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REVIEWS yet to be fully appreciated." That is due in part to much of the schol­ arly study and critical appreciation ofDafydd's poetry having been con­ ducted in Welsh. Publishing this book in English signals a desire to in­ clude a much wider audience in that conversation, and the book will find a place on the shelves of medievalists and others next to other re­ cent studies sharing that aim, notably Rachel Bromwich's Aspects ofthe Poetry ofDafyddap Gwilym (1986) and Helen Fulton's Dafyddap Gwilym and the European Context (1989). Edwards has not, however, solved all the problems ofaddressing two audiences, and in a book dense with ci­ tation and documentation readers from that wider audience are likely to be presented with frequent minor puzzles. Key technical terms, for example, are in some cases discussed fully (dyfalu, llatai) and in others not at all (awdl, cywyddau rhwystr); quotations are supplied with trans­ lations in the text but not in the extensive notes; the mutation of ini­ tial consonants inherent to Celtic languages, which in Welsh changes Cler to Gler,prydydd (a principal bard) tophrydydd, or cof("memory") to nghof, is maintained but never mentioned. Edwards's thoroughness in investigating his material and his accumulative method of argument also make it difficult at times to see the forest for the trees. What he writes ofhis final chapters applies to the whole: "Some ofthe analogues identified may appear somewhat trivial when examined in isolation, but seen in the wider context ofa considerable body ofcumulative evidence even the most minor parallels acquire a more powerful suggestiveness." Suggestive they are indeed, and richly so, though finally the cruel lack ofconcrete evidence forestalls firm conclusions. Edwards's book is a cat­ alogue of questions rather than answers, a comprehensive gathering of things it would be wonderful to know about this marvelous poet. ANDREW WELSH Rutgers University THOMAS J. FARRELL, ed. Bakhtin and Medieval Voices. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1995. Pp. xi, 240. $49.95. Although certain theoretical paradigms prominent in the era of post­ structuralism have met with decline or renewed hostility in recent years-deManian deconstruction and psychoanalysis especially­ Bakhtin studies surge forward, with no sign of abatement. Thomas 249 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER J. Farrell's Bakhtin and Medieval Voices furnishes a variety of Bakhtinian readings of medieval texts as well as theoretical overviews on the orig­ inal Bakhtinian project and its legacy in one of the first collections of its kind.The essays provide not only Bakhtinianreadings ofChaucerian poetics (a domain the reader would expect to be well represented), man­ uscript constitution, folk entertainments, and historiography, but they also provide trenchant insights into the place of theory in contemporary medieval studies. It was this latter feature of the volume that held especial interest for me as I read, although the theoretical and institutional self-reflection seemed at times variable among the pieces in comparison to Farrell's strident placement, in the volume's introduction, of Bakhtinian theo­ rization in terms of our field's own circumscriptive and hierarchical character.Farrell's introduction opens by providing a clear and sensible review of some of Bakhtin's more notorious terms (polyphony, heteroglos­ sia, dialogism, the carnivalesque) and considers their continued but often uneven utility for medieval literary studies.The volume thus seeks to shore up what turns out to be a lacuna in Bakhtin's handling of pre­ modern cultural forms: the Middle Ages, which Bakhtin, despite our own "popular" understanding, often only gestured at or caricatured. But following these decisive judgments, the introduction only hints at the political implications of Bakhtin and medievalists' voices.For in­ stance, Farrell writes: "In several recent, relatively open discussions of the general topic of theory and medieval studies ...calls to reform me­ dieval studies in light of various developments in theory continue to be met with some sense that theory ...might benefit from more famil­ iarity with medieval studies" (p.9).The statement, which refers to a general denigration of medieval subjects in postmodern humanistic study and to the volume's mission to help remedy this state of affairs, also describes stratified processes of marginalization within the field of medieval studies.That...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 249-256
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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