The Trope of Clothing in High- and Late-Medieval England
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The Ohio State University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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I would like to express my first thanks to Christopher Baswell for his unwav-ering confidence in me since my years as an undergraduate and in particu-lar for his discerning eye and his invaluable suggestions with regard to this project when it was in dissertation form. I would also like to thank Timea Szell, whose humor and brilliance sparked my first interest in medieval litera-...
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The “experience” of clothing in late-medieval England, to borrow John Lydgate’s wording, was the experience of change. Clothing, as his Fall of Princes (1431–39) reminds us, marked not only Adam and Eve’s radical turn from the static state of grace and innocence—thei stood in staat—into the falling, erring, mutable material realm of “deth and pouerte” (658), but ...
1. Fortune's Habits: Boethian Lessons on Clothing and Being
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Local spectators attending the morality play Bien Advisé et Mal Advisé in Rennes, Brittany, in 1439 would have beheld the dramatic introduction of four kings costumed in different stages of wealth and status and named, respectively, Regnabo, Regno, Regnavi, and Sine regno: I shall reign, I reign, I have reigned, I am without reign. After watching the kings assume their ...
2. Fashioning Change: Wearing Fortune's Garments in High- and Late-Medieval England
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The vestimentary habits of thought and practice outlined in Boethius’s Con-solatio provided writers throughout medieval Europe with a theoretical struc-ture through which to explore the pleasures and dangers of materialism. As I discussed in chapter 1, while Boethius was interested in examining the allure of material objects in general and clothing in particular, he stayed away from ...
3. The Case of the Bishop's Capa: Vestimentary Change and Divine Law in the Thirteenth Century
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The luxurious episcopal capa (cape or cope) that emerged at the center of Church ceremony in the thirteenth century came under the scrutiny of two very different texts, Bishop William Durand’s monumental liturgical treatise, the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum (Rationale for the Divine Offices), and a little-known macaronic satirical poem, “Song Upon the Tailors,” found in ...
4. In Swich Richesse: Povre Griselda and the All-Consuming Archewyves
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The late-medieval fascination with naked Griselda and her changes of cloth-ing is, at its heart, according to modern critical discussion, a fascination with translation. Most influential in this respect have been the studies of Chaucer’s Clerk’s Tale by Carolyn Dinshaw and David Wallace, which have deepened our comprehension of Griselda’s sartorial symbolism through an understand-...
5. English Galaunts and the Aesthetic Event
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Lesser-known precursor to the fop and the dandy, the English galaunt (gal-lant), or “man of fashion,” is perhaps best known as a socioliterary type in early modern English drama.3 Scholars of this period have pointed out the important role that the early modern gallant plays in processes and notions of both social and theatrical performance, outlining the ways in which these ever-...
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The chapters of this book have treated the symbolic function of clothing in medieval literature and culture by examining the theoretical roots and the material circumstances of a single multifaceted trope—vestimentary change—in high- and late-medieval Europe. After demonstrating the impor-tance of this trope to the dominant medieval theory of material change, ...
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Other Works in the Series
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Interventions: New Studies in Medieval Culture publishes theoretically informed work in medieval literary and cultural studies. We are interested both in studies of medieval culture and in work on the continuing importance of medieval tropes and Revivalist Fantasy: Alliterative Verse and Nationalist Literary HistoryInventing Womanhood: Gender and Language in Later Middle English Writing...
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Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 7 halftones
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Interventions: New Studies in Medieval Culture
Series Editor Byline: Ethan Knapp