Andrew Cole offers the only complete historical account of the first official condemnation of Wycliffism – the Blackfriars council of 1382 – and the fullest study of ‘lollardy’ as a social and literary construct. Drawing on literary criticism, history, theology and law, he presents not only a fresh perspective on late medieval literature, but also an invaluable rethinking of the Wycliffite heresy. Literature and Heresy restores Wycliffism to its proper place as the most significant context for late medieval English writing, and thus for the origins of English literary history.
• The first detailed academic study of Wycliffism and canonical literature • Shows that Wycliffism was accepted and explored by major authors of the period, not just considered ‘heresy’ • Revises our understanding of Wycliffism as a major intellectual movement in late medieval England
Preface; Part I. The Invention of Heresy: 1. The Blackfriars Council, London, 1382; Part II. The Late Fourteenth Century: Canonizing Wycliffism: 2. The invention of Lollardy': William Langland; 3. The reinvention of Lollardy': William Langland and his contemporaries; 4. Geoffrey Chaucer's Wycliffite text; Part III. The Early Fifteenth Century: Heretics and Eucharists: 5. Thomas Hoccleve's heretics; Part IV. Feeling Wycliffite: 6. John Lydgate's Eucharists; 7. Margery Kempe's Lollard' affects; Part V. Epilogue: 8. Heresy, Wycliffism and English literary history; Bibliography; Index.