Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

The History and Taxonomy of the Genres of Early Middle English

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

The History and Taxonomy of the Genres of Early Middle English

Article excerpt

The History and Taxonomy of the Genres of Early Middle English R. M. Wilson. Early Middle English Literature. ISBN: 978-0-36722090-7. London: VitaSource Bookshelf: Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group, July 12, 2019.

This is another older piece of literary scholarship by a different writer, R. M. Wilson. I am interested in this subject because there are too many misunderstandings about earlier English literatures, and I am hoping to find some clarities in these studies, but instead I am finding that these are great sources of the persisting errors, or rather for understanding how some of these misunderstandings were started.

The book is advertised thus: "Originally published in 1939_the book examines authorship and provenance and the effect this had upon the literature of the period. This text examines literature from the period of 1066 to 1300 and addresses the transition between Old and Middle English and looks at the effect the transition of language during this period from Anglo-French to English, had on the literature of the time."

The table of contents suggests a more organized, structured and reasonable understanding of the subject than Kane's project. The chapters consider: the impact of the "conquest" on changing the region, Anglo-Latin and Anglo-French roots, the impact of the homiletic tradition, the influence of a couple of texts (Ancren Riwle and Owl and the Nightingale), religious and didactic literature, romance, tales and fables, lyric poetry, and roots of English drama. …

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