By J. A. Burrow
In an up-to-date variation of his highly winning pupil creation to English literature from 1100 to 1500, J.A. Burrow takes account of scholarly advancements within the the sphere, so much significantly devoting a last bankruptcy to the influence of historicism on medieval experiences. filled with details and stimulating principles, and a excitement to learn, Burrow's e-book offers with situations of composition and reception, the most genres, "modes of which means" (allegory etc.), and medieval literature's afterlife nowa days. It exhibits that the literature of authors akin to Chaucer, Gower, and Langland is extra with no trouble available than often imagined, and really worth analyzing too. by means of putting medieval writers of their old context - the 4 centuries among the Norman Conquest and the Renaissance - Professor Burrow explains not just how they wrote, yet why.
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Additional info for Medieval Writers and their Work: Middle English Literature 1100-1500, 2nd Edition
Unlike John Lydgate, with whom his name is often linked, Hoccleve is an interesting and still underrated writer; and much of the interest of his work derives from its rich autobiographical vein. The pattern of complaint and petition is exceptionally clear here. His autobiographical passages, much fuller and more detailed than Chaucer’s, regularly form part of pleas for assistance, and they derive their character from this function. La Male Regle de T. Hoccleve,14 for instance, may at ﬁrst appear a purely personal confession; but Hoccleve’s account of his ill-regulated life leads him to reﬂect not only on his broken health but also on his empty purse— ‘My body and purs been at ones seeke’ (409)—and the poem ends with an appeal to Lord Fourneval, the Treasurer, to pay his overdue annuity.
The passage itself suggests two answers. First, the poet’s description of how he travelled widely throughout the land to ﬁnd those ‘noble books’ which contained what he was looking for recalls the relative rarity of books in his day, and also the diﬃculty of tracking down and assembling what had been written on a particular subject, in this case the history of the British. So even if a writer ended up doing no more than produce a copy of an existing text, he could still claim to have done something useful; and if he succeeded in ‘compressing three books into one’, that was even more useful.
This state of aﬀairs has been brought about progressively in modern times by developments in technology and electronics (printing, photography, computers); and it diﬀers radically from the situation in the Middle Ages, when writing had no technical alternative. Before printing, the physical act which produced originals was the same as that which produced copies. Writers were responsible for both. Scholars have recently drawn attention to a remarkable passage from St Bonaventure, in the fourth quaestio of his proem to his commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sentences.