Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Later Medieval English Literature

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Later Medieval English Literature

Article excerpt

Gray, Later Medieval English Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). xiv + 712 pp. ISBN 978- 0-19- 8 1 221 8-0. £65.00. Among the many Companions, Guides, Histories, and Introductions to later medieval literature published recently, this compendious and authoritative volume by one of the great scholars in the field is certain to stand out and to endure. Douglas Gray aims to provide a guide to English literature from the death of Chaucer to the earlier sixteenth century - and to dispel, in something of the manner of James Simpson's Reform and Cultural Revolution, the myth that the writing of this period is dull and unimaginative. literary texts are placed within their 'landscape of cultural history'. The very extensive introduction depicts this landscape through chapters on the medieval world, looking within and beyond England, on bodies, souls, and minds, and on the meeting of image and word. Subsequent sections address prose (romance, tales and jests, moral instruction, sermons and books of religious instruction, mystical and visionary writing), poetry (learned and didactic, Chaucerian, lyrics, romances, and tales, with separate chapters on Hoccleve and Lydgate, and Hawes, Barclay, and Skelton), Scottish writing (verse, with separate chapters on Hentyson, and on Dunbar and Douglas, and including discussion of the works of Wintoun and Haty), and drama (Old and New Testament mystery plays, morality plays, and interludes). …

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