A Handbook of Middle English Studies

A Handbook of Middle English Studies

Language: English

Pages: 464

ISBN: 0470655380

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A Handbook to Middle English Studies presents a series of original essays from leading literary scholars that explore the relationship between critical theory and late medieval literature.

  • Includes 26 new essays by leading scholars of late medieval literature
  • Sets the new standard for an introduction to the study of late medieval literature
  • Showcases the most current cutting-edge theoretical research
  • Demonstrates a range of approaches to late medieval literature
  • Brings together critical theory and medieval literature

















just flat out disappear – which would break the link, and terrify me? These contemporary insights have a genealogy: the long tradition, medicophilosophical in nature, of giving the imagination a central role in the process of mourning, which we have already seen at work in BD. The connection between image-making and affect-management is an ancient one; it is used, for instance, to explain how idolatry begins, with a king’s mourning for the loss of his son. The king makes a memorial statue of his

include, without taming, outcast, socially unacceptable, and sexually perverse behaviors and identities. Sexuality 79 Both normalizing and queer impulses are at work in the complex critical tradition that considers the representation of a sexually anomalous literary figure like Chaucer’s Pardoner, a representation that has provided the fullest testing ground to date for sexuality theory in Middle English studies. Operating in this body of critical work are both (1) a push toward identifying,

entity. Indeed, the tradition of confession, increasingly important after the 4th Lateran Council of 1215, itself encouraged the development of a variety of technologies of selfhood (Cannon, ch. 1). Recent and current work by both medievalists and early modernists – showcased in Cummings and Simpson’s edited volume Cultural Reformations, published in 2010 – works hard to trouble old preconceptions about what changed in the sixteenth century as academics increasingly have conversations across

especially the essay on language).10 Several essays also demonstrate the productivity of engaging with literature alongside other cultural artifacts such as visual images (Audience, Material Culture, Ecology) and the value of thinking about texts in dialogue with physical spaces (Church, City, Margins). Essays have varying relationships to theory: one essay – about postcolonialism – explores the history of the concept and whether or not it can be applied to medieval texts; others are primarily

‘‘reading practice studies’’ has been applied in a medieval context (see, e.g., Krug); the term ultimately derives from the same body of anthropological work that produced the ethnography of reading. I give the background of the ethnographic approach in some detail, since it will probably be unfamiliar to most of this chapter’s readers. (For a more extensive discussion of the theoretical background, see Coleman, Public Reading.) Cultural anthropology, which gave literary scholars the term

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