Lollards and Their Influence in Late Medieval England

By Fiona Somerset; Jill C. Havens et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

English Biblical Texts before Lollardy
and their Fate

Ralph Hanna

The following pages are excerpts from a book in progress, tentatively entitled London Literature, c.1310―c.1380. In this project, I examine works, primarily English ones, composed, disseminated, and read in the capital in the years immediately preceding the formation of a national literary tradition. The study (and this particular rendition) is always engaged in enacting analytical modes necessary to reformulate the literary history of late medieval England. And this current form of my fascination with Middle English as a literature of the locality, not the nation, allows me one considerable rhetorical frisson, the paradox that the metropole is, for much of the Middle Ages, just another locality.

The beginning of my study is constrained by the documentary record: until just the end of Edward I's reign, there's no surviving vernacular literature from London. I conclude at the temporal confluence of three widely acknowledged revolutions. Primary is, of course, the appearance of new "Chaucerian" literature, The Parliament of Fowls in 1381, Troilus in 1386. These productions are contemporary with the fairly abrupt demise of an older variety of written London English (M.L. Samuels's "Type II”) and the appearance of a new sort (his "Type III, Chaucerian English); "Type III” is first recorded in the writings of Thomas Usk c.1384―88 and in the London guild returns of 1389. 1 Finally, the very writing system changed at this moment: just after 1375, a new variety of book-hand, "Secretary," was introduced into England. This presumably occurred at Lambeth, since Secretary first appears in documents produced in the Chancery of the Archbishops of Canterbury (the wills recorded by the Prerogative Court from 1383 begin in the script). 2

The identification of Type II, and most of the MSS providing evidence for it, is dependent on the research of M.L. Samuels, particularly "Some Applications of Middle English Dialectology, English Studies 44 (1963): 81―94 at 87―88 and 87 n.7; Linguistic Evolution with Special Reference to English (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1972) at 166. The first examples of Type III are the initial selections in R.W. Chambers and Marjorie Daunt, A Book of London English, 1384―1425 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1931).
See M.B. Parkes, English Cursive Book Hands 1250―1500 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1969), xx and plate 9; for the first of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury volumes, see Public Record Office, MS Prob. 11/1 (formerly PCC Rous).

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Lollards and Their Influence in Late Medieval England


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 344

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?