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Image, Text, and Religious Reform in Fifteenth-Century England

$113.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature

  • Date Published: November 2010
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521190800

$ 113.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Focusing on the period between the Wycliffite critique of images and Reformation iconoclasm, Shannon Gayk investigates the sometimes complementary and sometimes fraught relationship between vernacular devotional writing and the religious image. She examines how a set of fifteenth-century writers, including Lollard authors, John Lydgate, Thomas Hoccleve, John Capgrave, and Reginald Pecock, translated complex clerical debates about the pedagogical and spiritual efficacy of images and texts into vernacular settings and literary forms. These authors found vernacular discourse to be a powerful medium for explaining and reforming contemporary understandings of visual experience. In its survey of the function of literary images and imagination, the epistemology of vision, the semiotics of idols, and the authority of written texts, this study reveals a fifteenth century that was as much an age of religious and literary exploration, experimentation, and reform as it was an age of regulation.

    • Offers a sustained reading of fifteenth-century religious writing, supplying a new perspective on a century and a set of writers that are usually read through the lens of their secular or political literature
    • Situates Lollard texts and four important fifteenth-century writers in new contexts
    • Fills a critical lacuna by offering a history of ideas about image use and iconoclasm in England before the Reformation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "… Image, Text, and Religious Reform in Fifteenth-Century England is a timely and detailed study of the complex relationship between religious images and English devotional texts written in the last pre-Reformation century … Gayk's learned book is an important contribution to what Vincent Gillespie describes as the continued 'religious turn' in Middle English studies.'
    English Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521190800
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. Reformations of the image
    1. Lollard iconographies
    2. Hoccleve's spectacles
    3. Lydgate's refigurations of the image
    4. Capgrave's material memorials
    5. Pecock's libri laicorum
    Coda. Words for images.

  • Author

    Shannon Gayk, Indiana University, Bloomington
    Shannon Gayk is Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University.

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