Gestures and Looks in Medieval Narrative

Overview

Gestures and looks played an even more important role in public and private exchanges of medieval society, than they do today. Gestures meant more than words, for example, in ceremonies of homage and fealty. In this compelling study, medievalist Burrow examines the role of non-verbal communication in a range of narrative texts, including Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory's Morte D'arthur, the romances of Chr├ętien de Troyes, the prose Lancelot, Boccaccio's Il ...

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Overview

Gestures and looks played an even more important role in public and private exchanges of medieval society, than they do today. Gestures meant more than words, for example, in ceremonies of homage and fealty. In this compelling study, medievalist Burrow examines the role of non-verbal communication in a range of narrative texts, including Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory's Morte D'arthur, the romances of Chr├ętien de Troyes, the prose Lancelot, Boccaccio's Il Filostrato, and Dante's Commedia.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...highly original and highly interesting..." Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

"Quite simply a delight...there is absolutely no canting in the lucid and elegant exposition. What a pleasure!" The Medieval Review

"In keeping with his usual high standards of meticulous scholarship, Burrow here presents medievalists with an expert study on nonverbal communication in medievalists with an expert study on nonverbal communication in medieval literature.... [N]ow that he has enriched the study of medieval literature with this volume, perhaps he will turn his attention to nonverbal communication in Renaissance literature. Graduate students, faculty, and even upper-level undergraduates will come away having learned a great deal." Choice

"John Burrow is to be highly commended for this welcome, substantive, and groundbreaking study on gestures and looks in medieval literature that provides an important and necessary contribution, not only to the well-established Cambridge Studies, but to the interdisciplinary nature of literary studies as well." Sixteenth Century Journal

"Burrow's book will prove to be of lasting value in helping modern interpreters of these works and many others understand some of their finest points and those most open to anachronistic misinterpretation. Burrow also extends the range of interdisciplinary readings of the Middle Ages and reminds us how illuminating it can be to use the physical and social sciences." Quaderni d'italianistica

Booknews
A specialist in Middle English literature, Burrow (English, U. of Bristol) describes mostly visible signs in Medieval texts, but also some non-verbal sounds. He limits his concern to those signs that are part of voluntary communication rather than such matters as blushing or reflex. After surveying gestures and looks in a wide range of texts, he examines two Middle English narratives and Dante's ; the Italian quotations are translated. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

John Burrow is Emeritus Professor and Research Fellow in the Department of English at Bristol University. He has published widely on middle English literature. His books include Medieval Writers and Their Work (1982).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction; 2. Gestures; 3. Looks; 4. Two Middle English narratives; 5. Dante's Commedia; 6. Afterword; Bibliography; Index of names and titles; Index of signs.

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