Academic journal article Medium Aevum

John Capgrave's Fifteenth Century

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

John Capgrave's Fifteenth Century

Article excerpt

Karen A. Winstead, John Capgrave's Fifteenth Century (Philadelphia, Pa: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). xiii + 231 pp. ISBN 13-978-08122-3977-5. £36.00.

What does the title mean? Does an individual 'have' a century? Or does it signify the possible relationship of Capgrave's writings to the age in which he wrote them? Even after reading the book it is still difficult to be sure. John Capgrave (1393-1464; we are not given his birth date here) was a prolific and versatile writer in both verse and prose, Latin and English, and some overall assessment of his corpus would be of value. But the five chapters of this short book do not greatly advance discussion. There is an opening biographical chapter that seeks, not very searchingly, to historicize him ('the civil war known as the Wars of the Roses broke out in 145 5"). Curiously there is no discussion of Capgrave's self-production of his works or the factors that made him become scribe and publisher. And there are errors, particularly involving Lydgate: for example, he did not write his Fall of Princes in 1437 (p. 6); he was not 'poet laureate'; nor are his saints' lives of SS Edmund and Fremund and Albon and Amphibel in five books (p. 10). Elsewhere there is not much balanced discussion of Capgrave's oeuvre. His Latin writings, both historical and theological, receive scant examination. Nor is there much extended discussion of his Middle English prose Lives of SS Augustine and Gilbert or of his verse Life of St Norbert. What Karen A. Winstead is prepared to discuss, at great length, is Capgrave's Life of St Katherine. This work figures prominently in all of the subsequent chapters, an emphasis that may be explicable by her having produced an edition of this poem. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.