A Companion to Medieval English Literature and Culture c.1350 - c.1500 / Edition 1

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A Companion to Medieval English Literature and Culture, c.1350-c.1500 challenges readers to think beyond a narrowly defined canon and conventional disciplinary boundaries.

A ground-breaking collection of newly-commissioned essays on medieval literature and culture.

  • Encourages students to think beyond a narrowly defined canon and conventional disciplinary boundaries.
  • Reflects the erosion of the traditional, rigid boundary between medieval and early modern literature.
  • Stresses the importance of constructing contexts for reading literature.
  • Explores the extent to which medieval literature is in dialogue with other cultural products, including the literature of other countries, manuscripts and religion.
  • Includes close readings of frequently-studied texts, including texts by Chaucer, Langland, the Gawain poet, and Hoccleve.
  • Confronts some of the controversies that exercise students of medieval literature, such as those connected with literary theory, love, and chivalry and war.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Overall, this book, another one of Peter Brown's Herculean labors, is a true gift to medieval scholarship. A compendium of useful information and bibliographic references, it will be useful to a wide variety of medieval-ists, whether undergraduates, graduates, faculty, or independent scholars, formany years to come." (Modern Philology, 2 November 2011)

on“These thorough, engaging essays decertify many canonical certainties … Highly Recommended.” CHOICE

“Another grand project that combines breadth and depth … A highly eminent collection of thirty-eight contributions ranges over a variety of topics.”
Medium Aevum

"There is plenty here for everybody, and all of it written in a way accessible to the general reader as well as to the student, or fellow specialist."—Reference Reviews

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Peter Brown is Professor of Medieval English Literature at the University of Kent. His book publications include A Companion to Chaucer (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000), Reading Dreams: The Interpretation of Dreams from Chaucer to Shakespeare (1999), Chaucer at Work: The Making of the Canterbury Tales (1994) and, with Andrew Butcher, The Age of Saturn: Literature and History in the Canterbury Tales (1991).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Notes on Contributors x

Acknowledgements xv

Abbreviations xvi

Introduction 1

PART I Overviews 7

1. Critical Approaches 9
David Raybin

2. English Society in the Later Middle Ages: Deference, Ambition and Conflict 25
S. H. Rigby

3. Religious Authority and Dissent 40
Mishtooni Bose

4. City and Country, Wealth and Labour 56
Sarah Rees Jones

5. Women's Voices and Roles 74
Carol M. Meale

PART II The Production and Reception of Texts 91

6. Manuscripts and Readers 93
A. S. G. Edwards

7. From Manuscript to Modern Text 107
Julia Boffey

8. Translation and Society 123
Catherine Batt

PART III Language and Literature 141

9. The Languages of Medieval Britain 143
Laura Wright

10. The Forms of Speech 159
Donka Minkova

11. The Forms of Verse 176
Donka Minkova

PART IV Encounters with Other Cultures 197

12. England and France 199
Ardis Butterfi eld

13. Britain and Italy: Trade, Travel, Translation 215
Nick Havely

14. England's Antiquities: Middle English Literature and the Classical Past 231
Christopher Baswell

15. Jews, Saracens, 'Black Men', Tartars: England in a World of Racial Difference 247
Geraldine Heng

PART V Special Themes 271

16. War and Chivalry 273
Richard W. Kaeuper and Montgomery Bohna

17. Literature and Law 292
Richard Firth Green

18. Images 307
Peter Brown

19. Love 322
Barry Windeatt

PART VI Genres 339

20. Middle English Romance 341
Thomas Hahn and Dana M. Symons

21. Writing Nation: Shaping Identity in Medieval Historical Narratives 358
Raluca L. Radulescu

22. Dream Poems 374
Helen Phillips

23. Lyric 387
Rosemary Greentree

24. Literature of Religious Instruction 406
E. A. Jones

25. Mystical and Devotional Literature 423
Denise N. Baker

26. Accounts of Lives 437
Kathleen Ashley

27. Medieval English Theatre: Codes and Genres 454
Meg Twycross

28. Morality and Interlude Drama 473
Darryll Grantley

PART VII Readings 489

29. York Mystery Plays 491
Pamela King

30. The Book of Margery Kempe 507
Ruth Evans

31. Julian of Norwich 522
Santha Bhattacharji

32. Piers Plowman 537
Stephen Kelly

33. Subjectivity and Ideology in the Canterbury Tales 554
Mark Miller

34. John Gower and John Lydgate: Forms and Norms of Rhetorical Culture 569
J. Allan Mitchell

35. Thomas Hoccleve, La Male Regle 585
Nicholas Perkins

36. Discipline and Relaxation in the Poetry of Robert Henryson 604
R. James Goldstein

37. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 619
Kevin Gustafson

38. Blood and Love in Malory's Morte Darthur 634
Catherine La Farge

Index 649

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