Description : This volume extends the 'British Isles' approach pioneered by Robin Frame and Rees Davies to the later middle ages. Through examination of issues such as frontier formation, colonial identities and connections with the wider world it explores whether this period saw the bonds between the British Isles weaken, strengthen, or simply alter.
Description : Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England sheds new light on Middle English romance, the most popular genre of secular literature in late medieval England. Romances are the predecessors to modern science fiction and Westerns: like these genres, they are often thought of as representative of the "popular culture" of their day. This book, however, offers a different perspective on the genre of medieval English romance, showing that, in fact, suchtexts appealed primarily to the gentry, England's elite landowners who lacked titles of nobility. To make this case, Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England examines surviving manuscripts, surveys recentwork by historians on the gentry, and provides analyses of the literary texts, all of which, together, shows this genre speaking to this social class.
Description : New study sets the medieval palatinate of Durham firmly in the context of a community built round the cult of St Cuthbert.
Description : The Court in English Alliterative Poetry, 1350-1450 explores certain links between literature and society in the portrayal of courtly society in a group of alliterative texts: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyn, Morte Arthure, Wars of Alexander and the Gest Historiale of the Destruction of Troy. The book examines the social function of the texts and how they affect their audience.
Description : A ground-breaking approach to the politics of late medieval texts, Lordship and Literature investigates the importance of the great household to late fourteenth-century English culture and society. A sustained new reading of John Gower's major English poem, Confessio Amantis, shows how deeply the great household informed the way Gower and his contemporaries imagined their world. Exploring royal government and gentry ambitions, this thoroughly interdisciplinary book views the period's politics and literature in terms of a household-based economy of power. The great household rode immense political shockwaves in the late fourteenth century, when royal aggrandizement and economic crisis in the wake of the Black Death challenged dominant modes of aristocratic power. Lordship and Literature examines responses to these challenges, analysing texts including the Appeal of the Merciless Parliament, imagination of lordly power by Chaucer, Gower, and Clanvowe, and parliamentary controversy over livery and justice. The economics of power-described by thinkers such as Pierre Bourdieu and Marcel Mauss-spans Ricardian political and literary culture, informing elite politics and love allegory alike. Competing models of household politics, and their literary force, are revealed here in wide-ranging interpretations of exchange (of women, hospitality, livery, loyalty, retribution) in Gower's complex and influential poem. Lordship and Literature locates Confessio Amantis firmly in its historical moment, arguing that the poem belongs to a powerful yet embattled aristocratic politics.
Description : It is well known that political, economic, and social power in the British Isles in the Middle Ages lay in the hands of a small group of domini-lords. In his final book, the late Sir Rees Davies explores the personalities of these magnates, the nature of their lordship, and the ways in which it was expressed in a diverse and divided region in the period 1272-1422. Although their right to rule was rarely questioned, the lords flaunted their identity and superiority through the promotion of heraldic lore, the use of elevated forms of address, and by the extravagant display of their wealth and power. Their domestic routine, furnishings, dress, diet, artistic preferences, and pastimes all spoke of a lifestyle of privilege and authority. Warfare was a constant element in their lives, affording access to riches and reputation, but also carrying the danger of capture, ruin and even death, while their enthusiasm for crusades and tournaments testified to their energy and bellicose inclinations. Above all, underpinning the lords' control of land was their control of men-a complex system of dependence and reward that Davies restores to central significance by studying the British Isles as a whole. The exercise and experience of lordship was far more varied than the English model alone would suggest.
Description : The literature of chivalry and of courtly love has left an indelible impression on western ideas. What is less clear is how far the contemporary warrior aristocracy took this literature to heart and how far its ideals had influence in practice, especially in war. These are questions that Maurice Keen is uniquely qualified to answer. This book is a collection of Maurice Keen's articles and deals with both the ideas of chivalry and the reality of warfare. He discusses brotherhood-in-arms, courtly love, crusades, heraldry, knighthood, the law of arms, tournaments and the nature of nobility, as well as describing the actual brutality of medieval warfare and the lure of plunder. While the standards set by chivalric codes undoubtedly had a real, if intangible, influence on the behaviour of contemporaries, chivalry's idealisation of the knight errant also enhanced the attraction of war, endorsing its horrors with a veneer of acceptability.
Description : The great strength of this collection is its wide range...a valuable work for anyone interested in the social aspects of the medieval nobility. CHOICE Articles on the origins and nature of "nobility", its relationship with the late Roman world, its acquisition and exercise of power, its association with military obligation, and its transformation into a more or less willing instrument of royal government. Embracing regions as diverse as England (before and after the Norman Conquest), Italy, the Iberian peninsula, France, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and the Romano-German empire, it ranges over the whole medieval period from the fifth to the early sixteenth century. Contributors: STUART AIRLIE, MARTIN AURELL, T. N. BISSON, PAUL FOURACRE, PIOTR GORECKI, MARTIN H. JONES, STEINAR IMSEN, REGINE LE JAN, JANET N. NELSON, TIMOTHY A REUTER, JANE ROBERTS, MARIA JOAO VIOLANTE BRANCO, JENNIFER C. WARD