The Idea Of The Vernacular: An Anthology of Middle English Literary Theory, 1280-1520

This anthology is the first to collect and to analyze a significant sample of texts from the late Middle Ages concerned with the writing or reading process. Some sixty prologues and other excerpts from one of the most important periods of English literature are drawn from literary texts as well as from religious, philosophical, historical and other kinds of writing. The book is designed as a useful sourcebook for university teachers, providing texts and historical, contextual background. The book also includes five essays which propose new definitions of medieval literary theory and discuss the politics of Middle English writing. It also provides headnotes, notes, two maps, bibliography, a substantial 55-page glossary and indices grouping the works by date, region, literary genre, profession or background of author, intended audience or patron, and frequency of survival in manuscripts or early printed editions. Only collection offering a large Middle English sampler combined with a view of the literary context Many of the texts are previously unedited, or are not easily available Contextualizes major writers such as Chaucer, Langland, Malory