Middle English Literature / Edition 1

Middle English Literature / Edition 1

by Christopher Cannon
     
 

This book provides a boldly original account of Middle English literature from the Norman Conquest to the beginning of the sixteenth century. It argues that these centuries are, in fundamental ways, the momentous period in our literary history, for they are the long moment in which the category of literature itself emerged as English writing began to insist, for

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Overview

This book provides a boldly original account of Middle English literature from the Norman Conquest to the beginning of the sixteenth century. It argues that these centuries are, in fundamental ways, the momentous period in our literary history, for they are the long moment in which the category of literature itself emerged as English writing began to insist, for the first time, that it floated free of any social reality or function.

This book also charts the complex mechanisms by which English writing acquired this power in a series of linked close readings of both canonical and more obscure texts. It encloses those readings in five compelling accounts of much broader cultural areas, describing, in particular, the productive relationship of Middle English writing to medieval technology, insurgency, statecraft and cultural place, concluding with an in depth account of the particular arguments, emphases and techniques English writers used to claim a wholly new jurisdiction for their work.

Both this history and its readings are everywhere informed by the most exciting developments in recent Middle English scholarship as well as literary and cultural theory. It serves as an introduction to all these areas as well as a contribution, in its own right, to each of them.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780745624419
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
04/15/2008
Series:
PCHL-Polity Cultural History of Literature Series
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations

A Note on Texts and Quotations

1 Technology 8

Romance 12

Confession 21

Printing 35

2 Insurgency 40

Complaint 43

Satire 58

The rise of English 67

3 Statecraft 72

Censorship 75

Propaganda 86

Counsel 97

4 Place 105

The schoolroom 108

Religious communities 117

The household 123

Cities and towns 132

The way or the street 143

5 Jurisdiction 150

The church 153

Laughter 164

The aesthetic 173

Resources for Study 187

Chronology 191

Notes 197

References 220

Index 245

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