NYU’s Raymo, Renowned Medieval Literature Scholar and Collector, 84


New York University Professor Emeritus Robert Raymo, an internationally renowned scholar of medieval English literature, died on July 16 of cancer at New York City s Calvary Hospital.

New York University Professor Emeritus Robert Raymo, an internationally renowned scholar of medieval English literature, died on July 16 of cancer at New York City’s Calvary Hospital.

Raymo’s academic work focused on medieval English literature of the 14th and 15th centuries. He is best known to scholars as a linguist and manuscript editor, most recently of a major 15th century work, The Mirroure of the Worlde, a Middle English translation of a French work, Le miroir du monde. Through his research, Raymo identified the translator of the manuscript from its original French as Stephen Scrope, the stepson of Sir John Fastolf, a soldier in the Hundred Year War whose name was appropriated by Shakespeare for one of his most well-known characters. The enormously complex work, co-edited with Elaine Whitaker, was published by University of Toronto Press in 2003.

Raymo’s most recent scholarship focused on the sources and analogues of the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales, contained in Sources and Analogues of the Canterbury Tales, Vol. II (Boydell & Brewer, 2008), edited by Robert Correale and Mary Hamel. Raymo’s contributions marked the first comprehensive 20th century edition of Chaucer’s sources for the work’s General Prologue. His other publications included Angles of Vision: Readings in Thought and Opinion (Houghton Mifflin, 1962), co-edited with Edward Huberman, and Lillian Herlands Hornstein: Medieval Essays in Her Honor (New York University Press, 1976), co-edited with Jess Bessinger.

For his magisterial chapter, “Middle English Works of Religious and Philosophical Instruction,” published in A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1500, Volume 7 (Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1986), Raymo compiled 1800 annotated bibliographic entries gleaned from his research in approximately 250 western European and American libraries. Earlier, he edited Nigel de Longchamps’ difficult 12th-century Latin poem, Speculum stultorum (‘The mirror of fools’), co-edited with John Mozley (University of California Press, 1960).

A bibliophile and book collector, Raymo specialized in the works of Chaucer and medieval literature. He curated an exhibition of his collection at the Grolier Club, of which he was a member for 35 years, in 2000 to commemorate the 600th anniversary of 500

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