In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 155 exemplary scholarship, uninfluenced by any adherence to transient theorizing, will retain value for anyone interested in the twelfth century and in the role of women in northern Europe in the Middle Ages. R. Ian Jack Department of History University of Sydney Copland, Robert, Poems, ed. Mary C. Erler, Toronto/Buffalo/London, University of Toronto Press, 1993; cloth; pp. x, 272; 12 illustrations; R.R.P. CAN$60.00. Robert Copland's career as poet, printer, translator, and editor places him at the heart of the emergent print culture of early-sixteenth-century England. Despite a lack of formal education, he set out to follow 'the trace of m y mayster Caxton'. His own ventures, closely associated with the more prolific workshop of Wynkyn de Worde, spanned the reign of Henry VIII. His work consistently illuminated the conjunction of elite and popular cultures facilitated by the new medium. As Erler observes, when Copland began writing, the accepted sources of literary authority were the court and the Church, and the leading poets Stephen Hawes and John Skelton. Yet for Copland, 'authorship springs directly out of the world of early printing, with its constitutive elements of commerce and technology as well as literature'. Copland wrote only a handful of longer poems. These alone would barely justify the attention accorded him by this edition. In works such as The seven sorowes that women have when theyr husbandes be deade, and The hye way to the spytell hous, Erler discerns a conjunction of medieval formulae with intimations of psychological realism. Perhaps just as important is the carnivalesque populism apparent in lyl of Braintfords testament, shaped around the subversive symbolism and bodily production of a 'homly' widow's farts. The poem rambles to a crescendo as Jyl groans, 'And lift up her buttok somwhat a wry / And like a handgun, she let a fart fly'. The most enlightening aspect of this edition, however, is the emphasis it places on Copland's occasional verse, retrieved from early books and pamphlets. 'Such verse', Erler claims, 'appears to have been considered by contemporaries an important element in the volume's finished and pleasing presentation'. In the romance Guystarde and Sygysmonde, the printer 156 Reviews interjects a running commentary. In The kalender ofshepeherdes, he adds to the intriguing jumble of practical information and moral didacticism. And, in numerous texts he addresses the reader through prefaces and envoys. These poems provide a goldmine of comment on the status of print. Copland laments the influence of passing fashion in the popular appetite for books, acknowledges poor standards of spelling and punctuation, and even claims that the public has lost interest in the printed word. His remarkable envoy to Chaucer's Parliament of fowls celebrates the transition from manuscript to print, which preserves a text 'frome ruynous domage / In snowe wyte paper', and allows for the modernization of 'termes olde'. Erler's impeccably researched volume offers insight into the man and his milieu. She retains Copland's spelling and punctuation, provides extensive details about the books with which he was involved, and reproduces original woodcuts. The edition reveals a man who enjoyed neither the financial success of de Worde, nor the literary reputation of Skelton. As such, however, he typifies the movement towards a new cultural industry. Like many who followed him into the printing houses of London, Copland believed in the potential of his medium to promote literary and moral values, yet simultaneously felt constrained by the tradesman's motivation to 'get a peny as wel as I can'. Andrew McRae Department of English University of Sydney Davis, Lloyd, Guise and disguise: rhetoric and characterization in the English Renaissance, Toronto/Buffalo/London, University of Toronto Press, 1993; cloth; pp. ix, 217; R.R.P. CAN$45.00. Early Modern scholars would, I a m sure, be grateful for a seven day moratorium on the publication of new books. It is impossible to do justice to all of the new studies being churned out. This, Lloyd Davis's fourth book, might make one's heart sink, because it compels a thorough reading. Exhaustively researched, as well as both imaginative and critically acute, i t covers an enormous amount of ground in...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 155-156
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
N
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.