October 17, 2013

Chaucer and Array

Patterns of Costume and Fabric Rhetoric in The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde and Other Works

Laura F. Hodges

The use Chaucer made of costume rhetoric, and its function within his body of works, are examined here for the first time. The study explores Chaucer's knowledge of the conventional imagery of medieval literary genres, especially medieval romances and fabliaux, and his manipulation of rhetorical conventions through variations and omissions. In particular, it addresses Chaucer's habit of playing upon his audience's expectations, derived from their knowledge of the literary genres involved - and why he omits lengthy passages of costume rhetoric in his romances, but includes them in some of his comedic works, It also discusses the numerous minor facets of costume rhetoric employed in decorating his texts. Read more.

Living with Shakespeare

Essays by Writers, Actors, and Directors
Written by Susannah Carson
Foreword by Harold Bloom
Why Shakespeare? What explains our continued fascination with his poems and plays? In Living with Shakespeare, Susannah Carson invites forty actors, directors, scholars, and writers to reflect on why his work is still such a vital part of our culture.
We hear from James Earl Jones on reclaiming Othello as a tragic hero, Julie Taymor on turning Prospero into Prospera, Camille Paglia on teaching the plays to actors, F. Murray Abraham on gaining an audience’s sympathy for Shylock, Sir Ben Kingsley on communicating Shakespeare’s ideas through performance, Germaine Greer on the playwright’s home life, Dame Harriet Walter on the complexity of his heroines, Brian Cox on social conflict in his time and ours, Jane Smiley on transposing King Lear to Iowa in A Thousand Acres, and Sir Antony Sher on feeling at home in Shakespeare’s language. Together these essays provide a fresh appreciation of Shakespeare’s works as a living legacy to be read, seen, performed, adapted, revised, wrestled with, and embraced by creative professionals and lay enthusiasts alike. Read more.

Hamlet's Dreams: The Robben Island Shakespeare

Hamlet's Dreams brings together the Robben Island Prison of Nelson Mandela and the prison that is Denmark for Shakespeare's Hamlet. David Shalkwyk uses the circulation of the so-called 'Robben Island Shakespeare', a copy of the Alexander edition of the Complete Works that was secretly circulated, annotated and signed by a group of Robben Island political prisoner in the 1970s (including Nelson Mandela), to examine the representation and experience of imprisonment in South African prison memoirs and Shakespeare's Hamlet. It looks at the ways in which oppressive spaces or circumstances restrict the ways in which personal identity can be formed or formulated in relation to others. The 'bad dreams' that keep Hamlet from considering himself the 'king of infinite space' are, it argues, the need for other people that becomes especially evident in situations of real or psychological imprisonment. Read more here. For a review in The Spectator, click here.

Trading Tongues
Merchants, Multilingualism, and Medieval Literature

Jonathan Hsy
Trading Tongues offers fresh approaches to the multilingualism of major early English authors like Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Margery Kempe, and William Caxton, and lesser-known figures like French lyricist Charles d’Orléans. Juxtaposing literary works with contemporaneous Latin and French civic records, mixed-language merchant miscellanies, and bilingual phrasebooks, Jonathan Hsy illustrates how languages commingled in late medieval and early modern cities. Chaucer, a customs official for the Port of London, infused English poetry with French and Latin merchant jargon, and London merchants incorporated Latin and vernacular verse forms into trilingual account books. For more information, click here.

Reading La3amon’s Brut.
Approaches and Explorations.
Allen, Rosamund, Jane Roberts and Carole Weinberg (Eds.)
For La3amon, or Lawman (both forms are used), a parish priest living on the Welsh March c.1200, the criteria of language, race and territory all provided ways of defining the nation state, which is why his Brut commands a diverse readership to-day. The range of view-points in this book reflects the breadth and complexity of La3amon’s own vision of the way his world is moulded by past conquests and racial tensions. The Brut is an open-ended narrative of Britain, its peoples, and its place-names as they changed under new rulers, and tells, for the first time in English, the rise and fall of Arthur, highlighting his role in the unfolding history of Britain. Beginning with its legendary founder, Brutus, the story is imagined anew, and although it concludes with an Anglo-Saxon kingdom, La3amon’s closing words remind us that changes will come: i-wurðe þet iwurðe: i-wurðe Godes wille. Amen. For more information, click here.

