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Elisabeth Salter

3 Making meaning from moral reading Popular reading in English c. 1400–1600 1 Making meaning from moral reading This chapter is concerned with moral reading and focuses on a collection of short moral stories known as the Gesta Romanorum (Tales of the Romans), which were being copied, printed and circulated during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The stories have a distinctive style and follow a particular pattern. They are all set in the time of a particular named Roman emperor, each story being identified as the story of that emperor. This locates them

in Popular reading in English c. 1400–1600
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Chaucer: validity in interpretation
S. H. Rigby

order. On the one hand, Chaucer is an Augustinian allegorist; on the other, he is sceptical about exegesis as a mode of interpretation and satirises the excesses of moral allegorising. On the one hand, he is a misogynist; on the other, he a defender of women. That each critical school of thought constructs a Chaucer in its own image is nowhere clearer than in the competing interpretations of the Wife of Bath

in Chaucer in context
Marie-Céline Isaïa

normative effects of a hagiographical text Hincmar’s project followed a long tradition that led him to believe that his Vita would contribute to the religious progress of its readers. So he constructed his Vita as a dialogue between past and present, between the sixth century of Remigius and his own ninth century, for a moral purpose. After describing some deed of Saint Remigius, Hincmar draws a lesson addressed to all his contemporaries, especially Carolingian bishops, monks and kings. This is why, of all his own works that he cited in the

in Hincmar of Rheims
Sylvie Joye

principal instigator and organiser, even if not perhaps its sole author) – is the only moral work which tackles in detail both the abduction of women and marriage. As the bishops clearly indicate at the beginning, its overall argument was for the suppression of raptus ; but the text shows how this practice became caught up in an increasingly elaborated discourse on the place of marriage in society. In the De raptu , abduction is systematically discussed as part of a broader reflection on the ways in which marriage could be undertaken, and on their implications for

in Hincmar of Rheims
S. H. Rigby

to time and place. If this is the case, then to understand medieval poetry we need first to understand the literary theory of the medieval period itself. For the patristic critics, such theory saw poetry, or at least serious poetry, as primarily moral in its purposes. Literature pertains to ethics, ‘ ethice subponitur ’ or, in St Paul’s words, cited at the end of the ‘Nun’s Priest

in Chaucer in context
S. H. Rigby

of human experience in terms of universalising philosophical and moral systems. It stressed the inadequacies of all truths and, in its dialogue of characters and perspectives, focuses upon the ever-continuing search for truth rather than the reassuring certainty of a false conclusion. As a result, Menippean satire frequently involved the parody of other texts and genres, emphasising the multiplicity

in Chaucer in context
Hincmar in the crisis of 875
Clémentine Bernard-Valette

significant territories, but they also possessed a strong moral influence that they could exert over their contemporaries. This moral influence should certainly not be exaggerated, but the Carolingian dynasty as a whole remained sensitive to potential threats and messages from clerics when their conduct was not in conformity with the laws of Christianity. The Frankish episcopate had developed under Louis the Pious, to the point where it could submit the emperor to public penance. This episcopal influence was not diminished during the reigns of Charles the Bald and his

in Hincmar of Rheims
S. H. Rigby

anti-matrimonialism which she ‘wittily debunks’. Similarly, for Patterson, the Wife’s rhetoric offers not just delectation ‘but the higher pleasures of ethical understanding’. In offering a rhetoric that is ‘at once carnal and moral’, she ‘ameliorates the harsh polarisations of Augustinian theory’. 55 Above all, it is the Wife’s defence of women against clerical misogyny

in Chaucer in context
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Hincmar’s world
Rachel Stone

leading political figures, closely involved in most of the urgent issues of the time. Above all, he was one of the pre-eminent commentators of his day. His voluminous writing encompasses many genres: history (notably the Annals of St-Bertin between 861 and 882), theology, hagiography, political tracts, letters, moral treatises, regulations for the priests of his archdiocese, legal opinions, Church council acta , liturgical texts, administrative documents, poetry and exegesis. 2 Much of what we know about this period we know, directly or indirectly, from Hincmar; 3 as

in Hincmar of Rheims
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Semantics of intellectual disability
Irina Metzler

, but possesses a further cluster of meanings related to cognitive ability, moral skills and purposeful action. The word shoteh may have a primary meaning, on top of which are loaded other conceptual categories. ‘The prototype of the category shoteh is a person who is profoundly mentally ill, for example, schizophrenic, or a person who is mentally disabled, for example, of extremely low intelligence. Such persons are stigmatized, that is, discredited.’ 15 In the Bible, words for foolishness or idiocy become a trilingual confusion, if one

in Fools and idiots?