last piece to move dovetails with the “corne,” or blast of a hunting horn signaling a kill and, in this case, a win. Like The Book of the Duchess, the compiler pairs two aristocratic activities, chess and hunting—two pursuits that required skill and could be rewarded with high esteem from peers. The first problem acts as a means by which to train the reader in how to read and think through a given problem, and subsequent problems include solutions in prose (without any special notation). In the first problem, the chess board is not just a place to teach the reader about solving problems, but a visualized space to craft a narrative of the events taking place on the board—a literary aspect certainly lacking in teaching modern players how to play chess. Here the pieces represent more than their movements and combinatory play, but can also become motifs for reflecting courtly virtue. The emphasis of the problems in MS Cleopatra B IX lies in finding the combinatorial interplay of the pieces and developing analytical skills for best utilizing specific pieces. Problem 7, for instance, focuses on pawn promotion to a ferse and Problem 11 comprises an exercise focusing on the movement of the bishop (Figure 2.9 and 2.10).                                                             241 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “First Treatise,” line 62. 242 Ibid., lines 111 and 114. 109   Figure 2.9: MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 6r, Problem 7  110   Figure 2.10: MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 7r, Problem 11  Already in MS Cleopatra B IX there is a sense of teaching the player offensive and defensive moves and the movement and values of each piece. The collections in England, Tony Hunt notes, show prominence for problems focusing on single pieces.243 In his study of earlier Arabic and Muslim manṣūbāt, Murray notes that Muslim problems frequently displayed boards in which opponents were of “equal force, and [showed] that the winner’s advantage should be reduced to                                                           243 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, 1. 111  nothing more than the possession of the first move.”244 In Arabic problem collections, conditional problems were non-existent. The conditional problems, such as Problem 14 (Figure 2.11), suggest a need to develop a situational sense within constraints, familiarize oneself with movements and pieces, and highlight highly valuable checkmates (e.g. performing a checkmate in the middle of the board).   Figure 2.11:  MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 7v, Problem 14                                                           244 Murray, A History of Chess, 277. 112  The chess problems in MS Cleopatra B IX were clearly designed as the pedagogical tool of choice for improving a player’s skill at the game, but a number of problems in medieval collections show evidence of showcasing unsound problems (that is, problems with multiple answers or illegal moves). How do we explain medieval problems that use illegal moves and odd movements? How do they help the chess novice improve his or her game? For modern chess problems, composers often arrange the pieces as a snapshot that could hypothetically occur in an actual game. The genre has evolved aesthetically as chess became a more prominent game for leisure and, later, professional competition. Consider, for instance, a chess problem first published in a 1932 issue of Il Problema (Figure 2.12).245                                                           245 J. Manskopf, Il Problema Rivista Mensile Internazionale del Problema di Scacchi (1932); Gameknot, accessed March 20, 2013, https://gameknot.com/comment.pl?t=2&k=10282. 113   Figure 2.12: Problem from Il Problema, 1932  While it is not a difficult puzzle to solve—a mate in two moves using the knight and queen—the beauty of the composition stems from the fact that the solution is legal and works in all iterations. No matter where the king moves, no matter what scenario is played out, he is always mated. To a novice of chess, this puzzle may look overwhelming or inconceivable. Appreciating the aesthetics of the chess problem requires developing an eye for the skill in composition and the craft of playing the game. Modern chess players often evaluate the beauty of chess problems with a specific set of conventional criteria: 114  1. Economical: Modern chess problem stress the importance of economy. There are no extraneous moves or pieces on the board. Everything on the board has a purpose. 2. Legal: Chess composers and players often deem problems that fall within the legal rules as superior because they could potentially be used, inspired, or encountered within a game. They, thus, have a certain practicality beyond the problem itself. 3. Key Move: Typically, the first move must be the only move that will eventually lead to a mate. Therefore, it must be unique in some way. Helpmates are often exempted since, by their nature, they often have more than one method to solving a problem. 4. Thematic: The problem illustrates a particular idea or set of ideas. 5. Puzzle Factor: Occasionally, the solution is an unlikely move, such as sacrificing a powerful piece or promoting a pawn to a knight instead of a queen. Chess problems show the imagination and depth of thought of the composers. For modern players of chess, the beauty of a game problem lies in the harmonious (and sometimes paradoxical) moves of game pieces as a source of art, inspiration, and, of course, learning. “A problem” remarks Wimsatt, “is a limited but very precise drama.”246  If, as chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov states, modern “chess problems are full of paradoxes and original ideas,” then medieval chess problems could be characterized instead as approachable and adaptable.247 The art of chess—that skill in gameplay can be beautiful—also carries significance for medieval readers and players. Modern conventions for determining problem aesthetics were not necessarily the focus of medieval problem composers, however. Problem 15 in MS Cleopatra B IX places the bishop on an illegal square, yet the compiler praises                                                           246 Wimsatt, “How to Compose,” 73. 247 Garry Kasparov, Kasparov Teaches Chess (London: Batsford, 1984), 116. 115  the problem as “bel” [fine] and “avenant” [fitting]; he notes, in particular, that the bishop on the board is a “prodhom” [worthy man] for enacting checkmate by capturing the rook—the most powerful piece in a medieval game (Figure 2.13).248    Figure 2.13: MS Cleopatra B IX, fol. 8r, Problem 15  Problems with illegal moves and pieces are often included in collections in order to focus on learning specific movements and illuminating combinatory patterns. Medieval chess, much like other games in the Middle Ages I have discussed, was fluid and ever-changing; and, as Wimsatt                                                           248 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “First Treatise,” lines 331 and 337. 116  notes, medieval problems displayed fewer instances of realism and game-like positions.249 Although the game was frequently played with particular assizes, the board itself was a place for experimentation and imagination. Games such as English draughts and Courier’s chess emerged from modifying the board sizes and rules of chess, and chess problem composition retained this spirit of play. As problems circulated, compilers sought to improve solutions and amplify problems according to their own interests and expertise. Problem 1 in MS Cleopatra B IX appears in four of the six other chess treatises in England (Figure 2.8), but each compiler modified the problem in order to provide a better experience for his readers. Roll 20/26 and MS Ashmole 344, for instance, both display variations that tighten up the problem, enabling the solver to omit a step in his or her solution. As we have already seen, the aesthetics of chess problem composition in the Middle Ages manifest as scribes and composers weave together illumination, storytelling, and composition. It is within the convergence of these different aspects within the manuscript that signals the intended audience—features that could all be considered skillful artistic endeavors in their own right. For MS Cleopatra B IX, the compiler not only rendered some of the problems into verse, but the illuminator also portrayed ornate chess boards, alternating yellow and clear chequered squares, red and clear, and black and clear on various boards. He also occasionally framed the game boards with red, yellow, brown or black borders, and each problem begins with alternate red and blue majuscules. Other collections rubricate each problem to highlight the problem’s overall theme and narrative. The beauty of chess is thus perpetuated through an “ever-shifting tangle of neural networks, bodies, social relations, perception, memory, times, spectators, [and]                                                           249 Wimsatt, “How to Compose,” 70-72. 