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Studies by Time Period > Medieval and Renaissance Studies

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Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising Cover

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Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising

Poetry and the Problem of the Populace After 1381

By Lynn Arner

Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising examines the spread of Greco-Roman and European literature into English during late fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century, a time when literacy was burgeoning among men and women from the non-ruling classes. The dissemination of cultural authority inherent in this process offered the radically democratizing potential for accessing, interpreting, and deploying learned texts. Focusing primarily on an overlooked sector of Chaucer’s and Gower’s early readership, namely, the upper strata of non-ruling urban classes, Lynn Arner argues that Chaucer’s and Gower’s writings, in addition to being key conduits of literary riches into English, engaged in elaborate processes of constructing cultural expertise. These writings helped to define gradations of cultural authority, determining who could contribute to the production of legitimate knowledge and granting certain socioeconomic groups political leverage in the wake of the English Rising of 1381. Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising shows how English poetry became a powerful participant in processes of social control.

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The Chaucer Review

Vol. 34, no. 3 (2000) through current issue

Founded in 1966, The Chaucer Review is the journal of Chaucerian research. The Chaucer Review publishes studies of language, sources, social and political contexts, aesthetics, and associated meanings of Chaucer's poetry, as well as articles on medieval literature, philosophy, theology, and mythography relevant to study of the poet and his contemporaries, predecessors, and audiences. It acts as a forum for the presentation and discussion of research and concepts about Chaucer and the literature of the Middle Ages.

Chaucer's (Anti-)Eroticisms and the Queer Middle Ages Cover

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Chaucer's (Anti-)Eroticisms and the Queer Middle Ages

Using queer theory to untangle all types of nonnormative sexual identities, Tison Pugh uses Chaucer’s work to expose the ongoing tension in the Middle Ages between an erotic culture that glorified love as an ennobling passion and an anti-erotic religious and philosophical tradition that denigrated love and (perhaps especially) its enactments. Chaucer’s (Anti‑)Eroticisms and the Queer Middle Ages considers the many ways in which anti-eroticisms complicate the conventional image of Chaucer. With chapters addressing such topics as mutual masochism, homosocial brotherhood, necrotic erotics, queer families, and the eroticisms of Chaucer’s God, Chaucer’s (Anti‑)Eroticisms will forever change the way readers see the Canterbury Tales and Chaucer’s other masterpieces. For Chaucer, erotic pursuits establish the thrust and tenor of many of his narratives, as they also expose the frustrations inherent in pursuing desires frowned upon by the religious foundations of Western medieval culture. One cannot love freely within an ideological framework that polices sexuality and privileges the anti-erotic Christian ideals of virginity and chastity, yet loving queerly creates escapes from social structures inimical to amour and its expressions in the medieval period. Thus Chaucer is not just England’s foundational love poet, he is also England’s foundational queer poet.

Chaucer’s England Cover

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Chaucer’s England

Literature in Historical Context

Barbara Hanawalt

Chaucer’s England presents new interpretations of late fourteenth-century English society through a unique combination of historical inquiry and literary analysis.  Beginning with the turbulent reign of Richard I and Bolingbroke’s coup, the contributors look at organized crime, illiteracy, patronage, the influence Richard might have had personally over the remarkable literary production of the period, the concepts of gentility that shaped Chaucer’s own thinking, the pervasive influence of hunting on medieval literature, the role London played as the center of both the court and the literary world, and more.

Contributors to the volume include:

Caroline Barron, Royal Holloway and Bedford College

Michael Bennett, University of Tasmania

Lawrence Clopper, Indiana University

Susan Crane, Rutgers University

Richard Firth Green, University of Western Ontario

Barbara Hanawalt, University of Minnesota

Nicholas Orme, University of Exeter

Nigel Saul, Royal Holloway and Bedford College

Paul Strohm, Indiana University

David Wallace, University of Minnesota

Christian Demonology and Popular Cover

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Christian Demonology and Popular

Edied by Gabor Gabor Klaniczay and Eva Pocs

The authors—recognized historians, ethnologists, folklorists coming from four continents—present the latest research findings on the relationship, coexistence and conflicts of popular belief systems, Judeo-Christian mythology and demonology in medieval and modern Europe. The present volume focuses on the divergence between Western and Eastern evolution, on the different relationship of learned demonology to popular belief systems in the two parts of Europe. It discusses the conflict of saints, healers, seers, shamans with the representatives of evil; the special function of escorting, protecting, possessing, harming and healing spirits; the role of the dead, the ghosts, of pre-Christian, Jewish and Christian spirit-world, the antagonism of the devil and the saint.

