Skelton and Satire

Skelton and Satire

Skelton and Satire

Skelton and Satire

Excerpt

This book presents a historical critique of John Skelton's satires and a critical history of the traditions of medieval satire with which they worked. The reader will discover, however, that the book is not divided into two parts, one critical and the other historical. On the contrary, every attempt has been made to fuse criticism with history, and to control discussion of both with a concept of poetic form. But though it is the art of individual poems and not merely their material constituents that is the book's abiding concern, we must cite and analyze numerous fugitive pieces from the medieval period to construct our arguments and to bring before the reader works not hitherto submitted to historical criticism. This in large part accounts for the length of a book meant to be read primarily as a critical argument and not as a historical survey. For such a book, the reader will perhaps be content with translations of many foreign language sources and with spellings of Middle English texts confined to the modern alphabet.

I was introduced to the subject of this work by Theodore Silverstein, whose learning and enthusiasm guided and encouraged me at every stage of its exploration. I wish that the "mere convention" of the "acknowledgment" permitted me to express more forcibly my gratitude to him. I am indebted also to R. C. Bald; to Mrs. Ida Stromberg, for her help in preparing the MS; and to my good friend, Richard G. Stern, for the kindly rigor with which he read parts of the manuscript.

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