117  history,” which are manifested through the transmission, compilation, and scribal practices that render chess problems as beautiful objects of leisure and study.250 For medieval chess problem compilers, this holistic intermingling of different aspects suggests a form of “combinatory play,” in which “two or more ideas, feelings, sensory experiences, images, sounds, words, or objects” are manipulated through conscious and unconscious cognitive processes.251 Play and non-standard thinking are integral to the larger concept of aesthetics—a notion that Mary Carruthers explores in her book The Experience of Beauty in the Middle Ages—and enable the brain to wander through different combinations and patterns. In the early fourteenth-century MS Royal 13 A XVIII another compiler expanded and re-envisioned the problem collection found in MS Cleopatra B IX, including a total of fifty-five illuminated Anglo-Norman chess problems which appear alongside a Latin treatise on tables in the same hand.252 The two game treatises in MS Royal 13 A XVIII were entered as the last two items originally bound in the manuscript. In addition to copying selections of the introduction and verse narratives for the problems, this compiler also re-arranged the problems, indicating that the organization of problems was becoming a key element in teaching the reader the art of playing chess. Like MS Cleopatra B IX, the introduction requests that the reader not disclose any of the chess problems for fear that their publication will lead to wide circulation and thus losing the essence of the strategy. Basing his analysis on the author’s caution, Murray infers that chess problems were not well known, but the number of extant manuscripts in England and elsewhere, coupled with Chaucer’s references, indicates that chess players at least had knowledge of such                                                           250 Desjarlais, Counterplay, 8. 251 Victoria Stevens, “Think without Thinking: The Implications of Combinatory Play and the Creative Process for Neuroaesthetics,” American Journal of Play 7.1 (2014): 99. 252 See Chapter 1 for a discussion of the treatise on the game of tables in MS Royal 13 A XVIII. 118  collections.253 The introduction also reveals that even the ‘beginner medieval guide to chess’ was not only a coveted commodity, but also deemed a strategic gain at one’s game.  The compiler of the problems in MS Royal 13 A XVIII organizes the problems in a manner that sets the flow and sequence for a reader of the gentry to learn moves, strategy, and gameplay—a positional sense to apply to actual games. The problems are simple, much to the chagrin of Murray and Eales, because the point of the problem collection was to introduce strategies for a novice. The first nine problems focus primarily on learning how specific pieces move—namely, the Knight, ferse, and Bishop—and often set within an overarching backdrop of romance. The first problem is essentially a mathematical puzzle, famously called ‘The Knight’s Tour,’ in which a knight must travel around the board in a specific sequence in order to land on each square once.254 As it is the only piece on the board, the player need not concern him or herself with rules or other pieces, and the composer provides one possible answer through a series of digits. The player and reader, possibly a knight himself, focuses on gaining familiarity with not only the ways in which knights can move, but also the board—i.e., he is taking the knight’s tour. The problems arranged here are not a random assortment, but rather arranged to accommodate the reader’s skill level and prestige. Beginning with the ‘Knight’s Tour’ thus provides a visual marker of the game’s adherence to courtly values, possibly a reflection of the reader’s social standing, and a clever way to introduce the chessboard to a new player. The other introductory problems continue in the same fashion, focusing on the moves of the knight: a half-board problem and a knight-only problem follow the ‘Knight’s Tour’ and all three are rubricated as “Guy de Chivaler” [Game of the Knight] (Figure 2.14).                                                            253 Murray, A History of Chess, 582. 254 For more information on the ‘Knight’s Tour’ problem in Muslim and Indian manuscripts, see Murray, A History of Chess, 335-38. 119    Figure 2.14: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 161v, Problem 3  Two problems focusing on the movement of the ferse piece immediately succeed those of the knight. The first, titled “Le Guy de Dames” [The Game of Ladies], contains sixteen ferses that are exempted from capture and must surround the king (who can be placed anywhere on the board at the beginning). The composer deems this problem suitable for the role of women because it is not by a forced mate that the king submits, but by collective pressure from the group: “E a dreyn par force li materés, / Kar un soul poynt ne remeyndra. / U le rey reposa porra” 120  [And at last by force they will mate him. When no place on the board remains, the King can rest].255 Visually, the board resembles a court of ladies separated into four groups as if they were conversing on a chequered floor at court (Figure 2.15).   Figure 2.15: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 161v, Problem 4 In allegories of medieval chess, the ferse piece is often portrayed as a loyal piece that remains by the King’s side, protecting him from danger. Jacobus de Cessolis, for instance, describes the Queen as “sage, chaste et de bien honeste gent nee, curieuse de ses enfants norrir” [docile,                                                           255 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “Second Treatise,” lines 82-84. 121  chaste, descended from an honest family, and focused on the upbringing of her children.”256 Marilyn Yalom points out that Cessolis’ depiction of chess queens as wives and mothers undermines the political power of queens and other women and may “have been due to anxieties about female power in general.”257 In the widely popular fourteenth-century story collection Gesta Romanorum [Deeds of the Romans], the queen is similarly portrayed as a chaste and disciplined woman who “must proceed from the square of one virtue to that of another.”258 Here the virtues of chastity and temperance are downplayed in favour of women’s governance. The compiler ends the problem stating “Ke nul fierce pris i seyt” [That any renowned Queen rules]—a testament to women’s sovereignty in matters of love.259 The problems are represented as courtly scenarios, which echo the first three problems focusing on the knight. By overturning the queen’s typical role and disallowing a traditional mate in this particular problem, the composer presents a more genteel representation of a woman’s power: neither party is mated, but the ladies can win through collective cunning. The second ferse-only problem, a variant of MS Cleopatra B IX Problem 5, adds an extra level of complexity by focusing on pawn promotion for sixteen ferses (Figure 2.16).                                                             256 Jacobus de Cessolis, Le Jeu des Eschaz Moralisé, trans. Jean Ferron (1347), Classiques français du Moyen Age, ed. Alain Collet (Paris: Honoré Champion, 1999), 2.2, lines 31-32. 257 Yalom, Birth of the Chess Queen, 70. 258 Cited in Eberhard Hermes, ed. and trans., The Disciplina Clericalis of Petrus Alfonsi, trans. P.R. Quarrie (Zürich: Artemis Verlags-AG, 1970; London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977), 15. 259 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “Second Treatise,” line 86. 122   Figure 2.16: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 161v, Problem 5  Again, the noble maidens proceed to chase the king around the board in order to become a queen and mate him: “Les damoiseles me unt requis / Ke lour guy ne seyt oblis, / E pur l’amour qe a eus ay / Lour guy en ceste escrit mettray” [The maidens demanded of me / That their game not be forgotten / And for love they say / That their game be included in this treatise].260 The compiler notes that the pawns are all women “de pris” [of high esteem] who are then promoted to ferse and can pursue the King as a potential mate.261 The sexual connotation is not lost on the                                                           260 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “Second Treatise,” lines 87-90. 