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STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER own interests and his readers', yet, to the last, a poet who brilliantly the­ matizes his own alienation. The readings in Batt's collection add much to our understanding of an unusually elusive poet and his historical context. The contributions of all four critics provide us not only with a raft of new ways to read Hoccleve but with new approaches to the problems posed by post­ Chaucerian, Lancastrian poetry. In regard to issues of textual produc­ tion, gender and politicized interpretation, these essays point the way to further work on the difficult relationship ofmedieval poets to princes and power. RUTH NISSE University of Nebraska-Lincoln MARTHA BAYLESS. Parody in the Middle Ages: The Latin Tradition. Recentiores: Later Latin Texts and Contexts Series. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996. Pp. xii, 425. $52.50. Parody is one ofthe most satisfying forms ofliterary humor. Its success depends on a wide knowledge of the target texts, of which the Middle Ages had an ample supply in the Bible and liturgy, with its verses, re­ sponses, hymns, prayers, and a structure known intimately by every cleric. Almost equally well known were the techniques of biblical analysis. In its title and preface, Bayless's study explicitly challenges Paul Lehmann's pioneering Die Parodie im Mittelalter (1922, 1963); the texts she studies and edits largely overlap with Lehmann's, and in some ways her book could be described as a third (and improved) edition of Lehmann, though its subtitle might more accurately have been The Latin Religious Tradition. She restricts herself to self-standing parodies on nonfictional works, excluding incidental parodies and parodies of genres. For Lehmann's two broadly based chapters ("Critical, Argumentative, Exultant Parody," and "Cheerful, Amusing, Entertaining Parody"), Bayless, after an introduction on methodology, has four very focused chapters, with the relevant texts (all translated) in appendix 2. Chapter 2 deals with the mock feast of the Cena Cypriani, with its biblical guests and 232 REVIEWS their antics, and its redactions and derivatives (such as the Arras Cena, app. 2.1); she interprets the Cena as a parodic allegory. Chapter 3 describes the entertaining pseudosaints Nemo (Nobody, who had seen God) and Invicem (One-Another, who was entertained, abused, and frequently addressed); texts of these rare and barely accessible parodies are in app. 2.2-7, in their various versions. Bayless shows that these immensely funny stories also call into question the literal interpreta­ tion of the Bible. Chapter 4 presents the drinker's masses that parody the liturgy (App. 2.10-12), substituting self-indulgence for religion. Chapter 5 describes centos, parodies that generally preserve the exact words of their original text (here the Bible) but misplace and reorga­ nize them for satiric effect (the money-gospels, app. 2.8-9) or for pure nonsense (app. 2.13-17). Chapter 6 is a socioliterary analysis, very sensitively done, of the role of parody within medieval Christianity. (App. 1 is a list of parodic texts; app. 2.18 is a digression on mock acrostics). For seventy-five years Lehmann's studies have held the field, but his sprawling work is hard to use (and not just because it is in German). Bayless's more restricted scope allows her to focus more ef­ ficiently, and her refined literary sensitivity produces many insights. This focus comes at a price, however, since she omits a great deal. The omission of incidental parody (such as openings that parody Ovid) is understandable, but it was one of the things that made Lehmann en­ tertaining. More important is the entire neglect of parody for politi­ cal purposes (Lehmann's Leidensgeschichte, anti-Hussite masses, parodic hymns against Piers Gaveston, and other parodies of the hymn "Pange lingua"); these are not even in her list in app. 1, despite its claim to all-inclusiveness, but they are pure parodies or centos. The same applies to her omission of parodies based on grammatical texts (erotic, antipeasant, etc.); these are listed in app. 1 but are not dis­ cussed, even though they would have reinforced her argument that parody was not subversive of its target-text, since presumably no one wanted to abolish Donatus. She...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 232-237
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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