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The parable of the Prodigal Son
Mary Raschko

64 The politics of Middle English parables 2 Stories for revising the self: the parable of the Prodigal Son Þerfore, modur, turne aȝeyn into þeself as þulke ȝonger broþer dide, and sei wiþ him ‘Hou many seruauntis in Crist, my Fadres, hous hauen plente of loues … and I perische for hunger. I shal arise’ wiþ sorwe of herte and schrift of mouþe and satisfaccioun of dede, and so ‘I shal go to my Fadur Crist.’ (Book to a Mother, p. 101)1 Like the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard, the Prodigal Son story (Luke 15:11–32) could call into question the

in The politics of Middle English parables
The parable of Dives and Lazarus
Mary Raschko

Examinations of social conscience 105 3 Examinations of social conscience: the parable of Dives and Lazarus And in as mychel as her state was diuers her in þis werlde, by als mychel is it dyuers in þat oþer werlde. (Pepysian Gospel Harmony, p. 64)1 While Middle English renditions of the Prodigal Son parable broadly encouraged penitential actions, the retellings highlighted in this chapter make more specific claims about the sins for which people should repent. The parable of the Rich Man (Dives) and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) features an alarming inversion of

in The politics of Middle English parables
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Pastoral care in the parish church
Laura Varnam

kepe. (19–26) 124 The church as sacred space in Middle English literature and culture When she is in church, the daughter must prioritise prayer over ‘jangelynge’, the sin of gossip and idle speech that is a constant concern in pastoral care material. The Good Wife instructs her daughter to ‘take kepe’ of her advice because ‘worschype’ begins with ‘gode berynge’, but it is not merely the worship of the individual that is at stake here. It is the worship of the church itself. The pastoral care material that I will examine here arose in the wake of the Fourth

in The church as sacred space in Middle English literature and culture
Laura Varnam

Jacobus de Voragine in the Legenda Aurea and two Middle English examples, from John Mirk’s Festial and the Speculum Sacerdotale.3 The consecration ceremony remained virtually unchanged through the later Middle Ages and there is neither the room here nor the need to provide a liturgical history; rather my aim is to draw out the major strategies and performative practices through which the ritual created and shaped the medieval understanding of sacred space.4 Writers such as Durandus established what Hayes calls a ‘learned concept’ of sacred space, and this is crucial for

in The church as sacred space in Middle English literature and culture
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Ecocritical readings of late medieval English literature
Author: Gillian Rudd

Humankind has always been fascinated by the world in which it finds itself, and puzzled by its relations to it. Today that fascination is often expressed in what is now called ‘green’ terms, reflecting concerns about the non-human natural world, puzzlement about how we relate to it, and anxiety about what we, as humans, are doing to it. So-called green or eco-criticism acknowledges this concern. This book reaches back and offers new readings of English texts, both known and unfamiliar, informed by eco-criticism. After considering general issues pertaining to green criticism, it moves on to a series of individual chapters arranged by theme (earth, trees, wilds, sea, gardens and fields) that provide individual close readings of selections from such familiar texts as Malory's Morte D'Arthur, Chaucer's Knight's and Franklin's Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Langland's Piers Plowman. These discussions are contextualized by considering them alongside hitherto marginalized texts such as lyrics, Patience and the romance Sir Orfeo. The result is a study that reinvigorates our customary reading of late Middle English literary texts while also allowing us to reflect upon the vibrant new school of eco-criticism itself.

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Cultural memory and the untimely Middle Ages
Author: Joshua Davies

This book is a study of cultural memory in and of the British Middle Ages. It works with material drawn from across the medieval period – in Old English, Middle English and Latin, as well as material and visual culture – and explores modern translations, reworkings and appropriations of these texts to examine how images of the past have been created, adapted and shared. It interrogates how cultural memory formed, and was formed by, social identities in the Middle Ages and how ideas about the past intersected with ideas about the present and future. It also examines how the presence of the Middle Ages has been felt, understood and perpetuated in modernity and the cultural possibilities and transformations this has generated. The Middle Ages encountered in this book is a site of cultural potential, a means of imagining the future as well as imaging the past.

The scope of this book is defined by the duration of cultural forms rather than traditional habits of historical periodization and it seeks to reveal connections across time, place and media to explore the temporal complexities of cultural production and subject formation. It reveals a transtemporal and transnational archive of the modern Middle Ages.

Essays for Stephanie Trigg

For 700 years, Geoffrey Chaucer has spoken to scholars and amateurs alike. How does his work speak to us in the twenty-first century? This volume provides a unique vantage point for responding to this question, furnished by the pioneering scholar of medieval literary studies, Stephanie Trigg: the symptomatic long history. While Trigg's signature methodological framework acts as a springboard for the vibrant conversation that characterises this collection, each chapter offers an inspiring extension of her scholarly insights. The varied perspectives of the outstanding contributors attest to the vibrancy and the advancement of debates in Chaucer studies: thus, formerly rigid demarcations surrounding medieval literary studies, particularly those concerned with Chaucer, yield in these essays to a fluid interplay between Chaucer within his medieval context; medievalism and ‘reception’; the rigours of scholarly research and the recognition of amateur engagement with the past; the significance of the history of emotions; and the relationship of textuality with subjectivity according to their social and ecological context. Each chapter produces a distinctive and often startling interpretation of Chaucer that broadens our understanding of the dynamic relationship between the medieval past and its ongoing re-evaluation. The inventive strategies and methodologies employed in this volume by leading thinkers in medieval literary criticism will stimulate exciting and timely insights for researchers and students of Chaucer, medievalism, medieval studies, and the history of emotions, especially those interested in the relationship between medieval literature, the intervening centuries and contemporary cultural change.

Open Access (free)
Coding same-sex union in Amis and Amiloun
Sheila Delany

3 A, A and B: coding same-sex union in Amis and Amiloun Sheila Delany Form I take my title from the rhyme scheme of a tantalising but little studied Middle English romance, Amis and Amiloun.1 The poem is composed in twelve-line stanzas, rhymed AAB AAB CCB DDB, with a metrical scheme of four, four and three stresses corresponding to the rhyme. This is a variant of the well-known ‘tail-rhyme’ stanza found in some Middle English lyrics and in over twenty Middle English romances. Six of these tail-rhyme romances appear for the first time in the famous Auchinleck

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Open Access (free)
Nicola McDonald

10 A polemical introduction Nicola McDonald The Middle English romances have been called the ‘ugly ducklings of medieval English studies’.1 In a discipline that contests even the most basic definition of the genre, romance’s low prestige is one of the few critical certainties. Despite its status as medieval England’s most popular secular genre (more than one hundred romances are extant), the origin of the modern novel (still the most significant literary form), the ancestor of almost all contemporary popular fiction (in print and on screen) and the most

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Jonathan Stavsky

. The earliest written sources of this apocryphal legend are the Greek Protevangelium of James and its Latin derivative the Infancy Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew . 2 The story also circulated in several Middle English lives of the Holy Family, to be discussed below. The N-Town version is unique in two respects: first, in being its only known dramatic adaptation; and second, in devising a distinctive array of characters and events unattested elsewhere, as is often the case with scriptural drama. The play begins with a

in Enacting the Bible in medieval and early modern drama