Acta Scandinavica (AS 1)

Medieval Christianity in the North 
New Studies

K. Salonen, K. Villads Jensen, T. Jorgensen (eds.)

Investigates, from a fresh viewpoint, important aspects of Nordic Christianity in the Middle Ages and discusses to what extent ideas and institutions were adapted to local circumstances.

For full details, click here.

Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy (USML 25)

Cultures of Religious Reading in the Late Middle Ages 

Instructing the Soul, Feeding the Spirit, and Awakening the Passion
S. Corbellini (ed.)

This volume presents a new, interdisciplinary approach to religious reading and reading techniques in a lay environment within late medieval textual, social, and cultural transformations. For further information, click here.

Essex: The Cultural Impact of an Elizabethan Courtier [Hardcover]

Annaliese Connolly (Editor), Lisa Hopkins (Editor)
Publication Date: 1 Oct 2013

This collection of new essays about the earl of Essex, one of the most important figures of the Elizabethan court, resituates his life and career within the richly diverse contours of his cultural and political milieu. It identifies the ways in which his biography has been variously interpreted both during his own lifetime and since his death in 1601. 
Collectively, the essays examine a wealth of diverse visual and textual manifestations of Essex: poems, portraits, films; texts produced by Essex himself, including private letters, prose tracts, poems and entertainments; and the transmission and circulation of these as a means of disseminating his political views.
More information.

The Bible in Shakespeare
Hannibal Hamlin
400 pages | 14 black-and-white halftones | 216x138mm
978-0-19-967761-0 | Hardback | 29 August 2013

Also available as: eBook
  • The first major critical study of Shakespeare's biblical allusion.
  • Reveals the full extent of Shakespeare's reading in and thinking about the Bible.
  • Studies the place of the Bible in English Renaissance culture through the lens of its greatest writer.
  • Advances our understanding of the practice of allusion in literary, especially dramatic, works.
  • Offers original and challenging interpretations of Shakespeare's plays.
 Continue reading.

Mapping the Medieval City
Distributed for University of Wales Press
244 pages | 5 3/4 x 9 | © 2011
University of Wales Press - Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages
This fascinating volume brings together scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including literary studies, history, geography, and archaeology, to investigate questions of space, place, and identity in the medieval city.  Read more.

Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature

166 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
University of Wales Press - Writers of Wales

Although the legends of Arthur have been popular throughout Europe from the Middle Ages on, the earliest references to Arthur are actually found in Welsh literature, beginning with the Welsh-Latin Historia Brittonum, which dates from the ninth century. In Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature, O. J. Padel provides a survey of medieval Welsh literary references to Arthur and emphasizes their importance to Arthurian studies as a whole. Padel considers texts from different genres alongside one another, 

Authority in European Book Culture 1400-1600
Edited by Pollie Bromilow, University of Liverpool, UK

Series : Material Readings in Early Modern Culture

Through its many and varied manifestations, authority has frequently played a role in the communication process in both manuscript and print. This volume explores how authority, whether religious, intellectual, political or social, has enforced the circulation of certain texts and text versions, or acted to prevent the distribution of books, pamphlets and other print matter. It also analyzes how readers, writers and printers have sometimes rebelled against the constraints and restrictions of authority, publishing controversial works anonymously or counterfeiting authoritative texts; and how the written or printed word itself has sometimes been perceived to have a kind of authority, which might have had ramifications in social, political or religious spheres. Read more.

The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous
Edited by Asa Simon Mittman, California State University, Chico, USA and Peter Dendle, Pennsylvania State University, Mont Alto, USA
The field of monster studies has grown significantly over the past few years and this companion provides a comprehensive guide to the study of monsters and the monstrous from historical, regional and thematic perspectives. The collection reflects the truly multi-disciplinary nature of monster studies, bringing in scholars from literature, art history, religious studies, history, classics, and cultural and media studies. The companion will offer scholars and graduate students the first comprehensive and authoritative review of this emergent field. Read more.

1215: The Year of Magna Carta Paperback
by Danny Danziger (Author), John Gillingham (Author)

Surveying a broad landscape through a narrow lens, 1215 sweeps readers back eight centuries in an absorbing portrait of life during a time of global upheaval, the ripples of which can still be felt today. At the center of this fascinating period is the document that has become the root of modern freedom: the Magna Carta. It was a time of political revolution and domestic change that saw the Crusades, Richard the Lionheart, King John, and -- in legend -- Robin Hood all make their marks on history. 

