A Companion to Medieval Poetry
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A Companion to Medieval Poetry

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A Companion to Medieval Poetry presents a series oforiginal essays from leading literary scholars that explore Englishpoetry from the Anglo-Saxon period up to the15 th century. * Organised into three parts to echo the chronological andstylistic divisions between the Anglo-Saxon, Middle English andPost-Chaucerian periods, each section is introduced with contextualessays, providing a valuable introduction to the society andculture of the time * Combines a general discussion of genres of medieval poetry,with specific consideration of texts and authors, includingBeowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer,Gower and Langland * Features original essays by eminent scholars, including AndyOrchard, Carl Schmidt, Douglas Gray, and BarryWindeatt, who present a range of theoretical,historical, and cultural approaches to reading medieval poetry, aswell as offering close analysis of individual texts andtraditions
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Product details

  • Hardback | 704 pages
  • 180 x 252 x 43mm | 1,342g
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Chicester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1. Auflage
  • 1405159634
  • 9781405159630
  • 2,063,617

Back cover copy

In a series of original essays from leading literary scholars, this Companion offers a chronological sweep of medieval poetry from Old English to the great genres of romance, narrative, and alliterative poetry of the 15th century.

Beginning in the Anglo-Saxon period, the volume explores the Old English language and its alliterative tradition, before moving on to examine the genres of heroic, devotional, wisdom and epic poetry, culminating in a discussion of arguably the founding text of the English literary canon, the great epic Beowulf. In part two, the Companion moves on to discuss the linguistic and social changes brought about as a result of the Norman Conquest, exploring how this influenced the development of literary genres. Essays probe the shifts and continuities in genres such as lyric, chronicle and dream vision, and the emergence of new genres such as popular and courtly romance, and drama. A particular focus is the continuation of the alliterative tradition from the Anglo-Saxon period to the fifteenth century. A series of chapters on major authors, including Chaucer, Gower, and Langland, provide fresh approaches to reading and studying key texts, such as The Canterbury Tales, Piers Plowman and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.



Finally, the collection examines cultural change at the close of the medieval period and the variety of literature produced in the 'long fifteenth century', including writing by and for women, Scots poetry, clerical and courtly works, and secular and sacred drama.
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Table of contents

List of Figures. Notes on Contributors. Acknowledgements. Introduction (Corinne Saunders). Part I Old English Poetry. Contexts. 1 The World of Anglo-Saxon England (Andy Orchard). 2 The Old English Language and the Alliterative Tradition(Richard Dance). 3 Old English Manuscripts and Readers (RohiniJayatilaka). 4 Old English and Latin Poetic Traditions (AndyOrchard). Genres and Modes. 5 Germanic Legend and Old English Heroic Poetry (HughMagennis). 6 Old English Biblical and Devotional Poetry (DanielAnlezark). 7 Old English Wisdom Poetry (David Ashurst). 8 Old English Epic Poetry: Beowulf (DanielAnlezark). Part II Middle English Poetry. Contexts. 9 The World of Medieval England: From the Norman Conquest to theFourteenth Century (Conor McCarthy). 10 Middle English Language and Poetry (SimonHorobin). 11 Middle English Manuscripts and Readers (RalphHanna). Genres and Modes. 12 Legendary History and Chronicle: La3amon s Brutand the Chronicle Tradition (Lucy Perry). 13 Medieval Debate-Poetry and The Owl and theNightingale (Neil Cartlidge). 14 Lyrics, Sacred and Secular (David Fuller). 15 Macaronic Poetry (Elizabeth Archibald). 16 Popular Romance (Nancy Mason Bradbury). 17 Arthurian and Courtly Romance (Rosalind Field). 18 Alliterative Poetry: Religion and Morality (JohnScattergood). 19 Alliterative Poetry and Politics (JohnScattergood). Poets and Poems. 20 The Poet of Pearl, Cleanness andPatience (A. V. C. Schmidt). 21 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (TonyDavenport). 22 Langland's Piers Plowman (Lawrence Warner). 23 Chaucer's Love Visions (Helen Phillips). 24 Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (AlcuinBlamires). 25 Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (CorinneSaunders). 26 The Poetry of John Gower (R. F. Yeager). Part III Post-Chaucerian and Fifteenth-CenturyPoetry. Contexts. 27 England in the Long Fifteenth Century (MatthewWoodcock). 28 Poetic Language in the Fifteenth Century (A. S. G.Edwards). 29 Manuscript and Print: Books, Readers and Writers (JuliaBoffey). Poets and Poems. 30 Hoccleve and Lydgate (Daniel Wakelin). 31 Women and Writing (C. Annette Grise). 32 Medieval Scottish Poetry (Douglas Gray). 33 Courtiers and Courtly Poetry (Barry Windeatt). 34 Drama: Sacred and Secular (Pamela King). Epilogue: Afterlives of Medieval English Poetry (CorinneSaunders). Index.
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Review Text

"It is impossible within the confines of a review article to do justice to every - or, indeed, to any - chapter in this well-thought-out book. As a 'companion', it is to be revisited with enjoyment for its many new insights on familiar and well-loved material and its confident handling of new approaches to the study of medieval English poetry." ( Parergon , 2012)

"This is, however, a minor quibble; the essays in this book provide very useful introductions to the subjects they cover, and seem well placed to become standard basic reference works on medieval English poetry". (Medium Aevum, 2011)

"This Blackwell Companion to Medieval Poetry is a very fine resource for students and teachers alike. It is particularly commendable for its wide scope, ranging from the earliest Old English texts to the poetry of late-medieval England (post-Chaucerian), as well as for its clear attention both to wider context, and to genre, modes and authors, and occasionally to individual texts, such as Chaucer s love visions, Troilus, or The Canterbury Tales (each of which receives its own chapter)." (Routledge ABES, 2011)
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Review quote

It is impossible within the confines of a review articleto do justice to every or, indeed, to any chapterin this well-thought-out book. As a companion , it isto be revisited with enjoyment for its many new insights onfamiliar and well-loved material and its confident handling of newapproaches to the study of medieval English poetry. (Parergon, 2012) "This is, however, a minor quibble; the essays in this bookprovide very useful introductions to the subjects they cover, andseem well placed to become standard basic reference works onmedieval English poetry". (Medium Aevum, 2011) "This Blackwell Companion to Medieval Poetry is a very fineresource for students and teachers alike. It is particularlycommendable for its wide scope, ranging from the earliest OldEnglish texts to the poetry of late-medieval England(post-Chaucerian), as well as for its clear attention both to widercontext, and to genre, modes and authors, and occasionally toindividual texts, such as Chaucer's love visions, Troilus, or TheCanterbury Tales (each of which receives its own chapter)."(Routledge ABES, 2011)
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About Corinne Saunders

Corinne Saunders is Professor in the Department of English Studies and Director of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Durham. A specialist in medieval literature and the history of ideas, her recent publications include Rape and Ravishment in the Literature of Medieval England (2001), A Companion to Romance (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004), Madness and Creativity in Literature and Culture (co-edited with Jane Macnaughton, 2005), Pearl (co-edited with David Fuller, 2005), A Concise Companion to Chaucer (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006), The Body and the Arts (co-edited with Ulrika Maude and Jane Macnaughton, 2009), and Magic and the Supernatural in Medieval English Romance (2010). She is the English editor of the international journal of Medieval Studies, Medium Aevum.
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