Reading Middle English Literature / Edition 1

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This introduction provides the guidance that modern readers need to come to an informed appreciation of the writings of medieval England.

  • An introduction to English literature written in the four centuries following the Norman Conquest.
  • Written by the well-known medievalist, Thorlac Turville-Petre.
  • Demonstrates that Middle English literature is more accessible than is often supposed.
  • Provides readers with the guidance they need to come to an informed appreciation of the writings of medieval England.
  • Designed to be used alongside A Book of Middle English, (Third Edition, Blackwell Publishing, 2005).
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Thorlac Turville-Petre is Professor of Medieval English Literature at the University of Nottingham. His previous publications include England the Nation (1996) and (with J. A. Burrow) A Book of Middle English (Third Edition, Blackwell, 2005).

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Table of Contents

List of Plates.




1. The Use of English.

Three Languages.

The Choice of English.

Social Register.

2. Texts and Manuscripts.

Information from Manuscripts.

Scribes and their Manuscripts.



3. Literature and Society.

Bond and Free.

Social Tensions in the Reeve's Tale.

Ploughing Piers' Half Acre.

At the Court of King Arthur.

In Criseyde's Palace.

4. History and Romance.


Monastic History.

The History of St Erkenwald.

Englishing Arthur.

The Fairy World.

5. Piety.

From Pecham to Arundel.

Christ the Lover and God the Unknowable.

Retelling Biblical Stories.

The Death of a Child.

6. Love and Marriage.

Marriage and Love - and Sex.

A Lover's Confession.

Love's Craft.

'All this Mean I by Love'.



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