Fictions of Advice: The Literature and Politics of Counsel in Late Medieval England

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Editorial Reviews

Places in historical context a number of the important English literary mirrors for princes: translations from the Latin versions of the Secretum Secretorum, major works by Gower and Hoccleve that draw heavily upon it, and Chaucer's Tale of Melibee. Demonstrates how the traditions were adapted to contemporary political conflicts, and considers the possibility of criticism and ideological resistance to powerful government with camouflaged texts. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812233322
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Series: Middle Ages Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Lexile: 1580L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 The Context for Literature: Public Discourse in the Late Middle Ages 15
England as a Political Nation 16
News: Information Exchange and Political Dialogue 22
Limitations on the King: Deposition and the Memory of Deposition 24
Limitations on Speech in Parliament 26
Limitations on Nonparliamentary Speech 31
The Poets Speak of Silence: The Trope of the Hidden Transcript 36
3 The Secretum Secretorum and the Governance of Kings 39
The King Governing 40
Governing the King 44
Deconstructing the Ideology of Advice 49
4 The Secretum Secretorum in Ireland 55
Deference and Challenge: Yonge and Ormonde 55
Ireland "Entremedelid": The Writer, the Patron, and the Patron's Patron 61
5 Council, Counsel, and the Politics of Advice 67
Still Harping on Advice 68
Edward II 70
Edward III 72
Richard II 79
Henry IV 85
6 Chaucer's Tale of Melibee: Advice on the King and Advice to the King's Advisers 89
The Melibee 91
England in the Late 1380s 99
Chaucer in the Late 1380s 101
The Melibee in the Late 1380s 102
Chaucer in the 1990s 104
7 O Political Grower 108
The Languages of Advice 110
The Hermeneutics of Counsel in the Confessio Amantis 113
The King and His Counsellors 118
The King and His People 126
Sad (Hi)Stories of the Deposition of Kings 132
Appendix on Idioms 134
8 A Mirror for the Prince of Wales: Hoccleve's Regement of Princes 137
Begging and Advising 139
Begging as Advising 147
The Discipline of Advice 150
9 Machiavelli's Prince 160
The Prince and the Medieval Furstenspiegel: What's New? 161
The Prince and the Prince 165
Novelty Again 172
10 Conclusion 174
Works Cited 189
Index 205
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