London, British Library MS Harley 2253 and the traffic of texts
French text of this poem illuminates the possible uses of French
to address an insular audience. In the MiddleEnglish ‘Flemish
Insurection’, by contrast, the use of French words and French-
derived lexis may be seen to evoke a continental French identity that
is at odds with English attitudes and interests. After a run down of the
international connections promoted by the Harley scribe’s compilation choices and the vibrant Hereford milieu to which he belonged,
I then return to f. 76r of Harley 2253 in order to elaborate a fresh
reading of the page’s final poem, ‘Dum
’s Narrators, p. 2.
11 Lawton, Chaucer’s Narrators, p. 4.
12 See the Appendix for more detail of the editorial history of the
The Scottish Legendary
13 See Joceyln Wogan-Browne et al. (eds), The Idea of the Vernacular: An
Anthology of MiddleEnglish Literary Theory 1280–1520
(Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1999), pp. 3–105.
14 On the basis of these references, we can classify the Prologue as a
redactor’s prologue because the poet is largely concerned with his
role as translator and editor of the legends; see Andrew Galloway,
enticed to fall in love with Theodora, and an old woman who acts
as go-between (a ‘karlyng’; XXX, 15740). The passage in general
is heavily influenced by classical and medieval literary traditions,
most notably satire, comedy, and romance, which frequently draw
on the character of the garrulous old woman who acts as a bawd.
Dame Sirith is a prime example of this character-type in MiddleEnglish literature.41 The beginning of the life of Theodora, then,
is set not so much in the hagiographic as in the satirical and tragicomic traditions. Only after her adultery
culpabilities in its interactions with other countries and transforms
these culpabilities into redeeming alternative possibilities for remembering the past and for performing the future. The historical events to
which Guy of Warwick responds, above all others, took place during the
first four – perhaps five – Crusades. Indeed, the earliest Anglo-Norman
versions of Guy, which predate the oldest known English translations
by more than half a century, followed closely on the Fourth Crusade.2
While the MiddleEnglish Guy is clearly based on the Anglo
The Scottish Legendary as a challenge to the ‘literary turn’ in fifteenth-century hagiography
Eva von Contzen
Exemplarity’, in Paul Strohm (ed.),
MiddleEnglish: Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 335–51, at p. 338.
2 Winstead, ‘Saintly Exemplarity’, p. 338.
3 Christopher Cannon, ‘Monastic Productions’, in David Wallace (ed.),
The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 316–48, at p. 341. Derek
Pearsall’s quote is taken from his monograph John Lydgate (London:
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970), p. 298.
4 Cf. e.g. John Lydgate, Saint Albon and Saint
, under Henry IV and Henry V, it was also manifested in the self-conscious rejection of French and the adoption of MiddleEnglish as a language of authentic communication between the king and his subjects. 6 Another very important element of the new Englishness was an emphasis on independence and self-determination, captured in the concept of sovereignty, which entered English political rhetoric from the time of Edward I. The idea was used across the period to argue both for the territorial integrity of English dependencies (especially Gascony) and for English immunity
, as lack of wisdom or foolishness, first appears in MiddleEnglish via Old French around 1422 in Hoccleve’s Tale of Jonathas. 37 In patristic and medieval philosophical discussions there may be a conceptual difference between stultus and insipiens. The etymology of in-sipiens , implying the contrasting lack of, is obviously derived from sapiens , while stultus is connected with stolidus ‘dull, obtuse’. ‘The question whether there is a difference arose for Salvian from the Vulgate Psalm-text which says that both will perish: simul insipiens et stultus
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and John Lydgate’s Troy Book
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and
John Lydgate’s Troy Book
This chapter focuses on a trope, one so common in medieval
English literature that its critical work in the construction of latemedieval reading practices has gone unnoticed. This rhetorical
device, often simply referred to as the humility topos, flourishes
in MiddleEnglish during the fifteenth century, although it has its
roots in fourteenth-century French of England and was common
in Latin hagiographies before that.1 In the humility topos, a writer
draws attention to
various recent critics of MiddleEnglish literature have pointed out, ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are not fixed or ‘universal characteristics that each person throughout history possesses to a greater or lesser degree’.
Rather, they are constructed, performed, and imagined differently in different places and times, and for different groups and subgroups. While multiple and competing concepts of both femininity and masculinity existed alongside one another in the Middle Ages, some aspects of each (such as the ideal of
and New York:
18 Attridge, The Singularity of Literature, p. 20.
19 The mystics too put themselves in a potentially precarious position in
their claims of having access to the divine.
20 See Karen A. Winstead, ‘Saintly Exemplarity’, in Paul Strohm
(ed.), MiddleEnglish: Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to
Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 336–51,
at p. 338. Scholars who have prominently addressed these changes
and discussed the cultural grounding of the depiction and functions
of the holy include Delany, Impolitic