The events leading up to King John's setting his seal to the famous document at Runnymede in June 


Fictions of Conversion
Jews, Christians, and Cultures of Change in Early Modern England

Jeffrey S. Shoulson

288 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth Feb 2013 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4482-3 |
Ebook Feb 2013 | ISBN 978-0-8122-0819-1 About |

"Fictions of Conversion is a timely and important book. Ambitious, beautifully written, and sweeping while not losing sight of historical context or of the telling detail, it offers a new analysis of a crucial topic, and connects that analysis to a number of compelling readings of literary works both familiar and less so."—Katherine Eggert, University of Colorado at Boulder
The fraught history of England's Long Reformation is a convoluted if familiar story: in the space of twenty-five years, England changed religious identity three times. In 1534 England broke from the papacy with the Act of Supremacy that made Henry VIII head of the church; nineteen years later the act was overturned by his daughter Mary, only to be reinstated at the ascension of her half-sister Elizabeth. Buffeted by political and confessional cross-currents, the English discovered that conversion was by no means a finite, discrete process. In Fictions of Conversion, Jeffrey S. Shoulson argues that the vagaries of religious conversion were more readily negotiated when they were projected onto an alien identity—one of which the potential for transformation offered both promise and peril but which could be kept distinct from the emerging identity of Englishness: the Jew. Read more...
 The Last Judgement in Medieval Preaching

T. Mertens, M. Sherwood Smith, M. Mecklenburg, H.-J. Schiewer (eds.)

XXXIV+185 p., 156 x 234 mm, 2013
ISBN: 978-2-503-51524-3
Languages: English

This collection provides new essays on the theme of the Last Judgement in medieval sermons from across Europe.

In the Middle Ages, the sermon was a powerful and versatile means of bringing the Word of God to the people. In fact, in the oral culture of that period, it was the primary medium for Christian clergy to convey religious education to lay audiences. Moreover, the sermon played an important role in the liturgy and life of the religious orders. With the growth of lay literacy the sermon collection also developed into a vernacular literary genre of its own.
Two aspects of Christian piety, hopeful expectation on the one hand, and fearful anticipation on the other, were decisive factors for the shaping of religious life and practical pastoral care. Both these aspects were often brought to the fore in sermons on the Last Judgement as part of a recurrent argument against a life too much oriented towards the world. The preachers dwell on both the Particular Judgement occurring immediately after death and the General Judgement over the whole of creation at the end of times.
This volume brings together scholars from several European countries with the purpose to present their research on the theme of the Last Judgement in medieval sermons. The scope of scholars is broadened to incorporate not only specialists in sermon studies, but also historians, theologians, and literary historians to encourage research along new, multi-perspectival lines. Read more

Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages  
Ethics and the Mixed Form in Chaucer, Gower, Usk, and Hoccleve 

264 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2013

Literary scholars often avoid the category of the aesthetic in discussions of ethics, believing that purely aesthetic judgments can vitiate analyses of a literary work’s sociopolitical heft and meaning. In Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages, Eleanor Johnson reveals that aesthetics—the formal aspects of literary language that make it sense-perceptible—are indeed inextricable from ethics in the writing of medieval literature. Read more.

Pleasure and Gender in the Writings of Thomas More: Pursuing the Common Weal
(Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies) [Hardcover]

A. D. Cousins

Art, Faith and Place in East Anglia

From Prehistory to the Present

Edited by T.A. Heslop
Edited by Elizabeth Mellings
Edited by Margit Thfner

The relationship between religious or spiritual artworks and the locality where such objects are made and used is the central question this volume addresses. While it is a well-known fact that religious artworks, objects and buildings can have a power or agency of their own (iconoclasm, the violent defacement of an object which paradoxically testifies to the fear and loathing it has generated, being an extreme example), the sources of this power are less well understood. It is this problem which the book seeks to begin to remedy, using East Anglia, an area of Britain with an exceptionally long history of religious diversity, as its prism. Case-studies are taken from prehistory right up to the twenty-first century, and from a variety of media, including wall-paintings, church architecture, and stained glass; famous sites examined include Seahenge and Sutton Hoo. Overall, the book shows how profoundly religious artworks are embedded in local communities, belief systems, histories and landscapes. 

