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The Idea of the Literary in Medieval England
Renewed interest in aesthetics, in form, and the idea of the literary has led some scholars to announce the arrival of a “new formalism,” but the provisional histories of such a critical rebirth tend to begin well after the beginning, paying scant attention to medieval literary scholarship, much less the Middle Ages. The essays in Answerable Style: The Idea of the Literary in Medieval England offer a collective rebuke to the assumption that any such aesthetic turn can succeed without careful attention to the history and criticism of “the medieval literary.” Taking as their touchstone the influential work of Anne Middleton, whose searching explorations of the dialectical intersection of form and history in Middle English writing lie at the heart of the medievalist’s literary critical enterprise, the essays in this volume address the medieval idea of the literary, with special focus on the poetry of Chaucer, Langland, and Gower. The essays, by a notable array of medievalists, range from the “contact zones” between clerical culture and vernacular writing, to manuscript study and its effects on the modalities of “persona” and voicing, to the history of emotion as a basis for new literary ideals, to the reshapings of the genre of tragedy in response to late-medieval visions of history, and finally to the relations between poets writing in different medieval vernaculars. With this unusually broad yet thematically complementary set of essays, Answerable Style offers a set of key critical and historical reference points for questions currently preoccupying literary study.
The Art Markets in Italy, 1400-1700
The volume investigates the registers of fifteenth-century supplications to the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See and presents an analysis of a multiplicity of issues in which a context of the local needs of Western Christians and the central power of the Pope occurred. The contributions make it clear that local and individual factors and the Christian faith and religion in practice must not be seen as separate from the global power of the Roman curia. The latter's influence could become directly important for any individual in any local space, even ...et usque ad ultimum terrae (Acts 1:8), in the utmost peripheries of the Christian world. It is shown that the assistance of the Apostolic Penitentiary was indispensable in a large variety of cases. Such cases were dealt with both in the local, regional space and in the globalized centre of the Holy See.
On There Being Only One Intellect
The introduction places the work historically and sketches the controversy to which it was a contribution. Part 2 includes the Latin Leonine text and McInerny's translation. Part 3 analyzes the basic arguments of Thomas's work and provides a series of interpretive essays meant to make Thomas accessible to today's readers.
The basic distinctions McInerny introduces, his criticism of the central piece in the literature, Cajetan's De nominum analogia, the applications he makes to problems such as that of the nature of metaphysics or of logic, his knowledge of contemporary debates on related topics, combine to make his contribution unique
Poetry, Public Performance, and the Presentation of the Past
Arabic literary salons emerged in ninth-century Iraq and, by the tenth, were flourishing in Baghdad and other urban centers. In an age before broadcast media and classroom education, salons were the primary source of entertainment and escape for middle- and upper-rank members of society, serving also as a space and means for educating the young. Although salons relied on a culture of oral performance from memory, scholars of Arabic literature have focused almost exclusively on the written dimensions of the tradition. That emphasis, argues Samer Ali, has neglected the interplay of oral and written, as well as of religious and secular knowledge in salon society, and the surprising ways in which these seemingly discrete categories blurred in the lived experience of participants. Looking at the period from 500 to 1250, and using methods from European medieval studies, folklore, and cultural anthropology, Ali interprets Arabic manuscripts in order to answer fundamental questions about literary salons as a social institution. He identifies salons not only as sites for socializing and educating, but as loci for performing literature and oral history; for creating and transmitting cultural identity; and for continually reinterpreting the past. A fascinating recovery of a key element of humanistic culture, Ali’s work will encourage a recasting of our understanding of verbal art, cultural memory, and daily life in medieval Arab culture.
A Forgotten Heritage
Arabic culture was a central and shaping phenomenon in medieval Europe, yet its influence on medieval literature has been ignored or marginalized for the last two centuries. In this ground-breaking book, now returned to print with a new afterword by the author, María Rosa Menocal argues that major modifications of the medieval canon and its literary history are necessary.
Menocal reviews the Arabic cultural presence in a variety of key settings, including the courts of William of Aquitaine and Frederick II, the universities in London, Paris, and Bologna, and Cluny under Peter the Venerable, and she examines how our perception of specific texts including the courtly love lyric and the works of Dante and Boccaccio would be altered by an acknowledgment of the Arabic cultural component.
Insular Fictions from Chivalric Romance to the Novel
Theodore Evergates provides the first systematic analysis of the aristocracy in the county of Champagne under the independent counts. He argues that three factors—the rise of the comital state, fiefholding, and the conjugal family—were critical to shaping a loose assortment of baronial and knightly families into an aristocracy with shared customs, institutions, and identity. Evergates mines the rich, varied, and in some respects unique collection of source materials from Champagne to provide a dynamic picture of a medieval aristocracy and its evolving symbiotic relationship with the counts.
Count Henry the Liberal (1152-81) began the process of transforming a quasi-independent baronage accustomed to collegial governance into an elite of landholding families subordinate to the count and his officials. By the time Countess Jeanne married the future King Philip IV of France in 1284, the fiefholding families of Champagne had become a distinct provincial nobility. Throughout, it was the conjugal community, rather than primogeniture or patrilineage, that remained the core familial institution determining the customs regarding community property, dowry, dower, and partible inheritance. Those customs guaranteed that every lineage would survive, but frequently through a younger son or daughter. The life courses of women and men, influenced not only by social norms but also by individual choice and circumstance, were equally unpredictable. Evergates concludes that imposed models of "the aristocratic family" fail to capture the diversity of individual lives and lineages within one of the more vibrant principalities of medieval France.
Were aristocratic women in medieval France little more than appendages to patrilineal families, valued as objects of exchange and necessary only for the production of male heirs? Such was the view proposed by the great French historian Georges Duby more than three decades ago and still widely accepted. In Aristocratic Women in Medieval France another model is put forth: women of the landholding elite—from countesses down to the wives of ordinary knights—had considerable rights, and exercised surprising power.
The authors of the volume offer five case studies of women from the mid-eleventh through the thirteenth centuries, and from regions as diverse as Blois-Chartres, Champagne, Flanders, and Occitania. They show not only the diversity of life experiences these women enjoyed but the range of social and political roles open to them. The ecclesiastical and secular sources they mine confirm that women were regarded as full members of both their natal and affinal families, were never excluded from inheriting and controlling property, and did not have their share of family property limited to dowries. Women across France exchanged oaths for fiefs and assumed responsibilities for enfeoffed knights. As feudal lords, they settled disputes involving vassals, fortified castles, and even led troops into battle.
Aristocratic Women in Medieval France clearly shows that it is no longer possible to depict well-born women as powerless in medieval society. Demonstrating the importance of aristocratic women in a period during which they have been too long assumed to have lacked influence, it forces us to reframe our understanding of the high Middle Ages.