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STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER intricate nesting of literary texts in their cultural contexts and to the theorizing of relations between materiality and imaginary structures, this book raises the bar for studies of the social-situatedness of medieval literature and challenges us to do what Vance himself has done—muster our resources to understand that literature’s workings. Claire Sponsler University of Iowa Fiona Somerset, Jill C. Havens, and Derrick G. Pitard, eds. Lollards and Their Influence in Late Medieval England. Woodbridge, Suffolk ; and Rochester, N.Y.: Boydell Press, 2003. Pp. x, 344. $85.00. The editors of this collection are to be complimented on bringing together a fine set of essays from literary scholars and historians on various aspects of the study of Lollardy and Wycliffism. As Fiona Somerset notes in the introduction, there has been ‘‘nothing less than an explosion in scholarly activity’’ (p. 9) since the 1960s on lollard or Wycliffite issues and materials, and the essays gathered here represent new work on various fresh topics by both established and newer scholars. The twelve essays—divided into four sections (‘‘Lollers in the Wind,’’ ‘‘Lollard Thought,’’ ‘‘Lollards and Their Books,’’ and ‘‘Heresy, Dissidence, and Reform’’)—are prefaced by a thought-provoking piece by Anne Hudson , who raises interesting questions about the philosophical and legal points of view from which heresy might be examined. A brief but valuable survey of the history of Wyclif scholarship from 1384 to 1984 by Geoffrey Martin follows the essays and the volume ends with a ‘‘Select Bibliography for Lollard Studies.’’ The first two essays, those by Wendy Scase and Andrew Cole, take up the issue of naming lollards. As Somerset comments in the Introduction, the general practice in recent scholarship is to use the terms ‘‘Wycliffite’’ and ‘‘lollard’’ interchangeably despite having sometimes been used to distinguish between Wyclif’s academic and lay followers (p. 9 n. 1). Both these essays take up the problems of who was calling whom a ‘‘lollard’’ when and whom we, as modern scholars, might discern as ‘‘lollards’’ during the last two decades of the fourteenth century. Scase’s PAGE 358 358 ................. 11491$ CH13 11-01-10 14:02:54 PS REVIEWS essay reads the ‘‘dense intertexualities’’ (p. 36) in the public, rhetorical texts surrounding the Earthquake Council of 1382 and makes the intriguing suggestion that the famous public suspension of Henry Crumpe from scholastic acts as recorded in the Fasculi Zizaniorum was ‘‘because he called the Lollards heretics’’ rather than ‘‘because he called the heretics Lollards’’ (quia vocavit haereticos lollardos; pp. 19–20). In her examination , ‘‘Heu! quanta desolatio’’ and other libels attest to a Wycliffite hegemony at Oxford that flexes its rhetorical and textual muscle, motivated not solely by concern for academic freedom, in response to allegations of heresy from London. Cole’s essay is an extremely insightful piece which argues that lollard identity does not coalesce until at least the late 1380s and that its projection back on events and people of the early 1380s is polemical in origin. The forthright statement that ‘‘as late as 1386, there were no ‘lollards’ in England, only Wycliffites’’ is perhaps the most useful, original contribution in the volume, restoring a sense of distinction between these two terms, and relieving ‘‘Langland of the burden of having to know about ‘lollardy’ before it exist[ed]’’ (p. 43). Cole then offers a nuanced reading of the ‘‘lollers’’ in C9 against contemporary models of religious mendicancy and vagrancy. This first section of the volume also includes essays by Andrew Larsen, who argues that ‘‘lollards’’ need to be more strictly distinguished from other heretics on the basis of shared, identifiable doctrines rooted in the teachings of Wyclif, although this is not unproblematic, and Maureen Jurkowski, who presents a detailed case study of Thomas Compworth of Oxfordshire , the first layman to be convicted of heresy, and his son of the same name. Margaret Aston’s essay on lollard attitudes to the cross and crucifix adoration opens the second section on ‘‘Lollard Thought’’ and dovetails nicely with Larsen’s concerns. She finds that the lollards’ questioning of the ‘‘accepted presence’’ of the cross in late medieval liturgical and devotional practices—a challenge that resonates with...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 358-361
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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