Academic journal article Medium Aevum

John Lydgate: Poetry, Culture, and Lancastrian England

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

John Lydgate: Poetry, Culture, and Lancastrian England

Article excerpt

John Lydgate: Poetry, Culture, and Lancastrian England, ed. Larry Scanlon and James Simpson (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006). vi + 314 pp. ISBN 0268-04115-6, $65.00 (hard covers); ISBN 0-268-04116-4, $30.00 (p/b). This impressive and significant collection (the first such on the 'angel-mouthed' poet so revered by the fifteendi century) situates itself at the forefront of the current whirlwind rehabilitation of the Monk of Bury that was kick-started so decisively by David Lawton in his 1987 essay 'Dullness and the fifteenth century'. John Lydgate: Poetry, Culture, and Lancastrian England is certainly timely: four book-length studies appeared on the poet in the three decades after the publication of the first (in German) in 1952, yet the last twelve months alone have seen the publication of another three. And whereas critical discussion of Lydgate's work has traditionally been distracted by sterile debates about literary merit, these refreshing essays, free from such tendencies, fix our attention squarely on the poems diemselves. Individual poems (notably the Fall of Princes, the Temple of Glas, the autobiographical Testament, and The churl and the bird") receive extended consideration. …

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