The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English

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The study of medieval literature has experienced a revolution in the last two decades, which has reinvigorated many parts of the discipline and changed the shape of the subject in relation to the scholarship of the previous generation. 'New' texts (laws and penitentials, women's writing, drama records), innovative fields and objects of study (the history of the book, the study of space and the body, medieval masculinities), and original ways of studying them (the Sociology of the Text, performance studies) have emerged. This has brought fresh vigour and impetus to medieval studies, and impacted significantly on cognate periods and areas. The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English brings together the insights of these new fields and approaches with those of more familiar texts and methods of study, to provide a comprehensive overview of the state of medieval literature today. It also returns to first principles in posing fundamental questions about the nature, scope, and significance of the discipline, and the directions that it might take in the next decade.

The Handbook contains 35 newly commissioned essays from both world-leading scholars and exciting new scholarly voices. Topics covered range from the canonical genres of Saints' lives, sermons, romance, lyric poetry, and heroic poetry; major themes including monstrosity and marginality, patronage and literary politics, manuscript studies and vernacularity are investigated; and there are close readings of key texts, such as Beowulf, Wulf and Eadwacer, and Ancrene Wisse and key authors from AElfric to Geoffrey Chaucer, Langland, and the Gawain Poet.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199229123
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/6/2010
  • Series: Oxford Handbooks Series
  • Pages: 640
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Walker is Masson Professor of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. He has published widely on the history, literature, and drama of the late-medieval and Renaissance periods in England and Scotland. Among his more recent publications are Writing Under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation (OUP, 2005) and The Private Life of Henry VIII (2003). He is a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the English Association.
Elaine Treharne is Professor of Early English at Florida State University and Visiting Professor of Medieval Literature at the University of Leicester. She has published extensively on Old and Middle English literature and particularly religious prose, and she works on medieval manuscripts and their contents, focusing recently on the architextuality of early books. Her current projects include The Ideology of Early English and The Sensual Book, 800-1300.

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Table of Contents

Speaking of the Medieval, Elaine Treharne
Literary Production
1. Books and Manuscripts, A.S.G. Edwards
2. Textual Copying and Transmission, Orietta Da Rold
3. Professionalisation of Writing, Simon Horobin
4. Writing, Authority and Bureaucracy, Nicholas Perkins
5. The Impact of Print, Elizabeth Evenden
Literary Consumption
1. Literature and the Cultural Elites, Ralph Hanna
2. The Verse of Heroes, Jayne Carroll
3. Insular Romance, Sian Echard
4. A York Primer and its Alphabet: Reading Women in a Lay Household, Nicola McDonald
5. Performing Communities: Civic Religious Drama, John McGavin
Literature, Clerical and Lay
1. Change and Continuity: The English Sermon before 1250, Bella Millett
2. Authorising Female Piety, Diane Watt
3. Visions and Visionaries, Andy Galloway
4. Writing, Heresy, and the Anticlerical Muse, Mishtooni Bose
5. Acquiring Wisdom: teaching texts and the lore of the people, Dan Anlezark
Literary Realities
1. The Yorkshire Partisans and the Literature of Popular Discontent, Andrew Prescott
2. Gothic Turn and the Twelfth-Century Chronicle, Tom Bredehoft
3. Antisocial Reform: Writing Rebellion, Stephen Kelly
4. Secular Drama, Elizabeth Dutton
5. Metaphorical and Real Flowers in Medieval Verse, Gillian Rudd
Complex Identities
1. Authority, Constraint and the Writing of the Medieval Self, Kathryn Kerby-Fulton
2. Complex Identities: Selves & Others, Kathy Lavezzo
3. Spiritual Identities: The Chosen People, Samantha Zacher
4. Individuality, Alcuin Blamires
5. Emergent Englishness, Jacqueline Stodnick
Literary Place, Space and Time
1. Regions and Communities, Helen Fulton
2. The City and the Text: London Literature, Alison Wiggins
3. Provincial Reading Communities, Wendy Scase
4. Scottish Writing, Elizabeth Elliott
5. Places of the Imagination: The Gawain-Poet, Thorlac Turville-Petre
Literary Journeys
1. Pilgrimages, Travel Writing, and the Medieval Exotic, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
2. 'Britain': Originary Myths and the Stories of Peoples, Anke Bernau
3. Maps and Margins: Other Lands, Other Peoples, Alfred Hiatt
4. Monsters and the Medieval Exotic, Asa Simon Mittman
5. Spiritual Quest and Social Space: Texts of Hard Travel for God on Earth and in the Heart, Mary Baine Campbell
When did 'The Medieval End?' Retrospection, Foresight and The End(s) of the English Middle Ages, Greg Walker
Index of Manuscripts
General Index

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