261 Ibid., line 92. 123  compiler, for their tireless pursuit of the King is to wed and bed him: the first ferse to capture the King “en sa warde” [in his stronghold] receives “E tut solonc sa volenté” [And all therewith that she desires].262 The ferses do not display unfettered freedom, but instead remain bound to their restricted angular movement and courting of the King. This lustfulness complements the earlier problem and similarly contrasts more popular depictions of the ferse as a chaste woman bound by responsibility to her husband and children. In both problems, women emerge as eligible pieces that, while certainly not powerful on their own—since the King can “[l]egerement” [easily] mate them—nevertheless dominate the board and force the King into submission.263 The ferse problems also complement the movements of the knight problems described earlier. The first three chess problems depict the Knight as a man of high social status who navigates the lone chessboard. The second problem showcases the Knight as a conqueror of each other piece on the board. The Knight and ferse are certainly not the simplest pieces on the board to grasp in regards to their individual movement, but their prominent positions in the collection, occurring before problems focusing exclusively on the Bishop, King and Rook, reveal at once an overt scheme for teaching chess and an underlying narrative of characters that reappear and indeed thread throughout many of the later problems. The compiler’s aim is to increase one’s knowledge of chess, and the problems are overwhelmingly in favour of demonstrating piece combinations and movements. Problems 10, 11, and 12 feature three self-mate problems, and then move onto combinations of pieces that were first introduced as single-piece exercises; Problems 13-18, for instance, all showcase conditional mates with a Bare King. Problem 17, for                                                           262 Ibid., lines 111 and 113. 263 Ibid., line 123. 124  example, showcases a “point estaunge” [strange point] problem, wherein the King is mated in the top left-hand corner of the board (Figure 2.17).264   Figure 2.17: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 164r, Problem 17  Black plays first with one rook and two knights and, as the compiler notes, the player can mate the King with either gaming piece in three moves.265 The compiler’s inclusion of this problem                                                           264 Solution: 1 Rc8 +; 2 Ktc6 +; 3 Ktd6 m. 265 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “Second Treatise,” lines 440-48. 125  goes one step further, however. A mate by the Rook is easily attainable, but the compiler wished to reveal to the novice player a mate by the Knight—deemed a more valuable checkmate since knights are weaker pieces. As the compiler notes:  Mes sachez ke en diverse maner Ou le roc vus li poez mater, Mes entre mil à peyne un serra. Ke ou le chivaler le mater savera. E pur ceo ke il ne serreyt en ubliaunce. Le mat escrit ay pur remembraunce.266 [Then know in what diverse fashion Where you can use the Rook to checkmate, But within a thousand difficult [possibilities] there is one [move] Where we know the means by which the Knight can checkmate. And because of this it should not be forgotten. The checkmate is recorded here for recollection].  Again, the compiler hopes to help the player develop a positional sense and determine what moves on the board are deemed superior. Here the beauty of the medieval chess problem lies in part from the use of particular game pieces in challenging, less obvious combinations since these positional strategies are more difficult to achieve. A mate with a Knight rather than a Rook in the “point estraunge” not only exhibits a more astute knowledge of chess, but also portrays the Knight as the victor of the board. A similar trade-off occurs in Problem 24 wherein the Rook and Pawn check the King so that the Knight performs checkmate (Figure 2.18):267                                                            266 Ibid., 449-54. 267 The problem is a mate in III. Solution: 1 Re8 +; 2 Pd7 +; 3 Kte6 m. 126   Figure 2.18: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, fol. 166r, Problem 24  Unlike earlier Anglo-Norman chess collections, the problems in MS Royal 13 A XVIII display a sense of practicality as the compiler moves the reader from basic piece movements into more complex combinatory set-ups. Additionally, the compilation of the chess problems also indicate the importance of storytelling in the edification of the reader. While not all collections include narratives with their problems, the narratives found in the problems I have discussed thus far demonstrate that the board and pieces are not only easily rendered into a narrative for reflecting the social status of the reader, but can also act as mnemonic devices for learning the game. 127  The proximity of the Knight and ferse in the introduction of the collection also prepares the player for recognizing patterns, thereby setting the stage for the pursuits by the pieces in the more challenging problems that follow. Later problems in the manuscript often juxtapose mates by the Knight and ferse. Problems 26 and 27, two conditional problems, include a checkmate from the Knight and ferse, respectively. In other problems, the two pieces take to chasing the King around the board together; Problem 30, titled “La Chase de Ferce et de Chivaler” [The Chase of the Lady and the Knight], provides an example wherein the ferse and Knight cannot mate the King no matter what sequence or variation the player decides to play. This problem is preceded by another chase problem instigated by the Knight (Figure 2.19 and 2.20).   Figure 2.19: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, Problem 29 128   Figure 2.20: MS Royal 13 A XVIII, Problem 30  Chess was often a motif for signaling matters of love in medieval romances and on love tokens such as caskets and mirrors. The most common images depict two lovers playing a game of chess; additionally, one’s skill at the game represented one’s skill at love. For the nobility and gentry, social and courtly games were not simply defined by their mechanics, but rather regarded as cultural artifacts that could bear close relation to other entertainment, including literature. In John Lydgate’s Reson and Sensuallyte (c. 1407), a translation and expansion of Les Échecs Amoureux, the narrator begins a game with the lady in the Garden of Pleasance in an effort to win her love. In this case, the chess game acts as both a performance of courtly behaviour and a 129  metaphor representing the larger figurative ‘game of love.’ As the narrator claims, Venus has sent him to the garden to learn the art of chess so that he may be successful in love: “For he sholde haue exercise / Of this play in al[le] wyse, / That his tyme he nat lese, / Syth he ys her wher he may chese.”268 Each piece also signifies a different desirable attribute, such as “jeunesse” [youth] (A6), “patience” [patience] (F2), and “doux regard” [sweet looks] (C7), which reflects the traits of the player.269  For the chess collection in MS Royal 13 A XVIII, the chessboard and its pieces represent another visual space in which to enact scenes of courtly love, and the compiler builds on this idea through his organization of the problems by type and gaming piece. Problems 43-50 and 52-53 reveal an overwhelming focus on the ferse piece. In Problem 47, titled “Le Guy de Dames et de Damoyceles” [The Game of Ladies and Maidens], the compiler depicts the ferses as noble ladies that “scevent lour mester” [know their craft] by which to “succurrer et counselier” [help and counsel] the two maidens positioned “simple e coye” [innocent and tranquil] on the board.270 The object of this problem is to force mate of the White King using a combination of ferses and pawns. Thus far, the theme of love manifests in the description and combinations of pieces in various problems. For Problem 47, however, the compiler provides a clear association of the problems with Romance, noting how the ladies, in their knowledgeable watch over the maidens, are similar to Branwen, the attendant of Isolde whose mishap with a love potion meant for King Mark of Cornwall caused Isolde and Tristram to fall in love. As the compiler writes, Isolde would have been in a terrible situation “Si ne fust par Brengueyn eydé” [If Branwen did not aid                                                           268 Lydgate, Reson and Sensuallyte, 5941-44 (see chap. 1 n. 68). 