English Literature

A Companion To Medieval English Literature and Culture by Peter Brown

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By Peter Brown

A spouse to Medieval English Literature and tradition, c.1350-c.1500 demanding situations readers to imagine past a narrowly outlined canon and traditional disciplinary obstacles. A ground-breaking choice of newly-commissioned essays on medieval literature and tradition. Encourages scholars to imagine past a narrowly outlined canon and standard disciplinary limitations. displays the erosion of the conventional, inflexible boundary among medieval and early sleek literature. Stresses the significance of making contexts for studying literature. Explores the level to which medieval literature is in discussion with different cultural items, together with the literature of alternative international locations, manuscripts and faith. contains shut readings of frequently-studied texts, together with texts via Chaucer, Langland, the Gawain poet, and Hoccleve. Confronts the various controversies that workout scholars of medieval literature, comparable to these hooked up with literary conception, love, and chivalry and struggle.

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

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E. one characterized by ‘an ordered gradation’ of social ranks which are hierarchically arranged ‘by scales which regulate the respect and the kind of service which one man or woman may expect of another, or may expect to pay another’. ‘In the minds of men of that age, the relations of deference and service that persisted between the grades (of society) were the basis of social order, of its essence: they had not yet come to regard social distinctions as divisive, as forces with the potential to tear society apart’ (Keen 1990: 1; see also Bennett 1983: 67).

Have different experiences of the body’, that virginity may be considered ‘a deployment, not a denial, of the body’, and that ‘virginity is not a denial or rejection of sexuality, but itself a sexuality . . a culturally specific organization of desires’ (Salih 2001: 5–10). While notions of virginity underline the alterity of medieval experience, Robin Hood embodies the familiar stuff of legend, the classic insider turned outsider to turn hierarchy upside-down and serve the common good. In this he stands for much of what we know of the popular folk culture of late medieval England.

Thus when Christine Chism treats ‘the revival of the dead and the past’ in eight standard alliterative works, she predicates her analysis on the poets’ common interest in the ‘embodied and spectacular performance of history’. Chism acknowledges the importance of such literary qualities as metre, genre and voice, but her book’s announced theoretical agenda is unabashedly cultural and historical: ‘these poems (1) investigate the historical antecedents of medieval structures; (2) dramatize the questioning of cultural centers from outsider (or provincial) perspectives; and (3) centralize the historical contingencies of a world in flux rather than aiming primarily at more transcendent concerns with the afterlife’ (Chism 2002: 1–2).

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