Christian Society and the Crusades, 1198-1229 Cover

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Christian Society and the Crusades, 1198-1229

Sources in Translation, including "The Capture of Damietta" by Oliver of Paderborn

Edited by Edward Peters

During the thirteenth century, the widespread conviction that the Christian lands in Syria and Palestine were of utmost importance to Christendom, and that their loss was a sure sign of God's displeasure with Christian society, pervaded nearly all levels of thought. Yet this same society faced other crises: religious dissent and unorthodox beliefs were proliferating in western Europe, and the powers exercised, or claimed, by the kings of Europe were growing rapidly.

The sources presented here illustrate the rising criticism of the changing Crusade idea. They reflect a sharpened awareness among Europeans of themselves as a community of Christians and the slow beginnings of the secular culture and political organization of Europe.

Christianity's Quiet Success Cover

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Christianity's Quiet Success

The Eusebius Gallicanus Sermon Collection and the Power of the Church in Late Antique Gaul

Lisa Kaaren Bailey

Lisa Kaaren Bailey’s Christianity’s Quiet Success: The Eusebius Gallicanus Sermon Collection and the Power of the Church in Late Antique Gaul is the first major study of the Eusebius Gallicanus collection of anonymous, multi-authored sermons from fifth- and sixth-century Gaul. Bailey sheds new light on these sermons, which were strikingly popular and influential from late antiquity to the High Middle Ages, as the large number of surviving manuscripts attests. They were used for centuries by clergy as a preaching guide and by monks and pious lay people as devotional reading. Bailey’s analysis demonstrates the extent to which these stylistically simple and straightforward sermons emphasize consensus, harmony, and mutuality as the central values of a congregation. Preachers encouraged tolerance among their congregants and promoted a model of leadership that placed themselves at the center of the community rather than above it. These sermons make clear the delicate balancing act required of late antique and warly medieval pastors as they attempted to explain the Christian faith and also maintain the clerical control considered necessary for a universal church. The Eusebius Gallicanus collection gives us fresh insight inyo the process by which the Catholic Church influenced the lives of Western Europeans.

Christine de Pizan and the Fight for France Cover

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Christine de Pizan and the Fight for France

By Tracy Adams

In Christine de Pizan and the Fight for France, Tracy Adams offers a reevaluation of Christine de Pizan’s literary engagement with contemporary politics. Adams locates Christine’s works within a detailed narrative of the complex history of the dispute between the Burgundians and the Armagnacs, the two largest political factions in fifteenth-century France. Contrary to what many scholars have long believed, Christine consistently supported the Armagnac faction throughout her literary career and maintained strong ties to Louis of Orleans and Isabeau of Bavaria. Adams claims that Christine’s writings not only voiced support for Louis and Isabeau in opposition to John of Burgundy, but also contributed to defining kingship and creating authority in France’s turbulent political climate. In addition, Christine promoted, defended, and profoundly affected the nature of female regency as it developed in France from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries. Alternating between chapters focusing on the historical context of the Armagnac-Burgundian feud at different moments, and chapters offering close readings of Christine’s poetry and prose, Adams shows the ways in which the writer was closely engaged with and influenced the volatile politics of her time.

The Church in the Republic Cover

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The Church in the Republic

Gallicanism and political ideology in Renaissance France

Jotham Parsons

The Church in the Republic offers a new interpretation of the relationship between religion and politics in Europe at the dawn of the modern age.

Cinematic Hamlet Cover

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Cinematic Hamlet

The Films of Olivier, Zeffirelli, Branagh, and Almereyda

Patrick J. Cook

Hamlet has inspired four outstanding film adaptations that continue to delight a wide and varied audience and to offer provocative new interpretations of Shakespeare’s most popular play. Cinematic Hamlet contains the first scene-by-scene analysis of the methods used by Laurence Olivier, Franco Zeffirelli, Kenneth Branagh, and Michael Almereyda to translate Hamlet into highly distinctive and remarkably effective films.

 
Applying recent developments in neuroscience and psychology, Patrick J. Cook argues that film is a medium deploying an abundance of devices whose task it is to direct attention away from the film’s viewing processes and toward the object represented. Through careful analysis of each film’s devices, he explores the ways in which four brilliant directors rework the play into a radically different medium, engaging the viewer through powerful instinctive drives and creating audiovisual vehicles that support and complement Shakespeare’s words and story.
 
Cinematic Hamlet will prove to be indispensable for anyone wishing to understand how these films rework Shakespeare into the powerful medium of film.

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