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  • 11 May 2023 8:11 AM | Anonymous

    Silence was a much-lauded concept in the Middle Ages, particularly in the context of religious literature directed at women. Based on the Pauline prescription that women should neither preach nor teach, and should at all times keep speech to a minimum, the concept of silence lay at the forefront of many devotional texts, particularly those associated with various forms of women's religious enclosure. Following the example of the Virgin Mary, religious women were exhorted to speak seldom, and then only seriously and devoutly. However, as this volume shows, such gendered exhortations to silence were often more rhetorical than literal. The contributions range widely: they consider the English 'Wooing Group' texts and female-authored visionary writings from the Saxon nunnery of Helfta in the thirteenth century; works by Richard Rolle and the Dutch mystic Jan van Ruusbroec in the fourteenth century; Anglo-French treatises, and books housed in the library of the English noblewoman Cecily Neville in the fifteenth century; and the resonant poetics of women from non-Christian cultures. But all demonstrate the ways in which silence, rather than being a mere absence of speech, frequently comprised a form of gendered articulation and proto-feminist point of resistance. They thus provide an apt commemoration and celebration of the deeply innovative work of Catherine Innes-Parker (1956-2019), the respected feminist scholar and a pioneer of this important field of study.


  • 6 Feb 2023 7:27 AM | Anonymous

    "Unsurprisingly, in view of the remarkable diversity of David R. Carlson’s own scholarship, the eighteen essays gathered here in his honour represent a corresponding variety of subjects across a broad range of countries and periods, but all drawing inspiration from his deep learning.

    Many are linked by their interest in Rome’s intellectual legacy to the Middle Ages, the way, for instance, medieval readers understood Ovid (Frank Coulson and David Gura), or the use to which vernacular writers like Chaucer and Gower might put both Ovid (Richard Firth Green) and Statius (James Simpson). Some illuminate various aspects of Anglo-Latin works by authors like Walter of Peterborough (Stephanie Batkie), John Gower (Bob Yeager and Matthew Irvin), and Thomas Gascoigne (Michael Van Dussen), while others investigate the Latin discourse of fifteenth-century London (Rita Copeland) and of the great abbeys of St Albans, Glastonbury, and Canterbury (Andrew Galloway and James Carley). Further, several authors reflect Carlson’s own interest in the social contexts of vernacular literary discourse, both English and French: Geoff Rector on Hue of Roteland, Andrew Taylor on Jean Froissart, Michael Bennett on John Gower, and John Scattergood on Charles d’Orléans. The collection concludes with two bibliographic studies (Julia Boffey on late fifteenth-century bills of fare and Ana Sáez-Hidalgo on Katherine of Aragon’s books), and with A.S.G. Edwards’ brief life of the American editor of John Lydgate, Henry Bergen, a scholar who may have shared Carlson’s left-leaning convictions but whose work was far less wide-ranging than his.

    'This tribute volume for David Carlson fills an impressive role in celebrating his wide and varied interests. The contributors, all distinguished in their own fields, supplement his work with articles on subjects from Ovidian commentary to the management of feasts, from the improprieties of the Hereford market-place to the movements of manuscripts and books. There will be few medievalists who will not both enjoy it and learn from it.' — Helen CooperUniversity of Cambridge" (

  • 31 Mar 2022 11:18 AM | Anonymous

    Medieval badges are small, brooch-like objects featuring an image or symbol that was widely familiar in the High and late Middle Ages (ca. 1150-1500 C.E.). Largely mass-produced from tin-lead alloys, over 20,000 medieval badges have survived into our times. In this book, I consider all medieval badges, whether they originated in religious or secular contexts, and highlight the different ways badges could confer meaning and identity on their wearers. Interdisciplinary in approach, and sumptuously illustrated with more than 115 color and black-and-white images, Medieval Badges introduces badges in all their variety and uses.  

    "The book offers a thorough introduction to medieval badges that is both a solid work of scholarship and a joy to read."—Jennifer Lee, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis  

    “Ann Marie Rasmussen offers a new approach to her subject, combining archaeological and literary sources in a way that has not been done before. Her understanding of the nature of medieval badges is profound and well argued.”— Michael Andersen, National Museum of Denmark  

  • 4 Jan 2021 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    Publisher's Description:

    In the Middle Ages, English did not have any explicit theory or philosophy of language: philosophers wrote in Latin. This book addresses the issue. By closely analysing the images and metaphors used to describe language in Middle English texts, it explores how English writers thought language works. These images are "reverse-engineered" in an attempt to deduce what underlying theory of language could have created that image. In this way, it is possible to go beyond the clerically-educated Latin thinkers of the medieval period and try to find out what people thought in English. Taking metaphors and images from the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, Arthurian romances, bird debates, sermons, handbooks of exempla, and medieval dramas, the book provides new and sometimes surprising readings of such familiar texts as the House of Fame and the Morte Darthur.

  • 7 Dec 2020 10:56 AM | Anonymous

    Publisher's description:

    Richard Whitford’s Dyuers Holy Instrucyons and Teachynges Very Necessary for the Helth of Mannes Soule is the last printed work written by a brother of the Brigittine community at Syon Abbey. A vocal opponent of Lutheran reforms and Henry VIII’s agenda to install himself as the head of the Church of England, Richard Whitford was also Syon’s most prolific author. His writing provides pastoral guidance on a range of issues as well as powerful articulations of the value of religious life during the turbulent years preceding the king’s break from the Catholic Church. Published in 1541, Dyuers Holy Instrucyons is also the only Syon text printed after the dissolution of the monasteries. This text thus offers a rare perspective on the concerns of those faithful to the old religion from a religious brother who actively participated in the abbey’s campaign against Lutheran reformers. As with his previous work, Whitford’s Dyuers Holy Instrucyons maintains an openly confrontational stance toward radical reformers while offering instruction to readers on issues that would certainly have been topical for faithful who lived after the 1534 Act of Supremacy—issues focussed on patience, avoiding vice, impediments to spiritual perfection, and detraction. 

