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Drawing on manuscript sources, this book examines how the medieval clergy developed the authority and persuasive force to attempt to govern the day-to-day speech of Western Christians. It explores, for the first time, how Chaucer, Langland, Gower and the "Patience" poet presented and judged these attempts to label some political, social and private speech as deviant and destructiveas lying, slander, blasphemy and other Sins of the Tongue.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1. The pastoral movement and deviant speech: major texts; 2. The lies of the Fall, the tongues of Pentecost: typing and converting the deviant speaker; 3. Exemplifying deviant speech: murmur in Patience; 4. Confessing the deviant speaker: verbal deception in the Confessio Amantis; 5. Reforming deviant social practices: turpiloquium/scurrilitas in the B Version of Piers Plowman; 6. Restraining the deviant speaker: Chaucer's Manciple and Parson; Bibliography; Index.