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REVIEWS Constable on renewal and reform in religious life norJean Leclercq on theology or R. W. Southern on the schools of Paris and of Chartres.Even apparently unrelated studies, likeJohn Mundy's on urban society and culture in Toulouse, Stephen Kuttner's on juris­ prudence, Marie-Therese d'Alverny's on translation, or Peter Classen's on universal history, provide unexpected usefulness.Also of interest are Stephen Gersh's essay on metaphysics, Herbert Block's on antiquity, and NikolausHaring's on hermeneutics. This volume will draw students to the study of the twelfth century, make them sensitive to what is new and what is traditional in the period, and encourage them to seek out connections between and among disciplines.It will hardly be less useful to expens, for the range and general density is such that few readers can fail to be instructed-and delighted.Perhaps something ofHaskins has been lost: a view of cultural unity few of us would dare adopt today, at least in a book intended for our colleagues.But Renaissance is the work of modern giants, widely read, sensitive to shifts in opinion, and perceptive to a fault.Its great accomplishment is that it enables us all to see further. JOHN C.HIRSH Georgetown University DIANE BORNSTEIN, The Lady in the Tower: Medieval Courtesy Literaturefor Women. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1983. Pp.149.$15.0 0. Popular images of medieval women, as Diane Bornstein tells us on the opening page ofher book, owe more to the romance than to reality, but might at least in part be corrected through an examina­ tion ofmedieval courtesy literature written for women.She defines this literature as "didactic literature meant to serve as a guide for secular life, ...not only books ofetiquette, but also books ofadvice from mother or father to daughter, books of instruction addressed to women by clerks, mirrors for the princess, and even Arts a/Love 177 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER containing practical advice that was meant to be taken seriously" (p. 11). "Courtesy books," she writes, "were meant to serve as a guide for behavior in the real world" (p. 13). Her authors run from Tertullian in the second century to Anne de Beaujeu in the sixteenth. There are a number of problems with these initial formulations. One wonders at the usefulness of "courtesy books" as a term if it can stretch over fourteen centuries and at the apparent circularity of "practical advice that was meant to be taken seriously" (and do we assume that it was meant to be taken seriously because it looks practical, or vice versa?). But careful amplification and elaboration of these opening arguments, coupled with thoughtful distinctions as they became necessary, might have allowed this book's contribu­ tion to be significant. Unfortunately, The Lady in the Tower is not well argued. The problems are largely logical or methodological, ranging from false dichotomies through false parallels to circular argument. An example of the first is the opposition romance-reality. The problem is not that romance and reality (or "the real world") is a false opposition in itself but that Bornstein seems to assume that if, for example, a twelfth- and a twentieth-century citizen would agree that Chretien de Troyes's Bree etEmde is fiction they would likewise agree on the nature of "the real world." The fact is that the medieval romance, the Middle English The Good Wife Taught Her Daughter, Ambrose's De institutione virginis, and Saint Louis's Enseignements a safille are all decisively normative. If these latter deal with the "real" world, it is a medieval one, suffused by values specific to the century. It is simply not meaningful to set up Chre­ tien and the troubadours on one side of an opposed pair and Ambrose and Saint Louis on the other, especially if one addsJaques d'Amiens to the "nonfiction" pole. The mirror image of this kind of rushed sorting of medieval writers into sheep and goats is this zeugma from page 12: "Different groups of men did not always agree about what roles and activities were proper for women. The Church Fathers thought they should pray and be chaste. The trou­ badours thought...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 177-180
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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