First Published: 20 Dec 2012
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843837442
Pages: 384
Size: 24.4 x 17.2
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
Subject: Art Architecture & Photography
BIC Class: AG

Honour, Exchange and Violence in Beowulf

Peter S. Baker

This book examines violence in its social setting, and especially as an essential element in the heroic system of exchange (sometimes called the Economy of Honour). It situates Beowulf in a northern European culture where violence was not stigmatized as evidence of a breakdown in social order but rather was seen as a reasonable way to get things done; where kings and their retainers saw themselves above all as warriors whose chief occupation was the pursuit of honour; and where most successful kings were those perceived as most predatory. Though kings and their subjects yearned for peace, the political and religious institutions of the time did little to restrain their violent impulses.   Read more.

First Published: 19 Apr 2013
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843843467
Pages: 292
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: D.S.Brewer
Series: Anglo-Saxon Studies
Subject: Medieval Literature


Machiavellian Encounters in Tudor and Stuart England

Literary and Political Influences from the Reformation to the Restoration

Edited by Alessandro Arienzo, the University of Naples, 'Federico II', Italy and Alessandra Petrina, the Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy

Series : Anglo-Italian Renaissance Studies

 Imprint: Ashgate
  • Illustrations: Includes 4 b&w illustrations
  • Published: January 2013
  • Format: 234 x 156 mm
  • Extent: 218 pages
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Other editions: ebook ePUB, ebook PDF
  • ISBN: 978-1-4094-3672-0
  • ISBN Short: 9781409436720
  • BL Reference: 820.9'3581'09031-dc23
  • LoC Control No: 2012027002
Taking into consideration the political and literary issues hanging upon the circulation of Machiavelli's works in England, this volume highlights how topics and ideas stemming from Machiavelli's books-including but not limited to the Prince-strongly influenced the contemporary political debate. Read more here.


Chaucer, Gower, Hoccleve and the Commercial Practices of Late Fourteenth-Century London 

 Craig E. Bertolet, Auburn University, USA

  • Imprint: Ashgate
  • Published: January 2013
  • Format: 234 x 156 mm
  • Extent: 178 pages
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Other editions: ebook ePUB, ebook PDF
  • ISBN: 978-1-4094-4842-6
  • ISBN Short: 9781409448426
  • BL Reference: 820.9'3553'0902-dc23
  • LoC Control No: 2012025010
As residents of fourteenth-century London, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, and Thomas Hoccleve each day encountered aspects of commerce such as buying, selling, and worrying about being cheated. Many of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales address how pervasive the market had become in personal relationships. Gower's writings include praises of the concept of trade and worries that widespread fraud has harmed it. Hoccleve's poetry examines the difficulty of living in London on a slender salary while at the same time being subject to all the temptations a rich market can provide. Each writer finds that principal tensions in London focused on commerce - how it worked, who controlled it, how it was organized, and who was excluded from it. Read more. 

New Book Series: Shakespeare and the Stage

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press has established a new Series on Shakespeare and the Stage, devoted to the publication of scholarly works on the theatrical dimensions of the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Both individual studies and collections of previously unpublished essays are welcome.

The Series Editors are Peter Kanelos, Valparaiso University (peter.kanelos@valpo.edu) and Matthew Kozusko, Ursinus College (mkozusko@ursinus.edu). Proposals should be addressed directly to the editors.

Shakespeare and the Stage works across the boundaries that have traditionally structured academic accounts of Shakespeare and performance. The series features both praxis-oriented and theoretical approaches to early modern drama in performance, and the editors encourage submissions treating the broad arc and legacy of Shakespeare, the critical reception of Shakespearean productions, and the afterlife of Shakespeare in the theater. The editors are soliciting proposals and manuscripts in the following areas:

  • Early Modern theatrical practice
  • Shakespearean performance history
  • Shakespearean adaptations and appropriations
  • Stage-centered Shakespearean criticism
The first volume in the series, to appear in 2013, is Shakespeare Expressed: Page, Stage, and Classroom in Shakespeare and His Colleagues, edited by Kathryn M. Moncrief, Kathryn R. McPherson, and Sarah Enloe.

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, with editorial offices in Madison, New Jersey, is a co-publishing partner of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Lanham, MD. For further information, contact the press Director, Harry Keyishian, at fdupress@fdu.edu.


New Readings of The Merchant of Venice

Editor: Horacio Sierra
Date Of Publication: Jan 2013
Isbn13: 978-1-4438-4176-4
Isbn: 1-4438-4176-5
The last decade has witnessed a spate of high-profile presentations of The Merchant of Venice: the 2004 Michael Radford film, 2010’s New York City “Shakespeare in the Park” production, as well as the play’s Tony Award-nominated 2010-11 Broadway run. Likewise, new scholarly works such as Kenneth Gross’s Shylock is Shakespeare (2006) and Janet Adelman’s Blood Relations (2008) have offered poignant insights into this play. Why has this drama garnered so much attention of late? What else can we learn from this contentious comedy? How else can we read the drama’s characters? Where do studies of The Merchant of Venice go from here? Read more.