269 See Paris, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Fr. 9197, fol. 437r. 270 Hunt, Les Gius Partiz des Eschez, “Second Treatise,” lines 1360-62. 130  her].271 As I discussed in Chapter 1, storytelling is a critical component of medieval game culture along with its material objects, game-texts, and activities. The arrangement and personas in MS Royal 13 A XVIII, which frequently marries the movement of the pieces with ideas of romance and love, also display a penchant for symbolism; they were not simply understood as aesthetic or material objects, but also as spaces designated for cultural expression and representation. The final chess problem collection I want to discuss in this chapter, MS Ashmole 344 (c. 1470) is also a significant problem collection because it contrasts sharply with the other extant collections found in England in terms of its compilation and presentation. The collection appears in a little-known miscellany focused exclusively on game manuals and possibly compiled by John Argentine, the first owner of the manuscript.272 Each of the four game treatises is written in a different fifteenth-century hand in a small quarto, and the progression from chess problems to the complicated mathematical games Rithmomachia and Ludus Astronomorum indicates their significance within an educational and pedagogical context; chess could be considered a pastime for students or mental exercises, while Rithmomachia and Ludus Astronomorum could be used to teach mathematics and Ptolemian astrology.273 Problems recorded in Middle English are exceptionally rare, but there was at least one known collection of chess problems circulating in fifteenth-century England, sixteen of which were translated from the Anglo-Norman chess problems found in MS Royal 13 A XVIII into MS                                                           271 Ibid., line 1375. 272 John Argentine writes his signature on the last page, fol. 83r as ‘Questo libro e mio Zovanno Argentein.’ The other books in his library share the same signature. The collection of books in his library suggest that Argentine was interested in early humanism. See “The Library of John Argentine,” Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 2.3 (1956): 210-212. 273 See Ann E. Moyer, The Philosophers’ Game: Rithmomachia in Medieval and Renaissance Europe (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2001). 131  Ashmole 344. Fourteen of the Middle English problems located in Ashmole 344 also appear in MS Porter, another extant Middle English chess collection (see Table 2.1). According to Murray, both MS Ashmole 344 and MS Porter are written in a Northern dialect, and “there is good reason to believe that an older English text lies behind them.”274 MS Ashmole 344 features one chess problem per page and, in order to draw boards in a uniform manner, the scribe pricked the lines for each board, leaving them unchequered. He used red and black ink with text to demarcate individual pieces (Figure 2.21).   Figure 2.21: MS Ashmole 344, fol. 20v, Problem 36 Image                                                                     274 Murray, A History of Chess, 601. 132  While the forty-one problems in MS Ashmole 344 do seem to belong to Murray’s so-called Anglo-Norman group circulating in England, the compiler, in contrast to that of MS Royal 13 A XVIII, employs a different strategy for increasing the reader’s skill at chess by guiding the player through the problems themselves using special notation, explaining why they are correct, and providing evaluations of the problems with an eye for identifying skillful moves. In Problem 36 (Figure 2.22), for instance, the composer not only describes a sequence of moves to solve the problem, but notes how the problem could be solved in two ways: either in five moves with a pawn or in nine moves with a rook: Thow shalt mate hym with a Pon at v drawghtis yf thow play wel affter thy Roke & if thou knowe itt not thow shal not mate hym at ix draughtis ffor he woll tel his draughtis for cause of thi Roke. Ffirst draw thi roke in to A [F1]. Sithen in to B [B1] than in to C [B2]. Than chek in thy pon warde that is in D [B7] & then chek mated w[ith] thi pon in D [reads as E, C7].”275                                                            275 MS Ashmole 344, fol. 133    Figure 2.22: MS Ashmole 344, fol 20v, Problem 36  While this is a conditional problem, the compiler’s differentiation attempts to show the player how to gain mastery of the game, and then adds, “Ande if ye be a great plaier & can well defende your game ye shall never mate hym at ix draughtis with thy roke for sothe.”276 Skill at the game therefore includes a sense of economy (using five moves instead of nine), and clever use of pieces: a lowly pawn, one of the weakest pieces in the medieval game and often considered a farmer, maiden, or merchant in chess allegories, is the piece to checkmate the king. But the fact that the pawn also trumps the rook in a more economical strategy attests to the skill and cleverness of the player. In order to guide the player, the composer also describes specifically                                                           276 MS Ashmole 344, fol. 20v. See also Murray, A History of Chess, 606. 134  how this superior strategy is accomplished, a deviation from some of the earlier Anglo-Norman group problems, which often offer only occasional or indirect solutions in prose after descriptions of the problems. Here the answer is the focus of the problem, and the compiler displays an effort to differentiate great moves from good moves.  Written in prose devoid of any literary flair, the problems are composed as simple endgames (focusing heavily on wins with a rook), with an emphasis on legal moves—much like the problems we see in chess manuals today. The compiler also includes revised problems, presumably as better combinations were found. In Problem 2, for instance, the compiler alters the board positions in order to shorten the solution by one move. His skill in composition, however, is not without fault. In problem 34, the compiler claims that “this is a faier Juppertie for thow leses thy booth Rokes or thou mate hym the blake king.”277 Yet this is actually an unsound problem and he overlooks: 1 Re7 +; 2 Pf7 m. His attempt at evaluating and highlighting an arguably superior set of moves for the player—that is, losing both rooks and still managing a mate—causes him to perhaps overlook the obvious direct mate in two moves (though that might of course be the point). While his oversight may seem to undermine his knowledge and skill of the game, the emphasis here on the way in which the king is mated may speak to a medieval aesthetic of chess: that economy is not necessarily a beautiful way to win the game.  2.3 Conclusion Given the skill required to master certain games like chess, game problems in the Middle Ages shared a strong affinity with education and learning. Chessmasters used problems to improve their skills, such as Charles d’Orléans’ notes found in his personal copy of Bonus                                                           277 MS Asmole 344, fol. 19v. See also Murray, A History of Chess, 606. 135  Socius, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Latin 10286, but problems could also be employed to sharpen mental faculties for other purposes.278 Problems for tables and merels also often appear alongside chess problems in game manuscripts, and recreational mathematics problems arise as tools for teaching, household management, and entertainment. Games were likely often taught orally, but recording rules and problems in manuscript nevertheless aided in teaching and circulating games (or, using the manuscript itself as a game board).  