Medieval English Lyrics and Carols

Medieval English Lyrics and Carols

Edited by Thomas G. Duncan





A new and comprehensive anthology of medieval lyrics and carols, in new editions, with introduction and commentary.
Lyrics and carols are two of the most important types of medieval literature. This anthology provides a generous and wide-ranging selection, beginning with the first lyrics in English to celebrate love as romantic devotion to a woman, and including all pre-Chaucerian love lyrics (other than a few brief snatches). Poems by Chaucer and his successors present the courtly game of love in its sophisticated later medieval form, while devotional lyrics portray the tenderness of the later medieval response to Christ as lover and beloved and to the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus, Mary as sorrowing mother and as Queen of Heaven. Fully represented also are lyrics on characteristically medieval moral and penitential themes, alongside miscellaneous lyrics such as drinking and dancing songs, ballads, satires, poems of wit, humour and sexual innuendo, accounts of lecherous priests, minstrels mocking their audiences, and women vividly listing their lovers' inadequacies.
The texts are edited anew, accompanied with a textual apparatus detailing manuscript readings where emendations have been made to restore sense, metre and rhyme. The language of pre-Chaucerian poems has been normalised to accord with the dialect of late fourteenth-century London ("Chaucerian English"), and unfamiliar spellings in later lyrics have been regularized. Readability is further aided by line-by-line glosses. An extensive introduction offers an appraisal of the forms, themes and contexts of the lyrics and a full discussion of their language and metre, while a comprehensive commentary gives further essential information.

Thomas G. Duncan is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the School of English at St Andrews University.


March 2013
480 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843843412
Format: Paperback
BISAC LCO017000, LIT011000, MUS020000
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Table of Contents

Preface to Text
Lyric Texts
Appendix A: Music and Metre
Appendix B: The Syllabic Analysis of Middle English Verse


A most welcome addition to the study of medieval English literature. MEDIAEVISTIK 27

A welcome addition to the literature of the genre. PARERGON

A welcome addition to the bookshelf of any serious scholar of the medieval period ... indispensable ... refreshing ... an excellent overview (and) resource for those wishing to go deeper into the field of early music. THE CONSORT

It is a well-chosen and enjoyable collection, conveniently organized and with an excellent introduction. FOLK MUSIC JOURNAL, November 2013

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