The Challenge of the Medieval Text: Studies in Genre and Interpretation

The Challenge of the Medieval Text: Studies in Genre and Interpretation

The Challenge of the Medieval Text: Studies in Genre and Interpretation

The Challenge of the Medieval Text: Studies in Genre and Interpretation

Excerpt

This collection of essays, planned to honor William Thomas Hobdell Jackson on his retirement from Columbia at the end of 1983, was sadly transformed by his death in May of that year into a memorial volume. It seems an appropriate way to celebrate him, nonetheless, since it gathers some of his most important essays on a variety of genres and national literatures. Like the great medieval comparatists of an earlier generation, Curtius, Auerbach, and Spitzer, Jackson was well-trained in the classics and his interests ranged from medieval Latin rhetoric, drama, allegory, poetry, and parody, to Middle High German lyric, epic, romance, and drama, to Middle French and Provençal. The essays in this volume give some indication of his scope, though they cannot of themselves suggest the extent of his contributions to medieval studies, not only as scholar and critic, but also as lecturer and teacher.

W. T. H. Jackson was educated in Sheffield, England, where he was born in 1915, and later in the United States, where he lived from 1948. He began his studies at High Storrs Grammar School, a school he called "abashedly academic," which selected top students from the city of Sheffield by examination and gave them a strong traditional training; from there he went to the University of Sheffield, where he read Classics, earning a B.A. with First Class Honours, in 1935, and an M.A. (a status degree), in 1938. He taught in English public schools from 1935 to 1940. He spent the next six years in the army, five of them as an officer of the Royal Artillery, Captain Adjutant, Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry, and Staff Captain. He studied German at the Staff College at Camberly, and eventually became the Education Officer for secondary schools and universi-

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