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Chaucer to Spenser: A Critical Reader (Blackwell Critical Readers)by Derek Pearsall
Synopses & Reviews
This is a collection of previously published essays on late medieval and early modern literature, designed to act as a companion to Chaucer to Spenser: An Anthology of Writings in English 1375 -1575, edited by Derek Pearsall (1999).
The object of the accompanying anthology is to provide representation of a variety of kinds of prose and verse, including some not traditionally regarded as canonically "literary", and also to trespass beyond the boundaries of the conventional medieval/early modern divide. This new volume provides some of the critical backing for those decisions about the canon and about periodization, and also give evidence of the vigor of opinion and debate in the field in general.
Most of the essays are from the last 20 years, and some are very recent, though space is also found for some earlier classics. The collection pays particular attention to those critics who have had the most powerful recent impact on our reading of the texts of the period: they are selected for their excellence and importance, whether in themselves or as representatives of an influential critical approach, and not for their adherence to any one school of interpretation. They will provide a companion to the texts in the anthology, a commentary and counterpoint to the views expressed in the editor's headnotes and explanatory notes, and a perspective on the best that has been thought and said about the writing of these two extraordinary centuries of creativity, consolidation and seed-sowing.
This major new anthology of English writing represents the work of Chaucer, Langland, the Gawain poet, Malory, Henryson, Skelton, More, Wyatt, Spenser, and other major writers of the period 1375-1575. It presents the works not in isolation but in the full context of non-dramatic writing during these two centuries, resulting in a complete medieval reader. The collection includes not just the canonical literary texts, but all writing of literary, interest, including accounts of inquisitions and speeches from the scaffold. No attempt is made to define 'the late Middle Ages' or to draw a line under 'the Middle Ages'.
All texts are newly edited from original sources, with occasional modification of spelling to remove misleadingly eccentric forms, and with hard words glossed at the side of the page.
The anthology provides, through its texts and apparatus, a solid first-hand understanding of 200 years of English literary culture.
This collection of previously published essays acts as a companion to Chaucer to Spenser: An Anthology of Writings in English 1375 -1575. It pays particular attention to those critics who have had the most powerful recent impact on our reading of the texts of the period.
About the Author
Derek Pearsall is the Gurney Professor of English at Harvard University and was Professor and Co-Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York, 1965-85. His numerous publications include Chaucer to Spenser: An Anthology (1999) and The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer (1992) both available from Blackwell. He is also the author of John Lydgate (1970), Old English and Middle English Poetry (1977), The Canterbury Tales: A Critical Study (1985), An Annotated Critical Bibliography of Langland (1990).
Table of Contents
Notes on Contributors.
1. The Humanity of Christ: Reflections on Orthodox Late Medieval Representations and The Humanity of Christ: Representations in Wycliffite Texts and Piers Plowman: David Aers.
2. The Wife of Bath and the Painting of Lions: Mary Carruthers.
3. Eunuch Hermeneutics: Carolyn Dinshaw.
4. Misogyny and Economic Person in Skelton, Langland, and Chaucer: Elizabeth Fowler.
5. At the Table of the Great: More's Self-Fashioning and Self-Cancellation: Stephen Greenblatt.
6. The Colonial Wyatt: Contexts and Openings: Roland Greene.
7. Price and Value in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Jill Mann.
8. William Langland's Kynde Name: Authorial Signature and Social Identity in Late Fourteenth-Century England: Anne Middleton.
9. Historical Criticism and the Claims of Humanism: Lee Patterson.
10.'Abject odious': Feminine and Masculine in Henryson's Testament of Cresseid: Felicity Riddy.
11. Prison, Writing, Absence: Representing the Subject in the English Poems of Charles d'Orléans: A. C. Spearing.
12. False Fables and Historical Truth: Paul Strohm.
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