A Companion To Medieval English Literature and Culture by Peter Brown

By Peter Brown

A better half to Medieval English Literature and tradition, c.1350-c.1500 demanding situations readers to imagine past a narrowly outlined canon and traditional disciplinary limitations. A ground-breaking number of newly-commissioned essays on medieval literature and tradition. Encourages scholars to imagine past a narrowly outlined canon and traditional disciplinary barriers. displays the erosion of the normal, inflexible boundary among medieval and early glossy literature. Stresses the significance of making contexts for interpreting literature. Explores the level to which medieval literature is in discussion with different cultural items, together with the literature of different international locations, manuscripts and faith. contains shut readings of frequently-studied texts, together with texts through Chaucer, Langland, the Gawain poet, and Hoccleve. Confronts a number of the controversies that workout scholars of medieval literature, equivalent to these attached with literary conception, love, and chivalry and conflict.

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Extra info for A Companion To Medieval English Literature and Culture c.1350 - c.1500 (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture)

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Trotter, D. A. ) 2000. Multilingualism in Later Medieval Britain. Cambridge: Brewer. Fourteen essays treating the multilingual character of writing in the British Isles in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. ) 1999. The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thirty-two essays on writing in the British Isles from the Norman Conquest to 1550. 2 English Society in the Later Middle Ages: Deference, Ambition and Conflict1 S. H. Rigby In trying to understand the meaning and significance of any literary text, particularly one from a culture as alien to modern readers as that of late medieval England, we necessarily have to put that text into some broader context.

The attitude that situates literature as adjunct to history permeates the interpretation of English medieval literary history promulgated in the Cambridge History. Literary subjects that have traditionally formed the core of such a history receive limited attention, while subjects more congenial to non-literary historical analysis are accentuated. The titles of the volume’s large sections and their chapters offer a succinct representation of Wallace’s theoretical design. Writing in the British Isles includes chapters entitled ‘Writing in Wales’, ‘Writing in Ireland’, ‘Writing in Scotland, 1058–1560’, ‘Writing history in England’ and ‘London texts and literate practice’, effectively ignoring the existence of English-language literary texts.

In this case, however, it may be useful to turn our attention to the accounts of late medieval society offered to us by historians such as F. R. H. du Boulay and Michael J. Bennett, accounts which, rather than stressing social deference, focus on the importance of personal ambition and of individual social mobility, both within and between the different classes and ranks of society (du Boulay 1970: 79; Bennett 1983: 247). Underlying much of the social mobility of the late medieval period was the high mortality resulting from regular outbreaks of epidemic disease.

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