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REVIEWS The book is well documented and well indexed. The trigonometric formulas in the appendix should certainly be welcomed by those readers who wish to carry out their own experiments with astronomical and astrologicalreferences.Eade is kind enough to his readers to provide them with frequent and logical cross references, human enough to complain from his Australian viewpoint about "northern hemisphere discrimina­ tion," and gracious enough to give full honor to his predecessors. The result has unquestioned value.Modern scholars and critics, who may be steeped in the niceties of historical and critical theory, might do well to bring to their medieval and Renaissance texts the astronomical, astro­ logical, scientific, and mathematical information which Eade offers.Mer­ cury and the Head ofthe Dragon must have been in ascendency at the hour of his nativity. SIGMUND EISNER University of Arizona LOIS EBIN, ed. Vernacular Poetics in the Middle Ages. Studies in no.16. Medieval Culture, Kalamazoo, Mich.: Medieval Institute Publica­ tions, 1984.Pp.xi, 293.$12.0 0. This collection ofeleven essays provides us with studies on poetic creation, speaking in broad terms, in the Middle Ages.Four were originally deliv­ ered as papers at the meeting of the Medieval Institute at Western Michi­ gan University at a specialsession in 1977; the other seven presumably were solicited by the editor.The book's long gestation period explains why some ofthe studies seem to be recent O.B.Allen refers to his own publication of 1982) whereas others are ofan earlier vintage (...a certain work, Madison, 1978, "is a valuable contribution which appeared after the writing of this essay;" p.244). Many of the contributors touch upon general poetic theory in passing; more often than not, though, what we find are studies of poetic develop­ ments among specific national groups, more being specifically English than others.This reviewer wishes that the national boundaries had more frequently been overlooked.For example, the last essay in the collection, "Poetics and Style in Late Medieval Literature," by the editor, treats the 183 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER topic interestingly but in too limited a fashion. It is interesting to read about what Lydgate, Dunbar, Douglas, Hawes, and Skelton said and did. But the title and introduction did arouse the hope in this reader that the study would go beyond English-language bounds. The first essay in the collection is Robert W.Hanning's "Poetic Emblems in Medieval Narrative Texts" (pp. 1-32). Hanning believes that "in expli­ cating medieval poetry, the discovery and interpretation of poetic em­ blems should...be as important a part ofthe critic's task as source study, linguistic analysis and doctrinal exegesis" (p.26), and his study is a survey ofthe evolution ofthis literary feature as it is used in Beowulf, in twelfth­ century French courtly narrative poems, and in late-fourteenth-century English literature, chiefly Sir Gawain andthe Green Knight. There are two elements in this study, the identifying of an emblem and its interpreta­ tion.The essay is successful to the extent that readers are convinced that the identified emblem is an important one and to the extent that they are persuaded that the critic's evaluation is a correct one. To this reader the choice of "emblems" seemed at times to be arbitrary and thus evaluation sometimes artificial. Douglas Kelly's "Obscurity and Memory: Sources for Invention in Medi­ eval French Literature" (pp.35-56) studies how medieval authors felt in relation to their sources and how they viewed themselves in their role as transmitters ofthe earlier works. In so doing, he reflects on the technique oftopical invention as an element ofauthorship in such works asAmadaset Ydoine, Flamenca, the Marques de Rome, and Marie de France's Lais and finds that insight can be gained with respect to courtly romance and the lyric by studyingtopoi: "The extensive scholarship devoted to sources and analogues over the last century facilitates the investigation of how and to what extent borrowing and imitation were carried on...Awareness of topical invention also helps evade the wrong-headed critical judgments many sourceinvestigatorsventured into withoutproper appreciation ofthe importance and nature ofadaptation in the Middle Ages." (pp. 46-47). The concluding section of the study...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 183-188
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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