Literature and Religion in the Later Middle Ages: Philological Studies in Honor of Siegfried Wenzel

Literature and Religion in the Later Middle Ages: Philological Studies in Honor of Siegfried Wenzel

Literature and Religion in the Later Middle Ages: Philological Studies in Honor of Siegfried Wenzel

Literature and Religion in the Later Middle Ages: Philological Studies in Honor of Siegfried Wenzel

Excerpt

The essays in this volume are presented to Siegfried Wenzel as our way of assessing and appreciating those concerns of philological scholarship in medieval studies of which he has been a leading practitioner for three decades. It is particularly important at this point in the development of medieval disciplines within the academy to recall that philology, in the terms in which Professor Wenzel himself has presented the case, will remain the foundation for all of our future insights into literary discourse (cf. "Reflections on "New" Philology," Speculum 65 "1990": 11–18). Recently developed forms of elucidating literary texts as cultural, political, psychological, and gender-marked documents have proved to be valuable to the medieval community, but their starting point must be a philological analysis of the text if they hope to make a lasting contribution to the understanding of literature and its contexts. The approaches that have come after philology are perfectly valid and have a firm place in the history of literary and cultural studies, but they will not supersede philology. The essays in this volume not only represent a continuation of scholarship in the areas of Professor Wenzel's interests but also serve as a reminder of the vitality and continuity of the philological orientation at the heart of that scholarship.

The diversity of the areas touched on by philology understood in its most inclusive terms is indicated by the breadth of Professor Wenzel's published scholarship (see the bibliography of his works at the end of this volume): from the literary analysis of canonized texts (for example, Chaucer's Troilus) to an archaeology of the literary artifacts of popular culture (particularly lyrics embedded in sermons); from the broad reaches of intellectual history, as documented in his . . .

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