Medieval Conduct Literature

Medieval Conduct Literature: An Anthology of Vernacular Guides to Behaviour for Youths with English Translations

Edited by Mark D. Johnston
With an Introduction by Roberta L. Krueger
Kathleen Ashley
Emily C. Francomano
Mark D. Johnston
Ann Marie Rasmussen
Claire Sponsler
Eleonora Stoppino
Olga Trokhimenko
Volume: 111
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 360
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2ttpr7
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  • Book Info
    Medieval Conduct Literature
    Book Description:

    A fascinating examination of a diverse range of regions and cultures,Medieval Conduct Literatureis a remarkable window into medieval life, customs, behaviour, and social expectations.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9761-4
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL: MEDIEVAL CONDUCT GUIDES FOR YOUTHS
    (pp. ix-2)
    Roberta L. Krueger

    The guides to conduct in this collection are part of the vast outpouring of didactic literature for lay readers written in the vernacular literatures of Europe throughout the Middle Ages. Within chapters presenting selections from French, Occitan, German, Italian, Castilian, and English literature ranging from the mid-thirteenth to the late fifteenth centuries, instructions for each sex are paired together here. Such didactic works were arguably even better known by medieval readers than the more aesthetically refined genres of courtly lyric and romance. From the thirteenth century onward, vernacular guides to conduct flourished in courts and elite households throughout Europe, as...

  5. 1 THE FRENCH ENSEIGNEMENZ A PHELIPPE AND ENSEIGNEMENT A YSABEL OF SAINT LOUIS
    (pp. 3-22)
    Kathleen Ashley

    In contrast to many other conduct texts which appear in a single manuscript and whose influence cannot be traced, the thirteenth-century letters of the French king Louis IX to his son Philip and daughter Isabelle circulated widely and were immensely influential due to the reputation of their author. During his lifetime, Louis was a formidable moral force, dedicated to reforming the administration of his kingdom and modelling Christian rulership. He died in 1270 while on crusade in Tunis, and immediately the royal confessors and historians launched a concerted effort to document his virtuous life and make a case for canonization....

  6. 2 THE OCCITAN ENSSENHAMEN DE L’ESCUDIER AND ESSENHAMEN DE LA DONZELA OF AMANIEU DE SESCÁS
    (pp. 23-60)
    Mark D. Johnston

    The many references to historical personages and events in the work of Amanieu de Sescás indicate clearly that he wrote between 1278 and 1295. However, despite the diligent efforts of Martí de Riquer and subsequent scholars, who have identified almost all of the personages mentioned in Amanieu’s poems, we know almost nothing else about him. He was obviously an aristocrat, and probably entering the last decade of his life when he wrote his two poems of advice on courtesy, theEnssenhamen de l’escudier(Instruction for a Squire) andEssenhamen de la donzela(Instruction for a Young Lady).His surname suggests...

  7. 3 THE GERMAN WINSBECKE, WINSBECKIN, AND WINSBECKE PARODIES (SELECTIONS)
    (pp. 61-126)
    Ann Marie Rasmussen and Olga Trokhimenko

    The father/son poem known asDer Winsbeckeand the mother/daughter poem known asDie Winsbeckinwere written some time during the thirteenth century. They are part of a flourishing tradition of Middle High German advice literature, which is also represented by the popular, monumental, rhymed advice compendium entitledDer Welsche Gast(The Visitor from Italy), by Thomasin von Zerclaere (ca. 1186–ca. 1235), the first book of which is directed at boys and girls. InDer Winsbecke, a father advises his son on how to conduct himself in a virtuous, God-fearing manner in the world (stanzas 1–56 in the...

  8. 4 THE ITALIAN REGGIMENTO E COSTUMI DI DONNA (SELECTIONS) AND DOCUMENTI D’AMORE (SELECTIONS) OF FRANCESCO DA BARBERINO
    (pp. 127-184)
    Eleonora Stoppino

    Francesco da Barberino occupies an important position in the history of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italy: a contemporary of Dante, he spent most of his life in Florence. Boccaccio praises him in theGenealogia deorum gentilium(Genealogy of the Pagan Gods), and he earned the honour of a biography in the chronicle of Filippo Villani,De origine civitatis Florentie et eiusdem famosis civibus(On the Origin of the City of Florence and Its Famous Citizens). Despite Barberino’s relative fame, his major works remained almost completely unknown until their rediscovery in the seventeenth century. It was only thanks to the desire of...

  9. 5 THE CASTILIAN CASTIGOS DEL REY DON SANCHO (SELECTIONS) AND CASTIGOS Y DOTRINAS QUE UN SABIO DAVA A SUS HIJAS
    (pp. 185-284)
    Emily C. Francomano

    ‘Bien auenturado es aquel que tomó escarmiento por lo ageno que contesçió a otri e non por lo suyo’ (Blessed is he who learns his lesson from the examples of others and not from his own experience) Sancho IV declares to his son in the nineteenth chapter of his encyclopedic collection ofCastigos. King Sancho’s use of thebeatus illemotif characterizes both the pseudo-canonical tone and the pedagogical ethos of medieval Castilian wisdom literature and conduct books, which offer the young men and women they address vicarious experiences of moral triumph and turpitude, voiced in the incontestable register of...

  10. 6 THE ENGLISH HOW THE GOOD WIJF TAUGHTE HIR DOUGHTIR AND HOW THE WISE MAN TAUGHT HIS SONNE
    (pp. 285-304)
    Claire Sponsler

    How the Good Wijf Taughte Hir DoughtirandHow the Wise Man Taught His Sonneare among the best known of the conduct poems written in Middle English.Good Wijfsurvives in different versions in five manuscripts, dating from around 1350 to around 1500. It was printed by the antiquarian John Stow in 1597 and has been published in a number of modern editions, most notably by Frederick J. Furnivall under the auspices of the Early English Text Society in his two collections of ‘divers treatises touching the Manners and Meals of Englishmen in former days,’ under the titles of...

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 305-314)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 315-320)