The Culture of Inquisition in Medieval England

March 2013
1 black and white illustrations
202 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Westfield Medieval Studies
ISBN: 9781843843368
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BISAC HIS037010, LIT011000, REL033000

The Culture of Inquisition in Medieval England

Edited by Mary C. Flannery, Katie L. Walter

Groundbreaking essays show the variety and complexity of the roles played by inquisition in medieval England.
Inquisition in medieval and early modern England has typically been the subject of historical rather than cultural investigation, and focussed on heresy. Here, however, inquisition is revealed as playing a broader role in medieval English culture, not only in relation to sanctions like excommunication, penance and confession, but also in the fields of exemplarity, rhetoric and poetry. Beyond its specific legal and pastoral applications, inquisitio was a dialogic mode of inquiry, a means of discerning, producing or rewriting truth, and an often adversarial form of invention and literary authority.
The essays in this volume cover such topics as the theory and practice of canon law, heresy and its prosecution, Middle English pastoralia, political writing and romance. As a result, the collection redefines the nature of inquisition's role within both medieval law and culture, and demonstrates the extent to which it penetrated the late-medieval consciousness, shaping public fame and private selves, sexuality and gender, rhetoric, and literature.

Mary C. Flannery is a lecturer in English at the University of Lausanne; Katie L. Walter is a lecturer in English at the University of Sussex.

Contributors: Mary C. Flannery, Katie L. Walter, Henry Ansgar Kelly, Edwin Craun, Ian Forrest, Diane Vincent, Jenny Lee, James Wade, Genelle Gertz, Ruth Ahnert, Emily Steiner

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Imagining Inquisition - Mary C. Flannery and Katie Louise Walter
Inquisition, Public Fame, and Confession: General Rules and English Practice - Henry Ansgar Kelly
The Imperatives of Denunciatio: Disclosing Other's Sins to Disciplinary Authorities - Edwin Craun
English Provincial Constitutions and Inquisition into Lollardy - Ian Forrest
The Contest over the Public Imagination of Inquisition, 1380-1430 - Diane Vincent
'Vttirli Onknowe'? Modes of Inquiry and the Dynamics of Interiority in Vernacular Literature - Mary C. Flannery and Katie Louise Walter
From Defacement to Restoration: Inquisition, Confession and Thomas Usk's Appeal and Testament of Love - Jenny Lee
Confession, Inquisition and Exemplarity in The Erle of Toulous and Other Middle English Romances - James Wade
Heresy Inquisition and Authorship, 1400-1560 - Genelle Gertz
Imitating Inquisition: Dialectical Bias in Protestant Prison Writings - Ruth Ahnert
Response Essay: Chaucer's Inquisition - Emily Steiner


The essays collected together . . . successfully highlight the tensely creative interrelationship of form of official legal documentary culture and individual authorship in both old and new genres. JEGP

In their collective approach, the authors explicate the way in which the process of inquiry ("inquisitio") became a judicial and confessional tool whereby ecclesiastical authorities . . . constructed a rationale and accompanying institutions that enabled them to root out and correct errors of belief and practice. JOURNAL OF CHURCH AND STATE

A valuable collection that offers intriguing insights into understanding medieval inquisition as a complex and dynamic concept not confined to investigations of heresy. MEDIAEVISTIK 26, 2013

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