Professor Minnis argues that the paganism in Troilus and Criseyde and The Knight's Taleis not simply a backdrop but must be central to our understanding of the texts. Chaucer's two great pagan poems, l>Troilus and Criseyde/l> and l>The Knight's Tale/l>, belong to the literary genre known as the `romance of antiquity' (which first appeard in the mid 12th century), in which the ancient pagan world is shown on its own terms, without the blatant Christian bias against paganism characteristic of works like the l>Chanson de Roland/l>, where the writer is concerned with present-day rather than classical forms of paganism. Chaucer's attitudes to antiquity were influenced, but not determined, by thos...
A general chapter on the social and cultural contexts of the Shorter Poems is followed by a guide to the main genre which they exemplify - the love-vision form. The volume then provides individual chapters on the Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, the Parliament of Fowls, the Legend of Good Women, and the short poems; there is also an extensive appendix on Chaucer's language.
Available again with a new preface, this classic work of medieval literary scholarship argues that discussion of late-medieval literary works has tended to derive its critical vocabulary from modern, not medieval, theory, and offers instead a conceptual equipment which is at once historically valid and theoretically illuminating.
The Roman de la Rose was a major bestseller - largely due to its robust treatment of 'natural' sexuality. This study concentrates on the ways in which Jean de Meun, in imitation of Ovid, assumed the mock-magisterium (or mastership) of love. From Latin texts and literary theory Jean derived many hermeneutic rationales and generic categorizations, without allowing any one to dominate. Alastair J. Minnis considers allegorical versus literalistic expression in the poem, its competing discourses of allegorical covering and satiric stripping, Jean's provocative use of plain and sometimes obscene language in a widely accessible French work, the challenge of its homosocial and perhaps even homoerotic constructions, the subversive effects of coital comedy within a text characterized by intermittent aspirations to moral and scientific truth, and - placing the Rose's reception within the European history of vernacular hermeneutics - the problematic translation of literary authority from Latin into the vulgar tongue.
While literary scholars have insisted on the need to understand works of medieval literature in their historical context, medieval historians themselves have rarely contributed to modern attempts to show how works of imaginative literature engaged with the conflicts and controversies of their own day. This volume brings together 25 experts in the history of fourteenth-century England and asks them to discuss one of the most famous works of Middle Englishliterature- -Geoffrey Chaucer's 'General Prologue' to the Canterbury Tales--in relation to the economic change, social issues, and religious controversies of the period. Beginning with a survey of recentdebates about the social meaning of Chaucer's work, the volume then discusses each of the Canterbury pilgrims in turn. The book should be of interest to all scholars and students of medieval culture whether they are specialists in literature or history.
Middle English devotional compilations – consisting of a series of texts or extracts of texts that have intentionally been put together to constitute new and unified devotional texts – have often been approached as complex collections of source texts that need to be linked with their originals. This book argues that the study of compilations should move beyond the disentanglement of their sources. It approaches compiling as a literary activity and an active way of shaping the medieval text, with the aim to nuance scholarly discussion about compiling by putting greater emphasis on the literary instead of the technical aspects of compiling activity. In addition to describing the additions, omissions and other types of adaptations that compilers made to their source texts, Middle English Devotional Compilations highlights the nature and function of compiling activity in late medieval England, and examines three major but understudied Middle English devotional compilations in depth: The Pore Caitif, The Tretyse of Love and A Talkyng of the Love of God.
The monograph series Oxford Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture showcases the plurilingual and multicultural quality of medieval literature and actively seeks to promote research that not only focuses on the array of subjects medievalists now pursue - in literature, theology, and philosophy, in social, political, jurisprudential, and intellectual history, the history of art, and the history of science - but also that combines these subjects productively. It offers innovative studies on topics that may include, but are not limited to, manuscript and book history; languages and literatures of the global Middle Ages; race and the post-colonial; the digital humanities, media and performan...