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Reading the Medieval in Early Modern England

Reading the Medieval in Early Modern England

David Matthews, Gordon McMullan, James Simpson, Deanne Williams, Larry Scanlon, Stephanie Trigg, Anke Bernau, Bernhard Klein, Jennifer Summit, Cathy Shrank, Sarah Beckwith, Patricia Badir, David Wallace
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  • Date Published: July 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521868433

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About the Authors
  • In English literary and historical studies the border between the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, and hence between 'medieval' and 'early modern' studies, has become increasingly permeable. Written by an international group of medievalists and early modernists, the essays in this volume examine the ways in which medieval culture was read and reconstructed by writers, editors and scholars in early modern England. It also addresses the reciprocal process: the way in which early modern England, while apparently suppressing the medieval past, was in fact shaped and constructed by it, albeit in ways that early modern thinkers had an interest in suppressing. The book deals with this process as it is played out not only in literature but also in visual culture - for example in mapping - and in material culture - as in the physical destruction of the medieval past in the early modern English landscape.

    • Groups chapters under five coherent headings: Period, Text, Nation, Geography and Reformation
    • Written by an international team of specialists in their respective fields
    • Considers the survival of both medieval literature and culture in the early modern period
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The last few years have witnessed a growing interest, largely on the part of medievalists, in examining the divide between the medieval and early modern periods.1 The essay collection reviewed here does an excellent job of showing how rich and complex these cross-period investigations can be— when the medieval period is not merely a backdrop to the early modern period but, rather, when these two periods are set in conversation."
    -Katherine Little, Fordham University

    "The fruits of a cross-period approach are quite apparent in the number of essays that demonstrate how medieval ways of thinking continued to haunt early modern writers, shaping their perception of what is new in their own period."
    -Katherine Little, Fordham University

    "These essays ultimately read the divide between medieval and early modern as an immensely generative struggle rather than a rejection or clean break."
    -Katherine Little, Fordham University

    "Scanlon, Simpson, and the essays in the first group discussed above are all clearly attuned to recent debates, whereas the essays by Matthews and Trigg, among others in the second and third groups described here, seem to adhere to an older version of ‘‘medievalism,’’ in which the focus is less on an interchange of modes of thinking than the early modern period’s use of the medieval for its own ends. Nevertheless, the essays here offer much material for reflection and chart some new lines of inquiry."
    -Katherine Little, Fordham University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521868433
    • length: 302 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.61kg
    • contains: 13 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Notes on contributors
    Acknowledgements
    List of abbreviations
    Introduction: reading the medieval in early modern England David Matthews and Gordon McMullan
    Part I. Period:
    1. Diachronic history and the shortcomings of Medieval Studies James Simpson
    2. Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay and the rhetoric of temporality Deanne Williams
    Part II. Text:
    3. Langland, apocalypse and the early modern editor Larry Scanlon
    4. Public ambition, private desire and the last Tudor Chaucer David Matthews
    Part III. Nation:
    5. The vulgar history of the Order of the Garter Stephanie Trigg
    6. Myths of origin and the struggle over nationhood in medieval and early modern England Anke Bernau
    7. The colonisation of early Britain on the Jacobean stage Gordon McMullan
    Part IV. Geography:
    8. Tamburlaine, sacred space and the heritage of medieval cartography Bernhard Klein
    9. Leland's Itinerary and the remains of the medieval past Jennifer Summit
    Part V. Reformation:
    10. John Bale and reconfiguring the 'medieval' in Reformation England Cathy Shrank
    11. Medieval penance, Reformation repentance and Measure for Measure Sarah Beckwith
    12. Medieval poetics and Protestant Magdalenes Patricia Badir
    Afterword David Wallace
    Notes
    Select bibliography
    Index.

  • Editors

    Gordon McMullan, King's College London
    Gordon McMullan is Reader in English at King's College London.

    David Matthews, University of Manchester
    David Matthews is Lecturer in Middle English Literature and Culture, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures at the University of Manchester.

    Contributors

    David Matthews, Gordon McMullan, James Simpson, Deanne Williams, Larry Scanlon, Stephanie Trigg, Anke Bernau, Bernhard Klein, Jennifer Summit, Cathy Shrank, Sarah Beckwith, Patricia Badir, David Wallace

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