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This volume demonstrates how the Hundred Years War (1337–1453) provides a necessary context for late medieval literature. Many of the major writers of the period, in a variety of different languages, lived either all or most of their lives under the shadow of war, including Geoffrey Chaucer, Christine de Pizan, Giovanni Boccaccio and Bridget of Sweden. The essays collected here investigate how authors use strategies including translation, adaptation and allegory in order to respond to the war. Simultaneously, they make a case for reconsidering how literature like women's visionary writing or lyric poetry, not generally seen as war literature, form part of the broader context of European warfare. As it extends the boundaries of what counts as war literature, the volume also moves beyond the traditional Anglo-French framing of the conflict by considering authors enmeshed in the conflict through proxy battles, diplomatic ties and ideological disputes. While covering English and French writers explicitly writing to the war, like John Lydgate or Alain Chartier, it also explores the war writing of prominent Welsh, Scottish and Italian authors, like Dafydd ap Gwilym, Walter Bower and Catherine of Siena. The book models a synthetic and transnational literary history of conflict that will pave the way for future scholarship in earlier and later periods. The chapters in this volume show how literature did more than reflect the realities of the Hundred Years War; it was also a crucial site for contesting the claims of war as literary writers crafted ways to actively intervene in the conflict.

Open Access (free)
Literatures of the Hundred Years War
Daniel Davies
R. D. Perry

The Hundred Years War stakes a claim to concerns of a continental scale. What began as a feudal territorial struggle became a multilateral conflict with connections across the continent through alliances and proxy battles. The introduction provides an overview of the traditional Anglo-French history of the conflict, before then arguing for an expansive approach to the period that attends to transnational diplomatic ties, proxy battles and ideological justifications. Reconsidering what the Hundred Years War was and what it did calls for a new conceptualisation of the relationship between war and medieval literary culture. After critical overviews of how literary scholars within and beyond medieval studies have approached the role of war as a context for literature, the introduction closes with an analysis of Charles d'Orléans’s lyric persona.

in Literatures of the Hundred Years War