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Anne’s Bohemia: Czech Literature and Society, 1310-1420

Alfred Thomas
Foreword by David Wallace
Volume: 13
Copyright Date: 1998
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 216
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttdsk
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  • Book Info
    Anne’s Bohemia
    Book Description:

    Considers the development of Czech literature and society from the election of Count John of Luxembourg as king of Bohemia in 1310 to the year 1420, when the papacy declared a Catholic crusade against the Hussite reformers. This period is of particular relevance to the study of medieval England because of the marriage of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia, the figure around whom this book is focused.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8867-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. [Illustration]
    (pp. vi-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    David Wallace

    In organizing what turned out to be the crucial protest march of the 1989 ʺVelvet Revolution,ʺ student leaders chose the date November 17: the fiftieth anniversary of Hitlerʹs Special Action Prague, which saw 9 student leaders executed and 1,200 students sent to the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen. Such consciousness of relatively recent history combined, as the march unfolded through the city, with claims to identity rooted in a deeper past: for the urban spaces or linked townships of Prague—one of the most beautiful of European sites—were decisively developed in the Middle Ages. The university that nurtured the protesters...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. A Note on the Use of Czech Proper Names
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. INTRODUCTION Anneʹs Bohemia: Toward a Comparative Study of Medieval Czech Literature
    (pp. 1-19)

    On December 18, 1381, the fifteen-year-old Anne of Bohemia made the crossing from Calais to Dover in Kent with her extensive entourage. Several weeks earlier she had left Prague, the city of her birth, and had made her way across western Europe to England. She interrupted her journey in Brussels, where she stayed for a month as the guest of her paternal uncle, Wenceslas, duke of Brabant. On her arrival at Dover Anne was met by her future husband, King Richard II of England. In those days the journey between the coast and London was long and tiring, so the...

  10. CHAPTER 1 Prologue: Literature in Old Church Slavonic, Latin, and Czech before 1310
    (pp. 20-32)

    From the fifth century a.d. there was a westward migration of Slavs into territory formerly occupied by Germanic tribes, principally Goths, Burgundians, Vandals, and Langobards.¹ In the first half of the sixth century the Langobards still occupied present-day Moravia, while remnants of the Markomanni tribe moved, along with their Germanic neighbors, southwest toward the Danube and into Bavaria. In the mid–sixth century the Avars from central Asia occupied present-day Hungary and subjugated the Slavic and Germanic populations of the area. In 568 the Langobards moved into northern Italy, thus making room for the Slavs to enter the present-day Bohemian...

  11. CHAPTER 2 A Literature of Their Own: Women Readers and Writers in Medieval Bohemia
    (pp. 33-49)

    Czech scholarship has always understood the important role played by women in the life of medieval Bohemia.¹ But—as in the popular monographWives and Lovers of Czech Kings²—medieval women are more usually regarded as wives, lovers, and mothers rather than as subjects in their own right. In fact, some of the most accomplished works written in medieval Czech and Latin were commissioned by female readers. In this chapter, I will trace a long line of female literacy in Bohemia, from Saint Agnesʹs correspondence with Saint Clare of Assisi in the thirteenth century to the noblewomen of the early...

  12. CHAPTER 3 The War of the Bohemian Maidens: Gender, Ethnicity, and Language in The Dalimil Chronicle
    (pp. 50-62)

    After the Latin legends and the Latin chronicles the next step in the spontaneous development of Czech literature consisted of legends and chronicles written in the vernacular, and the so-calledDalimil Chronicle(c. 1308–11) was an important link in this development.¹ Just as theFirst Cycle of Legendsfollowed in the footsteps of Latin vitae, so didThe Dalimil Chroniclefollow the LatinChronica Boëmorumby Cosmas. Like theAlexandreida,The Dalimil Chroniclewas written by a nobleman, yet its position in the contemporary literary context is somewhat different. Not only is its composition very simple—it could hardly...

  13. CHAPTER 4 Alien Bodies: Exclusion, Obscenity, and Social Control in The Ointment Seller
    (pp. 63-76)

    The Czech-Latin play known asUnguentarius(The ointment seller) (c.1340s), which depicts the Ointment Seller episode from the Easter cycle of mystery plays, has long since intrigued scholars because of its obscene sexual and scatological content. The most extensive, detailed study to date of the two extant fragments of this play (Museum and Schlägel MSS) claims that the farce formed part of therisus paschalis, a Central European Easter festival that celebrated the resurrection in the spirit of the Bakhtinian carnival. Jarmila Veltrusky has argued persuasively that the sacred and the farcical elements of the play are not mutually antagonistic,...