This chapter demonstrated not only how the variability of compilation, aesthetics, and valuation of medieval game problems in medieval England differ from modern chess problems, but also how game problems reveal a different understanding of games in the Middle Ages. For the compilers, the rules of chess assizes were often only a starting point, as the focus on teaching the reader a technique or concept outweighed the need to maintain a legal, economical board. More importantly, the chess board transforms into a narrativized, privileged space in which to reflect a player’s own social identity and courtly values—an association that reveals the close textual relationships between game playing and storytelling. While medieval authors and transcribers focused their energies, for the most part, on maintaining traditions rather than creating novel problems, the combinatory play in recreational mathematical problems and chess problems—though narrative and adaptation—indicates that gaming elements could intermingle both learning and leisure. Psychologist Victoria Stevens argues that if individuals play in a world of imaginative possibilities—like the combinatorial possibilities prompted by chess problems—“he or she can move beyond the bonds and bounds of reality and transform objects assumed to mean only one thing . . . this creates a path for figuring                                                           278 Notably, the game problems are also paired with Jacobus de Cessoles’ Liber. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Latin 10286. 136  out how to make that new reality actual.”279 The contemplation of recreational problems in the Middle Ages often remains within the bounds of meditatio, but the composition and solving of problems nevertheless promotes non-standard and critical thinking among readers and players.  This association between games and learning—that games (and, more generally, pleasurable activity) can teach or be used for teaching—continues well into the modern period, a topic I explore in more detail in Chapter 4. The examples of mathematical and chess problems I have discussed in this chapter do not by any means represent the entirety of puzzles in the Middle Ages. Play—and indeed gameplay—is not simply a space for mindless fun; as this chapter has shown, game and mathematical problems were also used for learning, meditating, management, promoting thinking, and showcasing a player’s social status. Problems not only helped learners gain skill and mastery of games and concepts, but their compositions also exemplified the complexity and beauty of this neglected genre.                                                                  279 Stevens, “Think without Thinking,” 107. 137  Chapter 3 — Readers and their Games in Medieval England  On December 24, 1459, Norfolk gentrywoman Margaret Paston, faced with governing a house in mourning over the Christmas holidays, had sent a letter to her husband updating him on the festivities:280  Plese it yov to wete that I sent yovr eldest svnne to my Lady Morlee to haue knolage qwat sportys were husyd in here hows in Kyrstmesse next folloyng aftyr the deceysse of my Lord, here husband. And sche seyd that þere were non dysgysynggys nere harpyng nere lvtyng nere syngyn, nere non lowde dysportys, but pleyng at the tabyllys and schesse and cardys, sweche dysportys sche gave here folkys leve to play, and non odyr.281  [Please it you to wait that I sent your eldest son to my Lady Morley to have knowledge of what sports were used in her house in Christmas next following after the decease of my                                                           Sections of this chapter have been published previously as: “Sexy, Naughty, and Lucky in Love: Playing Ragemon le Bon in English Gentry Households,” in Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature, ed. Serina Patterson (New York: Palgrave, 2015), 79-102. I also wish to thank Cynthia Rogers for her helpful comments on earlier drafts of this chapter. 280 Editors John Fenn and James Gairdner attribute the letter to Margery Paston. Gairdner had dated the letter to 1484, arguing that Margaret Paston died that year and her children would have been old enough to run errands. Family genealogy alone would prove this argument unsound, since Margery only had one son and both the 7th Baroness Lady Morley and her husband died in 1476. While another possible date for the letter may be December 24, 1489, in which Margery could have sent her son to visit the 8th Baroness Lady Morley and recent widow, Elizabeth de la Pole (c. 1468 and died between Dec 24th-31st 1489), Norman Davis notes that the index to the manuscript remarks that the epistolary forms are closer to Margaret’s letters and the reference to Caister suggests the year 1459. As Davis notes, “[i]t seems most likely that the letter was written on the eve of the first Christmas after Sir John Fastolf’s death in that year, when John Paston, as one of the executioners and claimant to the property, might well have been in Caister.” Paston Letters and Papers, ed. Norman Davis, Early English Text Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 1:257. 281 Davis, Paston Letters and Papers, 1:257. 138  Lord, her husband; and she said that there were neither guisings, nor harping, nor luting, nor singing, nor any loud disports, but playing at the tables, and chess, and cards. Such disports she gave her folks leave to play and none other.]  Margaret’s concern with good governance provides a rare glimpse into the management, place, and play of games in a fifteenth-century gentry household. For Margaret, table games are an activity that, unlike carols, instruments, and other “lowed dysportys”, offer a quiet and relaxing way to partake in the merriment of the holiday—and an appropriate way to please others. A penchant for chess, tables, cards, and other parlour games was not uncommon in late-medieval aristocratic and gentry circles, especially at Christmas time.282 The gentry, in particular, cultivated a fondness for board games, in part because the pieces could be handcrafted as luxury objects and therefore viewed as “mark[s] of distinction” that could visually display their wealth and status—objects like chess problem discussed in Chapter 2 that were similar to secular love literature and carefully copied in expensive, bespoke manuscripts.283 For both the gentry and the nobility, ownership and skill at table and parlour games contributed to a sense of social superiority.                                                            282 Christmas in the Middle Ages was full of amusements, carols, and game-playing. While games such as cards were often banned among the lower classes, they were allowed to be played at Christmas. See Jean-Michel Mehl, “Games in their Seasons,” in Custom, Culture, and Community in the Later Middle Ages, ed. Thomas Pettittand and Leif Sondergard (Odense: Odense University Press, 1994), 71-83. Cards, which were likely brought over from Northern France by English soldiers in the early fifteenth century, became a notable Christmas activity, especially among the nobility. See Catharine Perry Hargrave, A History of Playing Cards and a Bibliography of Cards and Gaming (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930; New York: Dover, 1966), 169. 283 Nicholas Orme, “Education and Recreation,” in Gentry Culture in Late Medieval England, ed. Raluca Radulescu and Alison Truelove (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005), 76. 139  The presence of games as aristocratic objects of leisure stretches as far back as seventh-century Anglo-Saxon England and typifies élite culture throughout the Middle Ages.284 From as early as the twelfth century, gameplay increasingly becomes a class marker of prestige among the developing gentry, including knights, civil servants, and landowners. Card games had also quickly gained popularity in fifteenth-century England, especially for gambling;285 due to their portability, courtly aesthetics, and use for gambling, card games also garnered favour among the gentry as popular pastimes—in fact, a tapestry displaying “jentilwomen pleying at the cardes” also appears in John Fastolf’s draft indenture of items bequeathed to John Paston on 6 June 1462.286 Margaret’s attention to the proper etiquette regarding pastimes moreover reflects an effort to imitate those above her station; specifically, in the case of the letter above, Alianore Lovell, the 7th Baroness Morley (1442-76). As Deborah Youngs observes, these complex class interactions between the gentry and the nobility were a customary aspect of cultural diffusion in later medieval England.287 Games, for Margaret, were a social responsibility, another aspect that                                                           284 The Lyminge Archaeological Project uncovered a seventh-century Anglo-Saxon gaming piece at a Royal Hall excavation in Lyminge, Kent. Anglo-Saxon gaming pieces are typically found at burial sites, particularly of the male élite; this is the first Anglo-Saxon piece discovered in a hall setting and may have been used in the games tabula (an early form of backgammon) or latrunculi. See Gabor Thomas and Alexandra Knox, “Lyminge Excavations 2013: Interim Report on the University of Reading excavations at Lyminge, Kent,” The Lyminge Archaeological Project, University of Reading, accessed July 17, 2014, http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/archaeology/Lyminge_2013_interim.pdf.  285 See Chapter 4 for an in-depth discussion of late medieval and early modern playing cards. 