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Imagining a Medieval English Nation

2003

Kathy Lavezzo, editor

Imagining a Medieval English Nation

The first comprehensive analysis of English national identity in the late Middle Ages

Examining a diverse array of texts—ranging from Latin and vernacular historiography to Ricardian poetry and chivalric treatises—this volume reveals the variety of forms England assumed when it was imagined in the medieval West.

Contributors: Kathleen Davis, L. O. Aranye Fradenburg, Andrew Galloway, Jill C. Havens, Peggy A. Knapp, Larry Scanlon, D. Vance Smith, Claire Sponsler, Lynn Staley, Thorlac Turville-Petre.

Imagining a Medieval English Nation is an unusually coherent and timely collection of essays by leading scholars, suggesting that even at their cultural point of origin our newly problematic national and ethnic identities have always been fundamentally unstable.

John M. Ganim, author of Chaucerian Theatricality

During the late Middle Ages, the increasing expansion of administrative, legal, and military systems by a central government, together with the greater involvement of the commons in national life, brought England closer than ever to political nationhood. Examining a diverse array of texts—ranging from Latin and vernacular historiography to Lollard tracts, Ricardian poetry, and chivalric treatises—this volume reveals the variety of forms “England” assumed when it was imagined in the medieval West.

These essays disrupt conventional thinking about the relationship between premodernity and modernity, challenge traditional preconceptions regarding the origins of the nation, and complicate theories about the workings of nationalism. Imagining a Medieval English Nation is not only a collection of new readings of major canonical works by leading medievalists, it is among the first book-length analyses on the subject and of critical interest.

Contributors: Kathleen Davis, Bucknell U; L. O. Aranye Fradenburg, U of California, Santa Barbara; Andrew Galloway, Cornell U; Jill C. Havens, Baylor U; Peggy A. Knapp, Carnegie Mellon U; Larry Scanlon, Rutgers U; D. Vance Smith, Princeton U; Claire Sponsler, U of Iowa; Lynn Staley, Colgate U; Thorlac Turville-Petre, U of Nottingham.


Imagining a Medieval English Nation

Kathy Lavezzo is assistant professor of English at the University of Iowa.

Imagining a Medieval English Nation

Imagining a Medieval English Nation is an unusually coherent and timely collection of essays by leading scholars, suggesting that even at their cultural point of origin our newly problematic national and ethnic identities have always been fundamentally unstable.

John M. Ganim, author of Chaucerian Theatricality

Imagining a Medieval English Nation

Contents

Introduction Kathy Lavezzo

Part I. Theorizing the Medieval English Nation Pro Patria Mori L. O. Aranye Fradenburg

Part II. The Languages of England Latin England Andrew Galloway

“As Englishe is comoun langage to oure puple”: The Lollards and Their Imagined “English” Community Jill C. Havens

Part III. Chaucer’s England Chaucer Imagines England (in English) Peggy A. Knapp

Hymeneal Alogic: Debating Political Community in The Parliament of Fowls Kathleen Davis

Part IV. Langland’s England King, Commons, and Kind Wit: Langland’s National Vision and the Rising of 1381 Larry Scanlon

Piers Plowmanand the National Noetic of Edward III D. Vance Smith

Part V. England and Its Neighbors Translating “Communitas” Lynn Staley

The Captivity of Henry Chrystede: Froissart’s Chroniques, Ireland, and Fourteenth-Century Nationalism Claire Sponsler

Afterword: The Brutus Prologue to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Thorlac Turville-Petre

Contributors
Index