In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 175 closet in The Honest Whore as an example of the secularisation of the smaU room, formerly a place of devotion. Certainly in the women's diaries that exist—by aristocratic w o m e n such as Lady Anne Clifford and Lady Margaret Hoby—the closet is a space of feminine privilege. Class may of course interact with gender here to produce a different kind of private space avaUable to women, but later, at least, even the more humble Anne Venn could hide her writings in her closet until her death (as stated by Thomas Weld's preface to her Wise Virgin's Lamp Burning, published in 1658), and Mary Wroth's romance The Countess of Mountgomerie's Urania (1621) is fuU of references to the heroine's closet, the place to which she withdraws regularly to write and read. In places bike this, the book seems to betray the processes of its production in its o w n lack of homogeneity. The kind of critical language used varies at points, and I found myself (irrationaUy?) irritated by occasional repetitions of quotation and phrasing between chapters (for example, Gouge's appeal to the traditional idea of marriage on pp. 23 and 61; Heywood's redefinition of the moraUty play on pp. 68 and 83), a problem which appears to stem from different stages of the writing process. OccasionaUy, too, an argument apparently 'forgets' a statement made elsewhere—as with the 'transformation from the feudal great household' (p. 69), a view expUcitly qualified earlier on p. 28. Despite such minor shortcomings, though, this book provides an interesting revision of a genre of early m o d e m drama that has had too Uttle attention paid to it. Kim Walker Department of English Victoria University of Wellington Constable, Giles, Culture and Spirituality in Medieval Europe (CoUect Studies Series 541), Aldershot, Variorum, 1996; cloth; pp. vui, 318; 14 b / w ulustrations; R.R.P. £47.50. This coUection of twelve articles, originaUy pubUshed between 1982 and 1994, forms a strongly unified book covering three broad areas; medieval epistolography, with an emphasis on forged letters; the 176 Reviews perception of the past in the eleventh and twelfth centuries; and the reUgious life, concentrating on ascetic practices and internal spiritual states. However, the Variorum format, which does not repaginate and uses the original typefaces and formatting of each article, results in i t proving something of a trial to read cover to cover. The individual articles are generaUy of very high quality, and weU-written: the opening two, 'Forgery and Plagiarism in the Middle Ages' and 'Forged Letters in the Middle Ages', some sixty-five pages taken together, explore questions such as what was the nature of truth for medieval people; w h y medieval forgers seldom forged for personal gain, but more often did so for the advancement of a cause or some other 'high purpose' (I, p. 7); the standards by which forgeries were recognised in the Middle Ages; and the way in which forgeries and plagiarisms can be considered entirely typical products of their time. The passing mention of 'great' medieval forgers such as Ademar of Chabannes reminds the reader that m u c h scholarship has supplemented knowledge of this subject in the last fifteen years: for example, Richard Landes' exceUent and thought-provoking Relics, Apocalypse and the Deceits of History: Ademar of Chabannes 989-1034 (1995). However, these essays are witty and elegant, and are often Uluminating in reference to the present era's fascination with Uterary hoaxes and jokes. 'Past and Present in the Eleventh and TweUth Centuries: Perceptions of Change' and 'A Living Past: the Historical Environment of the Middle Ages', provide a sustained meditation over fifty-five pages on the awareness of the past in the medieval period. Constable considers attitudes to time among thinkers as diverse as Henri Bergson, E d m u n d Husserl and Mircea Eliade, and reviews contemporary scholarship on the development of new genres of writing, and n e w attitudes to the individual and to personal experience, during his designated period. Constable sees the medieval understanding of time as 'a mixture of cyclical, linear, and folkloristic concepts...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 175-178
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.