286 Davis, Paston Letters, 111. Card games first appeared in Europe in the fourteenth century and grew in popularity in the fifteenth century due to their mobility, ease-of-use, and numerous games. Early playing cards are also difficult to track down since their ephemeral, inexpensive condition caused them to deteriorate. For more on the history of cards, see: Catharine Perry Hargrave, A History of Playing Cards; David Parlett, The Oxford Guide to Card Games (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990); and Helen Farley, Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism (London: I.B. Tauris, 2009). 287 Deborah Youngs, “Cultural Networks,” in Gentry Culture in Late Medieval England, ed. Raluca Radulescu and Alison Truelove (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005), 119-33. For earlier 140  reflects good household management.288 Similarly, in The Governor (1531), a treatise dedicated to Henry VIII that intended to educate governing members of noble and gentry bodies, Sir Thomas Elyot categorizes tables and cards as acceptable pastimes for relaxation in aristocratic households.289 Lady Morley’s and Margaret’s management of household revelries thereby denotes a special place games could occupy in the Middle Ages: while some holiday activities are deemed inappropriate, the household could still enjoy Christmas merriments through gameplay.  Margaret’s letter, then, provides us with a snapshot of the types of games that might have been available to members of a gentry household—and who may have played them. Medieval society, on the whole, presents an understudied period to explore the ways in which games, as formal systems, model human experience. Perhaps more than any other material object, parlour games—their rules, their occasional gaming pieces, their meanings—are understood primarily through the ways in which players engage with them. Game scholars Laura Ermi and Frans Mäyrä have gone so far as to assert that interactivity—that is, a reciprocal transfer of information between a player and an object through a player’s active input—is the most important criteria for defining a gaming experience: “the essence of a game is rooted in its interactive nature, and there is no game without the player.”290 This method of conceptualizing one of these games marks a                                                           discussions of emulation among the gentry and aristocratic culture, see also Georges Duby, “The Diffusion of Cultural Patterns in Feudal Society,” Past & Present 39 (1968): 3-10. 288 For another discussion of women, games, and household governance, see Chapter 2. 289 Nicholas Orme has also argued that The Governor focuses on medieval ideals for good governance, see Orme, From Childhood to Chivalry: the Education of the English Kings and Aristocracy, 1066-1530 (London: Methuen, 1984), 224-31. Servants and laborers also had the opportunity to play games during Christmas. 290 Laura Ermi and Frans Mäyrä, “Fundamental components of the gameplay experience: analysing immersion,” in Proceedings of Digra 2005, 2005. 141  divergence from the study of gameplay as aesthetic experience, which focuses on the action of gameplay: “the game is not characterized by the player as subject, but by the play itself.”291 In recent years, this relationship between player-agents and game-structures has sparked new scholarly debates in regards to our understanding of agency in gaming situations, or, in Jesper Juul’s words, the new conflict “between those who study players and those who study games.”292 Not surprisingly, player-centric approaches have focused primarily on digital and contemporary games.293 Jaakko Stenros and Annika Waern argue that game research, which has typically studied games as fixed structures and ignored player agency, should view games as activities and enacted experiences wherein “players are able to perform and discuss how games are enacted.”294 This methodological strategy works well for studying player habits with contemporary and digital games, but, for obvious reasons, runs into issues when dealing with non-digital, and in our case medieval, games and their players.  Games in the Middle Ages, as we have already witnessed, are more akin to an unstable fluidity across Europe by which players formulate new rules, boards, or experiences. Consider, for example, the plentiful regional assizes developed in France, England, and elsewhere for chess, tables, hazard, and other games.295 Chapter 2 discussed the assortment of players who                                                           291 Katja Kwastek, “Opus Ludens—Towards an Aesthetics of Interactivity,” in Interface Cultures: Artistic Aspects of Interaction, ed. Christa Sommerer, Laurent Mignonneau, and Dorothée King (Piskataway, NJ: Transaction, 2008), 156-57. 292 Jesper Juul, “Five Years of the Ludologist,” The Ludologist, accessed August 22, 2013, http://www.jesperjuul.net/ludologist/five-years-of-the-ludologist. 293 For recent explorations of this issue, see: Jaakko Stenros and Annika Waern, “Games as Activity: Correcting the Digital Fallacy,” in Videogame Studies: Concepts, Cultures and Communication, ed. Monica Evans (Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 1-11 and Bryan Behrenshausen, “The Active Audience, Again: Player-Centric Game Studies and the Problem of Binarism,” New Media & Society 15 (2013), 872-89. 294 Stenros and Waern, “Games as Activity,” 15. 295 See Chapter 2 for an extended discussion of regional assizes. 142  owned, and likely enjoyed, chess, arithmetic, and other games by the problems found in their manuscripts. But how can we further discern the types of ludic experiences that medieval audiences desired in their gameplay? Do they differ in gameplay and expectation from our own modern games? What role did games play in shaping cultural identity among the gentry, nobility, and others? While premodern scholars cannot readily observe “actual instances of play,” manuscripts and early books, I argue, can nevertheless stand in to facilitate our understanding of these experiences.296 In the pages that follow, I will shift the discussion from characteristics of medieval games to address in more detail the relationship that medieval readers and players had with games that functioned as literature in manuscripts and household books (or what I call ‘game-texts’). In Chapter 1 I introduced game-texts as a distinct genre rooted in secular love literature and debate that not only encourage active engagement from an audience (as social activities), but also intermingle game mechanics and textuality—a mingling which produces a ‘textual object’ and offers experiences that have been largely ignored by both game scholars and literary critics. This chapter extends this discussion, beginning with an overview of interactivity in medieval manuscripts before examining the circulation of two types of game-texts enjoyed in later medieval England among an assortment of readers, from the nobility to preachers: question-and-answer games that were first introduced in Chapter 1 (the demandes d’amour) and fortune-telling games that use string to reveal fortunes. By exploring the relationship between these game-texts, their manuscripts, and their intended audiences, this chapter charts the transmission and social evolution of these forms of entertainment from France to England in order to more fully understand how they operated as sites of engagement and entertainment for poets, scribes, and players.                                                           296 Stenros and Waern, “Games as Activity,”12. 143  3.1 Readers as Players Margaret’s description of acceptable forms of play bears witness to the transmission and popularity that table games enjoyed in late medieval English gentry culture. But the Pastons were not only players of table games; John II’s inventory of books, recorded between 1475 and 1479, lists William Caxton’s translation A Game and Playe of Chesse (c. 1474) and a variety of debate poetry, including a copy of La Belle Dame Sans Merci, alongside romances, statutes, didactic texts, and other material.297 The Pastons’ interest in games—both literal and allegorical—is not unusual in fifteenth-century gentry households.  