The Classicist Writings of Thomas Walsingham

The Classicist Writings of Thomas Walsingham

`Worldly Cares' at St Albans Abbey in the Fourteenth Century

Sylvia Federico


York Medieval Press



A comparative reading of the "literary" works of Abbot Thomas Walsingham, highlighting his reaction to contemporary historical events.
The literary career of Thomas Walsingham, a significant figure in late fourteenth-century classicist letters in England and an overlooked contemporary of Chaucer, has been neglected - which this book remedies. Following the texts, rather than individuals or institutions, it demonstrates both authors' participation in a previously unrecognized discursive field that spans Latinate clerical prose and secular vernacular poetry, opening for reexamination the "idea" of public literature in the late Middle Ages and recalibrating the terms of the conversation about the advent of humanistic textual practice in England. Providing a connected and comparative reading of Walsingham's works, alongside those of Chaucer, and taking both historical and literary approaches, the book extends our understanding of Chaucer through the exploration of his relationship to the clerical constituencies of London, Oxford, and monasteries in the South-East, and inserts Walsingham into the modern study of the reception of the Latin classics among the vernacular authors of his period.

Sylvia Federico is Professor of English and member of the Classical and Medieval Studies Program at Bates College.


May 2016
7 black and white illustrations
216 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Writing History in the Middle Ages
ISBN: 9781903153635
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
York Medieval Press
BISAC LIT011000, HIS037010
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Watlyng Street Circuit and the Field of Classicist Letters
Portraits of Princes in Liber benefactorum, Prohemia poetarum, and the 'Monk's Tale'
The Textual Environment of the Historia Alexandri magni principis
Court Politics and Italian Letters in Ditis ditatus and Troilus and Criseyde
Omnia vincit amor: Passion in the Chronicle
Conclusion: The Learned Clerk and Humanistic Practice'

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