Theory and The Premodern Text (Medieval Cultures) by Paul Strohm

By Paul Strohm

Medieval Studies/Literary thought a massive reconsideration of kinfolk among new theories and previous texts. The paintings of Paul Strohm allies the main exotic traditions of medieval examine with the main demanding and cutting edge of theoretical ways. those positive aspects, operating jointly to revise and extend our realizing of either medieval texts and modern serious perform, are obvious in complete and compelling strength during this selection of essays, such a lot now in print for the 1st time. In more than a few theoretical engagements with overdue medieval texts, facing social perform, time, and narrative, this quantity proposes a "practical" relation among the textual content and the idea that illuminates it. Insisting at the creative multiplicity of the textual content, Strohm reveals in idea an augmentation of interpretive possibilities-an augmentation that typically calls for respectful war of words with what a piece says-or turns out to need known-about itself. He therefore defines conception as "any viewpoint from which we would problem a text's self-understanding." Coupled with this strategic disrespect is a brand new and amplified kind of respect-for the textual content as a meaning-making method, for its unruly strength and its unpredictable results on the earth. during this spirit, Strohm deals new and illustrative readings of Hoccleve's "Male Regle" and Regiment of Princes, Ricardian coronation files, Chaucer's "Cook's Tale," Capgrave's chronicle, the Gesta Henrici Quinti, files of the king's bench, Malory's "Knight of the Cart," and different later medieval texts. all through, Strohm traverses different types of "literary" and "non-literary" within the carrier of a extra finished knowing of texts and the resourcefulness with which they accomplish their social paintings. Paul Strohm is J. R. R. Tolkien Professor of English Language and Literature on the collage of Oxford. he's the writer of many books, together with England's Empty Throne: Usurpation and the Language of Legitimation, 1399-1422 (1998) and Social Chaucer (1989). Medieval Cultures sequence, quantity 26 Translation Inquiries: college of Minnesota Press

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9 Although figurative and subjunctive, this talk of uprooting and destruction quickly came to typify the anti-Lollard discourse of the later 1380s and 1390s. Expressed as a desired condition rather than one that has come to pass, such talk initiates a process in which an action, however hypothetical, is imagistically entertained. 10 More to the point, and a good deal more ominous in the light of future events, is that language which contemplates destruction of heretical adversaries by fire. This association, together with that of tares polluting good grain, is to be found as early as the parable of the sower and his enemy in Matthew 13:24–30.

3 Moreover, through easily available jibes and puns based on the similarity of Middle English “Lollard” to Latin lolium/lollium (cockle or tare), a vista was opened upon yet another and potentially even more damaging form of linguistic mayhem within anti-Lollard discourse. Cockles and tares, as pollutants of good grain, had long provided an obvious, and highly suggestive, metaphorical vehicle for orthodox distress over inva- 21 22 Walking Fire sive and unwelcome doctrines. 4 These associations were easily enough, in turn, pressed into service against a domestic Lollard movement.

And Knighton is, in fact, pleased to report the partial fulfillment of the first of these two propositions. But the main proposition — Lollard destruction — is allowed to remain hypothetical, as merely a wish, held temporarily in a kind of abeyance. The failure of Knighton’s words, and other like words, to achieve enactment in the 1380s and 1390s — failure, in Austin’s formulation, to achieve “uptake”18 — may be attributed to several causes. One is a certain curtailment of what speech-act theorists would call the “force” of the utterance.

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