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Evidence for medieval thinking about marriage, drawn from a number of literary texts.This book uses literary texts to trace the development of medieval thinking about marriage in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, taking into account not only important developments in theological and legal thinking about marriage during this period, but conventions such as `courtly love', which affect its portrayal in literary texts. The focus of this study is upon England, and specifically three groups of texts linked together by English manuscripts the `AB'-Group, containing the Ancrene Wisse; The Owl and the Nightingale and its companion-pieces; and finally the Life of St Christina of Markyate and the Chanson de Saint Alexiswhich she once owned. The author demonstrates the continuity of these texts in their attitude towards marriage, along with continental works such as the letters of Abelard and Heloise, and Chrétien de Troyes' Erec et Enide. Throughout, the volume clearly and accessibly shows how the imaginative literature of the period participated in the evolution of a new and enduring ideology of marriage.
Dr NEIL CARTLIDGEis a Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford.
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This readable, intelligent study has many strengths: it contributes significantly to our understanding of medieval marriage. SPECULUM Complements recent historical studies on medieval marriage with painstaking and sensitive readings of early English and continental literary texts,. In so doing, it opens new windows onto the maginative and affective dimensions of (the) institution. MEDIUM AEVUM Pour la finesse de sa critique littEraire, pour la profondeur de son analyse historique, et pour sa richesse bibliographique, ce livre mErite d'Etre lu, relu, et mEditE. ETUDES ANGLAISES Fascinating study. STUDI MEDIEVALI