    This edition makes this significant work available for the first time to modern readers with crucial discussions of the history and themes of the texts, including the indivisibility of politics and religion in the early years of the Reformation and the crucial role that Syon Abbey played in the textual representation of this period in English history.

  • 8 Mar 2020 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    Publisher's description:

    Shifting ideas about Geoffrey Chaucer's audience have produced radically different readings of Chaucer's work over the course of the past century. Kathy Cawsey, in her book on the changing relationship among Chaucer, critics, and theories of audience, draws on Michel Foucault's concept of the 'author-function' to propose the idea of an 'audience function' which shows the ways critics' concepts of audience affect and condition their criticism. Focusing on six trend-setting Chaucerian scholars, Cawsey identifies the assumptions about Chaucer's audience underpinning each critic's work, arguing these ideas best explain the diversity of interpretation in Chaucer criticism. Further, Cawsey suggests few studies of Chaucer's own understanding of audience have been done, in part because Chaucer criticism has been conditioned by scholars' latent suppositions about Chaucer's own audience. In making sense of the confusing and conflicting mass of modern Chaucer criticism, Cawsey also provides insights into the development of twentieth-century literary criticism and theory.

  • 8 Mar 2020 2:22 PM | Anonymous

    Publisher's description:

    In the medieval period, as in the media culture of the present, learned and popular forms of talk were intermingled everywhere. They were also highly mobile, circulating in speech, writing, and symbol, as performances as well as in material objects. The communication through and between different media we all negotiate in daily life did not develop from a previous separation of orality and writing, but from a communications network not unlike our own, if slower, and similarly shaped by disparities of access. Truth and Tales: Cultural Mobility and Medieval Media, edited by Fiona Somerset and Nicholas Watson, develops a variety of approaches to the labor of imaginatively reconstructing this network from its extant artifacts. 

    Truth and Tales includes fourteen essays by medieval literary scholars and historians. Some essays focus on written artifacts that convey high or popular learning in unexpected ways. Others address a social problem of concern to all, demonstrating the genres and media through which it was negotiated. Still others are centered on one or more texts, detailing their investments in popular as well as learned knowledge, in performance as well as writing. This collective archaeology of medieval media provides fresh insight for medieval scholars and media theorists alike.
  • 8 Mar 2020 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    Publisher's description:

    During the Middle Ages, Mary was the most powerful of saints, and the combination of her humanity and her proximity to the divine captured the medieval imagination. Her importance is nowhere more clearly reflected than in the genre of “Miracles of the Virgin,” short narrative accounts of Mary’s miraculous intercessory powers. These stories tend to fit a basic narrative pattern in which Mary saves a devoted believer from spiritual or physical danger—but beneath this surface simplicity, the Miracles frequently evoke fine or revealing theological, social, and cultural distinctions. They are remarkably various in tone, ranging from the darkly serious to the comically scandalous, and many display anti-Semitism to a greater degree or with greater punch than do other medieval genres. Mary herself takes on a variety of characteristics, appearing as dominant and persuasive more often than she appears as gentle and maternal.

    This volume offers a small but representative sampling of what survives of this literature in the English language. The Middle English has been helpfully glossed and annotated, and is lightly modernized for ease of reading; one particularly challenging story is translated in facing-page format. The “In Context” sections provide relevant biblical passages and medieval versions of the Christian prayers frequently evoked in the miracles; additional samples of Marian poetry and medieval illustrations of Marian miracles are also included.
  • 8 Mar 2020 2:18 PM | Anonymous

    Publisher's description:

    Traditional scholarship on manuscripts has tended to focus on issues concerning their production and has shown comparatively little interest in the cultural contexts of the manuscript book. The Medieval Manuscript Book redresses this by focusing on aspects of the medieval book in its cultural situations. Written by experts in the study of the handmade book before print, this volume combines bibliographical expertise with broader insights into the theory and praxis of manuscript study in areas from bibliography to social context, linguistics to location, and archaeology to conservation. The focus of the contributions ranges widely, from authorship to miscellaneity, and from vernacularity to digital facsimiles of manuscripts. Taken as a whole, these essays make the case that to understand the manuscript book it must be analyzed in all its cultural complexity, from production to transmission to its continued adaptation.

  • 8 Mar 2020 2:17 PM | Anonymous

    Publisher's description:

    England has traditionally been understood as a latecomer to the use of forensic medicine in death investigation, lagging nearly two-hundred years behind other European authorities. Using the coroner's inquest as a lens, this book hopes to offer a fresh perspective on the process of death investigation in medieval England. The central premise of this book is that medical practitioners did participate in death investigation – although not in every inquest, or even most, and not necessarily in those investigations where we today would deem their advice most pertinent. The medieval relationship with death and disease, in particular, shaped coroners' and their jurors' understanding of the inquest's medical needs and led them to conclusions that can only be understood in context of the medieval world's holistic approach to health and medicine. Moreover, while the English resisted Southern Europe's penchant for autopsies, at times their findings reveal a solid understanding of internal medicine. By studying cause of death in the coroners' reports, this study sheds new light on subjects such as abortion by assault, bubonic plague, cruentation, epilepsy, insanity, senescence, and unnatural death.

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