restricted access From Courtesy to Urbanity in Late Medieval England

In Middle English courtesy poetry of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, guidelines for courtly manners and mannerisms became more complex. In this article, I examine a variety of medieval manuscripts from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. These manuscripts preserve texts intended for a diverse and increasingly urban group of readers who are urged to cultivate proper manners and to develop a rhetorical, ethical, and literary awareness of their cultural heritage. My reading demonstrates that manners began to migrate towards the non-noble classes as early as the fifteenth century as a means of social mobility and as a component of urban, non-agrarian social norms.