From doctrine to debate in medieval Welsh and Irish literature
Body and soul:
from doctrine to debate in medieval
Welsh and Irish literature
In the MiddleEnglish poem attributed to John Lydgate, The
Pilgrimage of the Life of Man, translated from the French poem
by Guillaume de Deguileville, the allegorical figure of Grace
Dieu, hoping to guide the Pilgrim safely on his journey to salvation, describes the relationship between the body and the soul.
Addressing the Pilgrim’s soul, the seat of his intellect and cognition, Grace Dieu tells him that he must fight ‘lyk a myghty
champyoun’ against the ‘deceyt
An enactive reading of the Middle English cycle plays
Eva von Contzen
contrast to ‘dead’ books, which can merely be read but lack the experiential dimension of theatre.
We can deepen our understanding of this dimension by approaching the MiddleEnglish cycle plays in terms of their ‘enactivism’ – that is, those elements that ‘activate’ the audience to experience the action in a direct and dynamic way. Formally, such enactivism hinges on the characters’ self-description: the actors accompany their words with the actions and emotions they are describing (or vice versa: the actions and
seem to have declined as the Middle Ages advanced. Only four extant Icelandic manuscripts – all late and all deriving from a common source – contain translations of MiddleEnglish sources, 16 and there are few indications of direct, late-medieval literary connections between Iceland and Britain beyond this. Thus, H. M. Smyser accepts at face-value a claim in the thirteenth-century Landres Þáttr (The Story of Landres) that when Bjarni Erlingsson was in Scotland he had the work translated from a MiddleEnglish original, 17 while Rory McTurk has argued that Chaucer
sanctity time in balade form
‘literature’, which generally take as axiomatic its difference from
instrumental texts. The use of verse in a premodern text such as
this one does not complicate this classification, since verse often
had a clear functional role in aiding memory in this period. Indeed,
Bokenham’s stanza is a mnemonic on the order of a much better
known MiddleEnglish kalende, ‘Thirty days hath November’,
though it is clumsier, and surely less effective than this lyric, which
is, of course, still in use in only slightly
In confirmation of the which purpose and vow with my own hand I have put
to [added] the sign of the cross.
The Rule of St Linus
Linus succeeded St Peter to be the second pope. We can be
certain, however, that he had nothing to do with the MiddleEnglish
‘rule’ for hermits that bears his name. (Compare the
attribution of the Rule of Celestine [ 46 ].) In fact, this short text is
learning of skills that can immediately
be used for a purpose identified as important by the learner’.15 The majority
of women in early modern England, including Bess, achieved the level of
literacy that they needed in order for their daily lives to function effectively.
Previous studies on the middleEnglish and early modern English periods and
suggest that although the evidence is relatively fragmentary, differences in
the way that women and men use language can be traced back to pre-Standard
Bess of Hardwick: new perspectives
relating to the
particularities of those findings.
The focus of my study of reading is on vernacular reading matter,
in English in this instance, even though many of the texts had Latin
precursors or versions in circulation at the same time, and although there
was also macaronic and bilingual writing readily available. A MiddleEnglish Miscellany forms the focus of Chapter 5 and it is the English
texts which are explored although there are also some macaronic items in
here. The English translation of the treatise on husbandry, attributed to
Robert Grosseteste, alongside
information about Old English homiletic materials where Anglo-Saxon records are incomplete or missing altogether, as is the case with the treatment of the Ascension discussed in this chapter.
Twelfth-century England clearly saw an abiding interest in the vernacular preaching tradition. Old English homilies continued to be copied and recopied (for example, Ælfric’s sermon cycles); Old English homilies were updated into MiddleEnglish (as is the case, for instance, with several items in the Lambeth Homilies); 35 and new vernacular homilies were
-Century Continuations and Additions,
TEAMS MiddleEnglish Text Series (Kalamazoo: Western Michigan
University, 1992), p. 57.
10 See the list from Daniel W. Mosser and Linne R. Mooney, who also
identify fragments and other manuscripts associated with the Berynscribe in ‘More manuscripts by the Beryn scribe and his cohort’,
Chaucer Review, 49 (2014), 39–76.
11 Alnwick Castle, Northumberland MS 455 [Nl], fol. 116r.
12 Northumberland MS 455, fol. 240r.
13 The geographical reference to Harbledown (two miles outside
Canterbury) in the Manciple’s Prologue, which seems to confirm the
means ‘a place or medium in
which something is originated ... a point of origin and growth’
and is derived from Latin mater for ‘breeding female’
and the late MiddleEnglish word for ‘womb’. As a unit of
thought a cliché is the fons et origo for all that is shaped into
existence thereafter by using it. We live by clichés, and often we die
by them, in the sense that they can reconcile us to the