Books to look out for in November 2018

Looking for a new Boydell book this month? From the musical culture of the Low Countries, to the debt owed by Shakespeare to Ovid, we round up the best (and most eclectic range of) books to put on your reading list this November.

Until next time!

Piety and Polyphony in Sixteenth-Century Holland

The Choirbooks of St Peter’s Church, Leiden

By Eric Jas

The musical culture of the Low Countries in the early modern period was a flourishing one, apparent beyond the big cathedrals and monasteries, and reaching down to smaller parish churches. Unfortunately, very few manuscripts containing the music have survived from the period, and what we know rests to a huge extent on six music books preserved from St Peter’s Church, Leiden. This book describes the manuscripts, their provenance, history and repertory, and the zeven-getijdencollege, the ecclesiastical organisations which ordered the music books, in detail.

Shakespeare’s Ovid and the Spectre of the Medieval

By Lindsay Ann Reid

The debt owed by Shakespeare to Ovid is a major and important topic in scholarship. This book offers a fresh approach to the subject, in aiming to account for the Middle English literary lenses through which Shakespeare and his contemporaries often approached Greco-Roman mythology. Drawing its principal examples from The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Lucrece, and Twelfth Night, it reinvestigates a selection of moments in Shakespeare’s works that have been widely identified in previous criticism as “Ovidian”, scrutinising their literary alchemy with an eye to uncovering how ostensibly classical references may be haunted by the under-acknowledged, spectral presences of medieval intertexts and traditions.

Sir John Fortescue and the Governance of England

By Margaret Kekewich

Sir John Fortescue was arguably the most important political thinker of fifteenth-century England. Rising from relative obscurity to become Chief Justice of the King’s Bench he progressively assumed a political role as a partisan of the Lancastrian cause during the Wars of the Roses. As Chancellor-in-exile to Henry VI he wrote on the lawful succession and in praise of the common law of England. This book provides the first comprehensive biography of Fortescue, reassessing his career and thought, challenging earlier views about his life, and discusses his work as a lawyer and political thinker in the light of modern scholarship.

A Critical Companion to John Skelton

Edited by Sebastian Sobecki and John Scattergood

John Skelton is a central literary figure and the leading poet during the first thirty years of Tudor rule. Nevertheless, he remains challenging and even contradictory for modern audiences. This book aims to provide an authoritative guide to this complex poet and his works, setting him in his historical, religious, and social contexts. Beginning with an exploration of his life and career, it goes on to cover all the major aspects of his poetry, from the literary traditions in which he wrote and the form of his compositions to the manuscript contexts and later reception.

Punishment and Medieval Education

By Ben Parsons

“What meanys shall I use to lurne withoute betynge?”, asks a pupil in a translation exercise compiled at Oxford in 1460s. One of the most conspicuous features of medieval education is its reliance on flogging. Throughout the period, the rod looms large in literary and artistic depictions of the schoolroom: it appears in teaching manuals, classroom exercises, and even in the iconography of instruction. As a whole, this study not only exposes the impressive rigour with which beating was defined, but also some of the doubts, paradoxes, and even anxieties that surrounded its usage.

ALT 36: African Literature Today

Queer Theory in Film & Fiction

By Ernest N. Emenyonu

Debates on the future of the African continent and the role of gender identities in these visions are increasingly present in literary criticism forums as African writers become bolder in exploring the challenges they face and celebrating gender diversity in the writing of short stories, novels, poetry, plays and films. Controversies over the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer (LGBTIQ) communities in Africa, as elsewhere, continue in the context of criminalization and/or intimidation of these groups. ALT 36 is also avaiable in (Africa Only) paperback.

The Annals of Dunstable Priory

Translated by David Preest and edited by Harriett R. Webster

Told with humour, outrage, and truthful detail, the Annals of Dunstable Priory are a valuable witness to thirteenth-century England, offering a lively and accessible account of an important and turbulent period of English history. Giving insights into many facets of medieval life, they perhaps most importantly offer detailed accounts of key events on an national and international stage, including the crisis of the Second Barons’ War in the reign of Henry III, and the conquest of Wales under Edward I. This new translation makes them available to a wider audience for the first time.

With Mornefull Musique: Funeral Elegies in Early Modern England

By K. Dawn Grapes

What was the musical culture of death in early modern England? K. Dawn Grapes examines musical funeral elegies and the people related to commemorative tribute – the departed, the composer, potential patrons, and friends and family of the deceased – to determine the place these musical-poetic texts held in a society in which issues of death were discussed regularly, producing a constant, pervasive shadow over everyday life.

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