Middle English by Paul Strohm [Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature]
My object in proposing topics was to avoid settled areas of discussion and ‘bounded’ subjects. Hence, this collection contains no ‘major author’ essays—even though citations and analyses of writings by Chaucer, Gower, Langland, and Lydgate constantly recur. It contains some ‘genre’ chapters, but wilfully new ones that violate customary categorizations: ‘Vision, Image, Text’ (embracing both secular visions and religious revelations) and ‘Speculative Genealogies’ (embracing romances, chronicles, and other narrative forms). Although its central subject is Middle English literary texts, it frequently sallies into Old and Early Modern English for its illustrative instances, and extra- or apparently ‘non-literary’ writings (‘Learning to Live’, ‘The Poetics of Practicality’) receive generous—even repeated—attention.
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