A Companion to the Middle English Lyric

October 2005
328 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
BISAC LIT011000, LIT014000, LIT004120

A Companion to the Middle English Lyric

Edited by Thomas G. Duncan

Comprehensive survey of the Middle English lyric, one of the most important forms of medieval literature.
Winner of a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award

The Middle English lyric occupies a place of considerable importance in the history of English literature. Here, for the first time in English, are found many features of formal and thematic importance: they include rhyme scheme, stanzaic form, the carol genre, love poetry in the manner of the troubadour poets, and devotional poems focusing on the love, suffering and compassion of Christ and the Virgin Mary. The essays in this volume aim to provide both background information on and new assessments of the lyric. By treating Middle English lyrics chapter by chapter according to their kinds - poems dealing with love, with religious devotion, with moral, political and popular themes, and those associated with preaching - it provides the awareness of their characteristic cultural contexts and literary modalities necessary for an informed critical reading. Full account is taken of the scholarship upon which our knowledge of these lyrics rests, especially the outstanding contributions of the last few decades and such recent insights as those of gender criticism. Also included are detailed discussions of the valuable information afforded by the widely varying manuscript contexts in which Middle English lyrics survive and of the diverse issues involved in editing these texts. Separate chapters are devoted to the carol, which came to prominence in the fifteenth century, and to Middle Scots lyrics which, at the end of the Middle English lyric tradition, present some sophisticated productions of an entirely new order.

Contributors: Julia Boffey, Thomas G. Duncan, John Scattergood, Vincent Gillespie, Christiania Whitehead, Douglas Gray, Karl Reichl, Thorlac Turville-Petre, Alan J. Fletcher, Bernard O'Donoghue, Sarah Stanbury and Alasdair A. MacDonald.

THOMAS G. DUNCAN is Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of English, University of St Andrews

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Table of Contents

Introduction - Thomas G. Duncan
Middle English Lyrics: Metre and Editorial Practice - Thomas G. Duncan
The love lyric before Chaucer - John Scattergood
Moral and Penitential Lyrics - Vincent Gillespie
Middle English Religious Lyrics - Christiania Whitehead
Middle English Courtly Lyrics: Chaucer to Henry VIII - D Gray
The Middle English Carol - Karl Reichl
Political Lyrics - Thorlac Turville-Petre
The Lyric in the Sermon - Alan J Fletcher
'Cuius Contrarium': Middle English Popular Lyrics - Bernard O'Donoghue
Gender and Voice in Middle English Religious Lyrics - Sarah Stanbury
Lyrics in Middle Scots -


A very successful collection of articles on the shorter poems of medieval England and Scotland. ARCHIV
An important collection. [...] The essays in this collection are of great significance, covering everything from manuscript context to political approaches to Middle Scots lyrics. THE YEAR'S WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIES
This comprehensive companion is a welcome resource, providing a variety of approaches and a wealth of examples. ECONOMIA
An expertly assembled and immaculately produced volume which will not be easily surpassed as an introduction to this important field. ANGLIA
A most welcome addition to studies of the medieval lyric. Admirably combines informative and precisely detailed contextual material with critically acute and original readings. MEDIUM AEVUM
Proves a most useful guide to the Middle English lyric and its modern scholarship. ENGLISH STUDIES

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