Middle English Literature
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.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
allegory alliterative Ancrene Wisse Anglo-Saxon Book Cambridge University Press Canterbury Canterbury Tales Caxton chanson de geste Chaucer Chronicle Clarendon Press complaint Confessio Amantis craft culture D. S. Brewer described dialect Distichs Distichs of Cato Edward EETS o. s. England English writing estates satire fifteenth century fourteenth century French friars Further citations identified genre Henry History identified by line important insists insurgent John John Lydgate kind king Knight kyng Langland Latin lbid line number literary Lollard London Lydgate Lydgate’s Malory Malory’s Mannyng manuscripts Margery Kempe Medieval English Middle Ages Middle English Middle English literature monastic Morte MWME narrative Nightingale Oxford particular Pearsall Piers Plowman Piers Plowman Tradition pilgrimage poem’s poet Poetry political prince Prologue prose Proverbs pubd Richard Robin Hood saints social South English Legendary stanzas story surviving Tale techniques thou tradition trans translation Troilus and Criseyde William