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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.

Open Access (free)
Studies in intimacy

Featuring essays from some of the most prominent voices in early medieval English studies, Dating Beowulf: studies in intimacy playfully redeploys the word ‘dating’, which usually heralds some of the most divisive critical impasses in the field, to provocatively phrase a set of new relationships with an Old English poem. This volume presents an argument for the relevance of the early Middle Ages to affect studies and vice versa, while offering a riposte to anti-feminist discourse and opening avenues for future work by specialists in the history of emotions, feminist criticism, literary theory, Old English literature, and medieval studies alike. To this end, the chapters embody a range of critical approaches, from queer theory to animal studies and ecocriticism to Actor-Network theory, all organized into clusters that articulate new modes of intimacy with the poem.

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Chaucer: validity in interpretation
S. H. Rigby

, in literary criticism, as in history or the natural sciences, we never passively receive information and evidence but, inevitably, have to order it in line with our own particular theoretical interests and methodological presuppositions. As the Wife of Bath’s lion said when presented with a picture of a man killing a lion: ‘Who peyntede the leon, tel me who?’ ( CT , III: 692). The problem is that as

in Chaucer in context
S. H. Rigby

’ and the ‘humanist’. 1 The contradictory assumptions underlying these two approaches provide, if it were still needed, further evidence for the seeming incommensurability of critical paradigms which characterises Chaucer studies. For Robertson, the founder of ‘patristic criticism’ (or, as he preferred to call it, ‘historical criticism’), Chaucer is a poet of profound Christian faith; for Donaldson

in Chaucer in context
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Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

out to be remarkably short. It took less than a quarter of a century for a cool professionalism to displace Furnivallian enthusiasm. As Derek Brewer puts it: the year 1933 seemed to mark the decisive point of change in the balance between the amateur and professional criticism of Chaucer. It marked the point of

in Affective medievalism
Hincmar in the crisis of 875
Clémentine Bernard-Valette

Bald, Hincmar and some of his colleagues had already chosen Louis against Charles in 875. Undoubtedly, there was an exhortatory dimension to this treatise that sought to encourage the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Rheims to be cautious. Yet more important was a perhaps rather unexpected openness on Hincmar’s part to what the future could bring in the short term. An element of criticism of Charles and his policies was not hidden, but the issue was less one of political co-operation with Louis and more a question of peacekeeping in respect to the situation

in Hincmar of Rheims
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Gottschalk of Orbais and the predestination controversy in the archdiocese of Rheims
Matthew Bryan Gillis

possibility of achieving salvation at all without it. 19 In 848 the confrontation between Gottschalk and his old abbot happened at Mainz once again, but this time with Hrabanus presiding over the synod as archbishop in the presence of his king, Louis the German. 20 Gottschalk had prepared a libellus to present his doctrine to the council and to refute Hrabanus’s criticisms, but to no avail. 21 The archbishop persuaded the bishops to condemn Gottschalk’s teachings as heretical. 22 Since Gottschalk was now a priest and monk from the archdiocese

in Hincmar of Rheims
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Real-life observation versus literary convention
S. H. Rigby

. At a national level, during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, peasant rebels seized the capital, killed the Treasurer and Chancellor and demanded the end of serfdom. Politically, this was an age of dissension with, from the 1370s, virulent criticism of the conduct of the war with France, of the administration of the royal household and of the policies pursued by Edward III (1327-77), Richard II (1377-99) and

in Chaucer in context
Janet L. Nelson

with hindsight: ‘Charles was deceived by the vain persuadings of false messengers that his brother Louis [the German] was near death.’ 37 Even harsher criticism of Charles was to be conveyed in a similar code when Hincmar wrote up his account of Charles’s disastrous defeat by Louis the German’s son and successor at Andernach on 7 October 876, and its aftermath, the premature birth of a baby son. 38 Other distinctive features of Hincmar’s section of the Annals of St-Bertin , 861–82, show the historian of contemporary politics raising the

in Hincmar of Rheims
Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

Alive , p. 9. 29 Smithers and Woodward, ‘Clarke dismisses medieval historians’. After a good deal of criticism, Clarke, in a letter to the Guardian of 10 May 2003, attempted to explain what he meant, saying ‘My use of the word “medieval” in this context has obviously been somehow

in Affective medievalism