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Macaronic Sermons

Bilingualism and Preaching in Late-Medieval England

Siegfried Wenzel

Publication Year: 1994

Siegfried Wenzel's groundbreaking study seeks to describe and analyze the linguistically mixed, or macaronic, sermons in late fourteenth-century England. Not only are these works of considerable religious interest, they provide extensive information on their literary, linguistic, and cultural milieux. Macaronic Sermons begins by offering a typology of such works: those in which English words offer glosses, or offer structural functions, or offer neither of the two but yet are syntactically integrated. This last group is then examined in detail: reasons are given for this usage and for its origins, based on the realities of fourteenth-century England. Siefriend Wenzel draws valuable conclusions about the linguistic status quo of the era, together with the extent of education, the audiences' expectations, and the ways in which the authors' minds worked. Obviously of interest to scholars and students of early English literature, Macaronic Sermons also contains much valuable information for specialists in language development or oral theory, and for those interested in multicultural societies.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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p. xiii

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Chapter 1: Macaronic Literature

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pp. 1-12

Any society or social group in which at least some members are more or less fluent in more than one language tends to produce "texts," both oral and written, that mix languages in one form or another. Thus, when two of the heirs of Charlemagne's empire, after years of civil war, came to an agreement, they confirmed it with oaths spoken in the language...

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Chapter 2: Types of Bilingual Sermons

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pp. 13-30

Such sermons as the one quoted in the previous chapter were only part of a larger field of sermons in which two languages--Latin and English, for our purposes--appear side by side. Of the sermons produced in England during the century from 1350 to 1450, a high percentage show some degree of such mixture. The amount of English in them may be...

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Chapter 3: The Manuscripts

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pp. 31-64

The forty-three sermons I have classified as fully macaronic are found in thirteen separate manuscripts, which must now be examined in some detail. In this chapter I discuss the company the macaronic sermons keep, the kind of manuscripts that have preserved them, and the occasions, purposes, intended audiences, and authorship or at least affiliation of the...

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Chapter 4: Macaronic Sermons

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pp. 65-80

As we turn to fully macaronic sermons in particular and examine features already discussed in chapter 3--such as the makeup of individual manuscripts and the authorship, audience, and occasions of the sermons they preserve--the following pages may at first appear somewhat repetitive, but they will soon yield a more finely-tuned characterization of...

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Chapter 5: Macoronic Texture

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pp. 81-104

The sermons studied here are compositions whose basic fabric is in Latin but in which parts appear in English. The latter should not be thought of as foreign elements woven into the basic fabric; the strands of the fabric themselves change here and there from one language to the other. I will now examine this macaronic texture more closely by looking at...

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Chapter 6: Bilingualism in Action

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pp. 105-129

Though the rhetorical art of the passage quoted at the end of the preceding chapter does not appear consistently on every page of every macaronic sermon, it is sufficiently widespread to suggest, together with the preachers' use of sophisticated structural devices typical of the scholastic sermon, that these sermons are products of deliberate rhetorical...


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p. 131

Appendix A: Inventories of Manuscripts and Sermons

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pp. 133-211

Appendix B: Sermon S-07, Amore langueo

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pp. 212-267

Appendix C: Sermon O-07, De celo querebant

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pp. 268-307

Appendix D: Sermon W-154, Quem teipsum facis

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pp. 308-345

Appendix E: Statistical Table

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pp. 347-348


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pp. 349-356


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pp. 357-361

E-ISBN-13: 9780472021468
E-ISBN-10: 047202146X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472105212
Print-ISBN-10: 0472105213

Page Count: 376
Publication Year: 1994

OCLC Number: 593270128
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Macaronic Sermons

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Latin prose literature, Medieval and modern -- England -- History and criticism.
  • Bilingualism -- England -- History -- To 1500.
  • Christian literature, English (Middle) -- History and criticism.
  • Sermons, Medieval -- England -- History and criticism.
  • Teaching sermons -- History and criticism.
  • England -- Intellectual life -- 1066-1485.
  • English prose literature -- Middle English, 1100-1500 -- History and criticism.
  • Preaching -- England -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
  • Sermons, Latin -- History and criticism.
  • Macaronic literature -- History and criticism.
  • Christian literature, Latin (Medieval and modern) -- England -- History and criticism.
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