For modern game studies scholars, the acts of ‘reading’ and ‘game playing’ connote activities that differ in their degree of agency. In his comparison of games to other media, game designer and creator of the Sims Will Wright distinguishes narrative (as a primarily linear entertainment) from games: “interactive works demand that the player has the ability to act; to affect the situation; to make a difference at every possible turn.”298 Yet the performative space in which recreational literature was enjoyed in the Middle Ages does not often make such a distinction. In fact, oral—rather than visual—delivery was the favoured mode of consumption among readers, and several texts show markers of this interaction between reader and text.299  Readers also engaged in the retelling and transmission of works. As I discussed in Chapter 1, the participatory and performative nature inclusive in the textual transmission of                                                           297 Davis, Paston Letters, 517. 298 Will Wright, forward to Creating Emotion in Games, by David Freeman (Indianapolis: New Riders, 2004), xxxiii. 299 See Joyce Coleman, Public Reading and the Reading Public in Late Medieval England and France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); and M. T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, England 1066-1307, 2nd ed. (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1979; Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003), 267-72. 144  vernacular medieval works shows how recreation was often characterized by spaces for playing within a social, communal environment. We need only to look at fifteenth-century Chaucerian manuscript production to illustrate this tendency toward active participation and adaptation for a specific audience: faced with an assortment of stories for Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and Chaucer’s unfinished framework to unify them—that is, four tales for each pilgrim—the scribe-compiler of Northumberland MS 455 reorganizes the tales in such a way that the pilgrims complete the trip to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, adding in The Canterbury Interlude and The Tale of Beryn as the pivotal turning point that affirms their time in Canterbury. As Andrew Higl notes, Chaucerian readers “added, subtracted, and moved tales to various locations within a textual space as if they were not merely reading about an incomplete game but participating in one.”300 This sentiment can also be applied to the impromptu production of Hunterian Library MS 197 in the years 1475-76: desiring a copy of The Canterbury Tales for their own amusement, Geoffrey Spirleng and his son Thomas copied Chaucer’s popular work by borrowing two exemplar manuscripts from other local households, Cambridge University Library, MS Mm 2.5 and a variant of Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson poet. 223. Daniel Mosser speculates that Geoffrey obtained MS Mm 2.5 from William Boleyn, as it marked with “Wyllyam Boleyn” in the upper right-hand margin of fol. 190r.301 Due to the effort required to capture the entirety of both exemplars, Geoffrey and Thomas’s manuscript results in tales ending up in various                                                           300 Andrew Higl, Playing the Canterbury Tales (Burlington: Ashgate, 2012), 16. 301 Daniel W. Mosser, “Mm: Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Mm.2.5,” in A Digital Catalogue of the Pre-1500 Manuscripts and Incunables of the Canterbury Tales (Birmingham: Scholarly Digital Editions), CD-ROM. 145  positions, with two versions of “The Shipman’s Tale” and “Prioress’ Tale” and the need to add “The Clerk’s Tale” and “Canon Yeoman’s Tale” after the Retraction.302  It is not my intention here to suggest that the participative modes of reading enjoyed in the Middle Ages are themselves games or game-like experiences, though such arguments have been put forth in recent years;303 rather, considering the active ways in which medieval readers engaged with their texts, the difference between the medieval practices of reading and gameplaying—especially for literary games—as recreational activities could be fluid. In The Book of the Duchess, for instance, Chaucer portrays the narrator’s insomnia as the motivating influence behind a desire to pass the time, and references three possible activities available in his chamber to help relieve his sleeplessness “that wil not be mot need be left”: playing chess, playing tables, and reading a story.304 The narrator turns to the Ovidian tale of Ceyx and Alcione, a tale found in a miscellany the narrator has on hand, and it becomes the recreational option of choice. As the narrator states, “For me thoghte it better play / Then playe either at ches or tables” (50-51). For the narrator, ‘play’ suggests a pastime that does not aim to provide a sense of pleasure, but rather relief—a medieval sentiment that Glending Olsen observes in his book Literature as Recreation in the Later Middle Ages.305 Play becomes synonymous with what we today might describe as a form of therapy, and these idle pastimes suddenly encompass a                                                           302 In a rubricated note on fol. 102v, Geoffrey writes, ““Be it remembred that | the tale o the Clerk o Oxenford and the ta// | le o the Chanons yoman folwen immediat// | li in the next leef,” see Mosser, A Digital Catalogue, CD-ROM. 303 Kimberly Bell and Julie Couch have recently argued that the romance genre is infused with game-like devices or unfolds like a game that is played by reading audiences. “Romancing the Game: Genre Play in King Horn and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” (presentation, 50th International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, MI, May 14-17, 2015). 304 Geoffrey Chaucer, The Book of the Duchess, 42.4 305 Olsen, Literature as Recreation, especially chapter 1 on medical justifications for indulging in texts as pleasurable, therapeutic entertainment (see chap. 1 n. 53). 146  deliberate function outside of their usual social or intellectual purposes. While all three play-objects can be represented or allegorized, Ovid’s tale stands in as the closest remedy in the narrator’s search for a cure, or for new knowledge within a textual space. Chess, on the other hand, re-emerges later as a game blending chance and skill between the Black Knight and Lady Fortune—a game that also presupposes a search for a cure (Blanche’s life), and has much more serious consequences. In the beginning of the dream-vision, the narrator interprets chess, tables, and books in a much more fluid manner: as an associative assemblage of activities that can aid personal welfare.  Another example of this interwoven mode of activity occurs in recreational texts that could serve the dual function of narrative and gameplay that I introduced in the first chapter. In The Demaundes off Love (1487), a branch of prose demandes d’amour translated into Middle English and found in London, British Library, MS Additional 60577 (fols. 95r-107v), readers may have delighted in the eighty-eight questions and answers on matters of love, which are presented as a sequential and cohesive dialogue of the courtly game Le Roi Qui Ne Ment [The King Who Cannot Lie]. Willy Louis Braekman speculates that the courtly banter may have “once formed part of a real game,”306 and the simulated conversation could act as a mnemonic reference for aiding or sparking gameplay.307  The compiler divides the questions and answers into two sections: in the first section, the ‘good Madame’ addresses the gentleman with questions; in the second section, the roles are reversed—a common format in Middle French demandes                                                           306 Willy Louis Braekman, “Introduction,” in The ‘Demaundes off Love,’ SCRIPTA: Mediaeval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (Brussels: Omirel, 1982), 14. 307 This question-and-answer conversational format also appears in other demandes collections, in which a ‘sire’ asks a question and a ‘dame’ responds. See Hassell, Amorous Games (see chap. 1 n. 13). 147  collections. Question seventy-nine, for instance, appears as a dialogue between the man and the woman:  [M]adame, wheder hadde ye lever: be rych or ellys bei kunnynge?  