 A History of the Low Countries 

2nd edition

Palgrave Macmillan 
Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are three relatively small countries whose contribution to Europe's economic, spiritual and artistic heritage has been immense. Their histories cannot be written in isolation from one another, or from their neighbours.

In the first full historical survey of the Benelux area to be written in English, Paul Arblaster describes the whole sweep of the history of the Low Countries, from Roman frontier provinces through to the establishment of the three constitutional monarchies of the present day. Read more.


Shakespeare Beyond Doubt

Evidence, Argument, Controversy
Edited by: Paul Edmondson, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Edited by: Stanley Wells, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

  • A collection of essays by major authorities in the field discuss the authorship debate surrounding Shakespeare’s work
  • Provides a wide range of discussions of all significant aspects of the topic in a readable and engaging style
  • Offers a comprehensive and grounded scholarly exploration of this hotly debated field
Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy is organized in three sections: ‘Sceptics’, ‘Shakespeare as Author’, and ‘A Cultural Phenomenon: Did Shakespeare Write Shakespeare?’ 
Read more. 

Approaches to Teaching Milton's Paradise Lost: second edition (Approaches to Teaching World Literature) [Paperback]

Peter C. Herman
Joseph Wittreich

          This second edition of Approaches to Teaching Milton’s Paradise Lost addresses Milton in the light of the digital age, new critical approaches to his poem, and his continued presence in contemporary culture. It aims to help instructors enliven the teaching of Paradise Lost and address the challenges presented to students by the poem—the early modern syntax and vocabulary, the political and theological contexts, and the abounding classical references. Read more.

Shakespeare Among the Courtesans
Prostitution, Literature, and Drama, 1500-1650
Duncan Salkeld, University of Chichester, UK

Courtesans – women who achieve wealth, status, or power through sexual transgression – have played both a central and contradictory role in literature: they have been admired, celebrated, feared, and vilified. This study of the courtesan in Renaissance English drama focuses not only on the moral ambivalence of these women, but with special attention to Anglo-Italian relations, illuminates little known aspects of their lives. It traces the courtesan from a wry comedic character in the plays of Terence and Plautus to its literary exhaustion in the seventeenth-century dramatic works of Dekker, Marston, Webster, Middleton, Shirley and Brome. The author focuses especially on the presentation of the courtesan in the sixteenth century - dramas by Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Lyly view the courtesan as a symbol of social disease and decay, transforming classical conventions into English prejudices.
Renaissance Anglo-Italian cultural and sexual relations are also investigated through comparisons of travel narratives, original source materials, and analysis of Aretino's representations of celebrated Italian courtesans. Amid these fascinating tales of aspiration, desire and despair lingers the intriguing question of who was the 'dark lady' of Shakespeare's sonnets. Full details

Performing Early Modern Drama Today
Edited by Pascale Aebischer, University of Exeter
and Kathryn Prince, University of Ottawa

While much attention has been devoted to performances of Shakespeare’s plays today, little has been focused on modern productions of the plays of his contemporaries, such as Marlowe, Webster and Jonson. Performing Early Modern Drama Today offers an overview of early modern performance, featuring chapters by academics, teachers and practitioners, incorporating a variety of approaches. The book examines modern performances in both Britain and America and includes interviews with influential directors, close analysis of particular stage and screen adaptations and detailed appendices of professional and amateur productions. Chapters examine intellectual and practical opportunities to analyse what is at stake when the plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries are performed by ours. Whether experimenting with original performance practices or contemporary theatrical and cinematic ones, productions of early modern drama offer an inspiring, sometimes unusual, always interesting perspective on the plays they interpret for modern audiences. Read more.

New item: Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland
The history of relations between Britain and Ireland has at times emphasized borders more than crossings. That history has sometimes been preoccupied with notions of identity as defined by family, province, or nation rather than identity that is dynamic and still emerging. Published in conjunction with the exhibition Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland, the catalog challenges us to think differently about cultural and political exchange between Ireland and Britain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Thomas Herron and Brendan Kane.
Paper, 2013. Folger Shakespeare Library.  Illustrations, 116 pages.