  14. CHAPTER 5 A Bohemian Imitatio Christi: The Legend of Saint Procopius
    (pp. 77-87)

    To strengthen his dynastic links with the kingdom of Bohemia, Charles IV revived almost everything associated with its history and its church, including the Old Church Slavonic liturgy. In 1347 he founded the Slavonic Monastery (Monasterium Slavorum) and invited Benedictine monks from Croatia to practice the Slavonic liturgy in Prague. On March 29, 1372, the archbishop of Prague, John Očko of Vlašim, consecrated the monastery and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary and the Slavonic patrons Jerome, Cyril, Methodius, Adalbert, and Procopius. The ceremony was attended by the emperor, his son Wenceslas, many of his Luxembourg relations, and the whole...

  15. CHAPTER 6 The Radiant Rose: Female Sanctity and Dominican Piety in the Czech Life of Saint Catherine
    (pp. 88-109)

    The affective sensibility exhibited in the relationship between Christ and female saints in late medieval vernacular hagiographies looks back to the tradition of twelfth-century spirituality, where we first see evidence of a new emphasis on Christʹs humanity. The valorization of Christʹs flesh inevitably came to encompass and elevate the maternal body that had borne him. This more favorable view of womanhood helps to explain the coexistence of intellectualandbodily female ideals in that most cerebral and somatic of saints, Saint Catherine of Alexandria. It has become de rigeur of late to specify the saintʹs gender as a way of...

  16. CHAPTER 7 Bohemian Knights: Reflections of Social Reality in the Czech Epic and Verse Romances
    (pp. 110-124)

    Like the saintsʹ lives examined in the previous two chapters, the secular chivalric romance is a difficult genre to place into a social context since, by its very nature, it is concerned to evoke the Other World rather than this one. To discern the ʺrealʺ within such genres one must take an oblique, lopsided look at what is being represented. Just as the hagiographic legend presents reality through the filter of religious values, so does the romance refract the social through an idealized world of chivalric ideals. In his pioneering studyMimesis: Dargestellte Wirklichkeit in der abendländischen Literatur(1948), Erich...

  17. CHAPTER 8 From Courtier to Rebel: Ideological Ambivalence in Smil Flaškaʹs The New Council
    (pp. 125-133)

    The New Councilis one of the few works of medieval Czech literature whose author is known to us by name: Smil Flaška of Pardubice (1340s to 1403), nephew to Ernest of Pardubice, archbishop of Prague.¹ Around 1357 Smil took a baccalaureate degree at Prague University, where he was exposed to the most advanced literary and theological trends of the day. After his fatherʹs death (1389/90), he inherited vast estates, which he eventually lost or sold. In the 1390s he was propelled into political affairs and military action against Wenceslas IV (1361–1419). Smil joined a series of baronial leagues...

  18. CHAPTER 9 Writing and the Female Body: The Weaver, The Wycliffite Woman, and The Dispute between Prague and Kutná Hora
    (pp. 134-148)

    The prose disputeTkadleček(The weaver) (1407/9) is an example of a genre that was extremely popular in the medieval schools.¹ It consists of two disputants, the Weaver—whose name is disclosed through cryptogram as the lover Ludvík—and Misfortune. As the plaintiff, Ludvík instigates the dispute by complaining to the defendant, Misfortune, that he has recently been jilted by his lover, whose name is revealed by cryptogram as Adlička. This dialogue between two warring parties is characteristic of the medieval debate form; in similar medieval Czech examples of the same genre we find disputes between water and wine, soul...

  19. CHAPTER 10 Epilogue: Continuity and Change in Fifteenth-Century Czech Literature
    (pp. 149-152)

    A second uprising broke out in Prague in 1422 following the sudden execution of John of Želiv and several of his followers. Many of the more moderate reformers were put to the sword, and power passed into the hands of the religious extremists. At the same time, other religious radicals established a second power base at Tábor in southern Bohemia. Their military leader was John Žižka, who had sided with Želiv in the first Prague uprising. Žižka organized an efficient army of resistance to the Catholic crusaders sent to crush the Bohemian ʺheretics.ʺ Consisting mainly of peasants armed with flails...

  20. Notes
    (pp. 153-170)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 171-184)
  22. Index
    (pp. 185-193)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 194-195)