Fayr sir, I hade lever be kunnynge than ryche. Madame, be what resone? Fayre sir, if I were storede with kunnynge and ther with vse good condycions I shuld haue good jnoughe.308  The questions manifest as a simulation of the game in play, but players could also use the text as a gaming aid or an answer key, which may provide inspiration for questions or answers. A number of themes flow from one question to another, suggesting a form of ‘playback:’ question forty-six asks the man why a lover feels jealous if he knows “þe wyll and þe value of his loue” and continues past the cross-over into section two (comprising a total of nine questions on jealousy from either side). Section two begins: [N]ow, madame, if hit shulde not displease your ladyship, I wolde require [you] þen, be the virtue of this game, to assoyle me certeyne questyons and demaundis. Fayr syr, seythe on your plesur. Madame, I praye you be the strengthe of the game and of þe reaume, where non shulde sey but trouthe, telle me certeynlye, wheþer women be as jalousie as men? Fayre sir, I wene yea, and lyghtlyer shulde be jelouse than mene, opon that the whiche me semethe, and trouthe hit is, as that I truste.309  The gentleman proceeds to follow the answer by questioning why women possess greater jealousy. The conversational flow and spatial division between the two parties creates a layer of seemingly conflicted relations between the two players and, more abstractly, highlights apparent differences in courtliness between men and women. Yet this conflict may appear illusory; the last question, for instance, brings the issue of gender to the forefront: [N]ow to you, fayre sir, I aske and seye, whether lastethe loue lenger in þe mane or in the woman?                                                           308 Braekman, The ‘Demaundes off Love,’ 69. 309 Braekman, The ‘Demaundes off Love,’ 51. 148  Madame, in þe mane by nature hit shulde laste lenger. But nowe a dayes mene be so diverse and so variable that I suppose the loue lastethe lenger in þe woman. And yet it is a gayne the right of nature.310  Despite the conflict between the gentleman and lady the poet does not announce a clear winner; rather, each party represents one aspect of the same game—the aesthetics of courtly conversation—and bears resemblance to the beau parler discussed by the Dieu d’Amour in Le Roman de la Rose.311 As the gentleman’s answer in the last question makes clear, matters of love vary between gender but are, ultimately, up to the individual. Game-texts in manuscripts, like The Demaundes Off Love, therefore demand an extra level of engagement for reader-players. The dialogue between the sexes in The Demaundes off Love also suggests that the game was still played by—or at least perceived as—a mixed gender group of participants in fifteenth-century England. This built-in incentive to interact with the text in a ludic fashion—to elicit responses in actual gameplay—sets these interactive texts apart from other non-ludic texts, such as prognostications and recipes (though a number of medieval game-texts do draw from these traditions).312 Game-texts thus require a system of interpretation to render them meaningful—a system that contains or describes the interactive participation, social activities, and negotiable consequences of its players—and a feedback loop within the manuscript apparatus. Such texts could, of course, simply be read as texts, but their interactive nature encourages their use as social games.                                                           310 Ibid., 75. 311 Dieu d’Amour teaches the lover of courtly conversation, using Gauvain and Keu as an example and counter-example of proper speech. See Armand Strubel, ed. and trans., Le Roman de la Rose (Paris: Librairie Générale Française, 1984), lines 2085-122. 312 See Chapter 1 for a discussion of this ‘ludic attitude.’ 149  3.2 Questioning Love Le Roi Qui Ne Ment, a courtly game originating in the courtly circles of France that I discussed in Chapter 1, was designed for the noble élite that gained widespread popularity in Northern France during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries—a courtly entertainment played alongside other debating games such as the popular jeux-partis and tensons.313 On the Continent, the appearance of the game in texts and manuscripts reveals the significance of Le Roi Qui Ne Ment and the demandes d’amour as love catechisms for practicing courtly refinement and polite behaviour, as argued by Alexander Klein, and as a ludic space to indulge in physical and emotional intimacy among courtly and aristocratic players. The extant utterances and model dialogues found in the demandes d’amour collections—questions that are often reiterated in textual depictions of Le Roi Qui Ne Ment—provide insight into the particularities of aristocratic courtliness and entertainment. Unlike other pastimes depicted in medieval texts, the demandes often attempt to recreate these ludic spaces. Green also acknowledges this sense of realism, stating that “to read these collections of demandes d’amour is to learn something of the actuality of aristocratic courtship.”314 There is a prevailing assumption by Green and Klein that the appearance of Le Roi Qui Ne Ment and the demandes d’amour in manuscripts immediately suggest a ludic, courtly enterprise for élite players. The lavishly illustrated episode of the game on fols. 120r-121v in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS 264 certainly supports this assumption,                                                           313 See Daniel O’Sullivan’s “Words with Friends, Courtly Edition: the jeux-partis of Thibaut de Champagne,” in Games and Gaming in Medieval Literature, ed. Serina Patterson (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015): 61-78 for an illuminating exploration of Artesian appropriation of Thibaut’s jeux-partis in late thirteenth-century Arras. See also Felberg-Levitt, Les Demandes D’Amours (see chap. 1 n. 13). 314 Green, “Le Roi Qui Ne Ment,” 221. 150  given its reflection of social cohesion and community through amorous conversation among nobles (Figure 3.1).315    Figure 3.1: Miniature of Le Roi Qui Ne Ment, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS 264, fol. 121r                                                           315 Additionally, a chess match between two lovers appears on the bas-de-page of fol.  121v, which not only foreshadows the chess match between Cassiel and Fesonas, but also reinforces the game as a courtly, noble pastime. 151  The miniature not only depicts one way in which the game could be played, but also reflects themes of courtoisie and refinement. In his study of MS Bodley 264, Mark Cruse notes that the “textual descriptions are complemented by the painted architectural frames and backgrounds of the miniatures, which act as extratextual indicators of courtly place and time . . . Through these visual features, Bodley 264 becomes a courtly place in its own right.”316 The representation of the players portray the “formation of community,” which reflects a performative space for courtly conversation.317 Additionally, the jousters painted on the bas-de-page are, according to Cruse, a pictorialization of a textual metaphor: “These [jousting] scenes seem directly inspired by comments about the effects of love made by the two knights [playing the game] in the text on this folio.”318 But what happens when these games were disseminated outside their courtly circles in France? Is there an afterlife to the demandes d’amour? What could such instances tell us about the interpretation and mouvance of medieval games for players?  3.2.1 Appropriating les demandes d’amour in England The multifarious appearances of demandes d’amour collections and Le Roi Qui Ne Ment scenes in at least five manuscripts in England, dating from the early fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries, indicate their appeal to a broader English audience for different purposes.319                                                           316 Mark Cruse, Illuminating the Roman d’Alexandre: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS 264 (Woodbridge, Suffolk: D. S. Brewer, 2011), 20. 317 Ibid., 27. 318 Ibid., 35. 319 London, British Library, MS Additional 60577; London, British Library, MS Additional 46919; London, British Library MS Royal F II; Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Ff 1.6 [The Findern Anthology]; and London, Westminster Abbey MS CA 21. Due to space, I will omit discussion of Westminster Abbey MS CA 21 in this chapter due to length, but the manuscript contains eighty-seven prose and verse demandes d’amour alongside Christine de Pizan’s Epistre au Dieu d’Amours, poems by Charles d’Orléans, lyrics, and other recreational texts. MS CA 21 was copied in France in the early 152  The principal scribe of MS Additional 60577, in which the Demaundes off Love is found, was a monk of St Swithun’s Priory at Winchester.320 Produced after 1477, the manuscript’s early o