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REVIEWS127 and on to the fabrication, around the figure of Oldcastle, of an extensive, selfserving polemic linking heresy, treason, and counterfeiting as coordinate parts ofa plot to subvert Church and Crown (Chapter Five). Of particular note is Strohm's somewhat revisionist assessment of the activity and threat ofLollardy, which he sees as largely constructed by the Lancastrian Church and State for their political convenience. He argues persuasively (45-53), for example, that the institutional Church used the notoriously difficult Eucharistie doctrine of transsubstantiation to entrap those perceived as threats to civil and ecclesiastical authority, irrespective of their actual views on the sacrament. I suspect that this approach will generate a widespread reconsideration ofdocuments ofall kinds dealing with late medieval religious nonconformity—an outcome that Strohm, whose own arguments are scrupulously provisional, is sure to welcome. ROBERT W. MANNING Columbia University Alfred Thomas, Anne's Bohemia: Czech Literature and Society, 1310-1420, foreword by David Wallace. Medieval Cultures, 13. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998. Pp. xix, 193. isbn: 0-8166-3053-4. $49.95 (cloth), isbn: 0-8166-30542 . $19.95 (paper). Though the events ofher life have yet to be reliably documented, Anne of Bohemia's associations with Geoffrey Chaucer, public mediations between Richard and his subjects, and ownership of a trilingual Bible, make her one of the most frequently mentioned of medieval queens. But those who open this volume expecting details ofAnne's early life at the brilliant court ofher father Charles IV will be disappointed. Her marriage indeed transferred to England some of the Bohemian court's international sheen, but Thomas says nothing ofher role in that process; only David Wallace's foreword suggests (xii) that Chaucer 'learned as much about Petrarch from Bohemians in Westminster as... from Italians in Genoa, Florence, and Milan.' That said, it must be emphasized that this book is ofconsiderable merit. It exposes to English-speaking readers the sophistication and richness of Czech vernacular culture at a time when the Bohemian court was among the most cosmopolitan in Europe. As Wallace makes clear, the book's persistent undercurrent is the Hussite heretical movement, which took much impetus from John Wycliffe's writings. Thomas does not merely document obvious links; rather, he seeks the traditions oftextual culture that preceded, transmitted and surrounded the Hussite movement within Bohemia. Hand in hand with this emphasis goes attention to the slow but massively influential shift in both kingdoms from Latin to the vernacular as the language of orthodox and heterodox belief (xiii). Thomas's first chapter after the introduction is a prologue, in which he helpfully discusses Old Church Slavonic, Latin and Czech literary production in Bohemia before 1310. Each chapter then focuses primarily on a single work produced between 1310 and 1420. Thomas admirably observes parameters suggested in his introduction, 128ARTHURIANA and convincingly deals with an impressive variety of genres. Attention to gender and ethnicity is carefully but very naturally maintained and contributes greatly to the generally satisfying tone of Thomas's discussion. Some background material may, however, strike the reader as unproblematized—e.g, the reasons for the Church's 'new openness' to women in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries (34). Of the later chapters, ? Literature ofTheir Own' examines writings for and by Bohemian women; such literary creation tended to parallel the realm's political fortunes, and flourished particularly in Charles IVs reign, when charismatic piety and patronage afforded women ample scope for literary activity. 'The War of the Bohemian Maidens' analyzes a legendary account of the realm's foundation and its permutations at the hands ofmale writers who made the maidens symbols ofwomen's loquacity, a change Thomas relates to women's resort to the vernacular. 'Alien Bodies' employs a close reading of an obscene poem, 'The Ointment Seller,' to establish Czech writers' use of body imagery to construct and exclude the otherness of Jews, women and Germans. The LegendofSaintProcopius, studied in ? Bohemian Imitano Christi,' alludes to Charles IVs restoration ofthe Slavonic liturgy. The complex late medieval image ofwoman as virgin, mother and teacher emerges from 'The Radiant Rose,' an analysis of the Life ofSaint Catherine, possibly written for Queen Anne's mother, Empress Anne of Schweidnitz. In 'Bohemian Knights,' Thomas turns to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1539
Print ISSN
1078-6279
Pages
pp. 127-128
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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