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Fifteenth-Century Studies 38

Fifteenth-Century Studies 38

Edited by Barbara I. Gusick
Founder and Consulting Editor: Edelgard E. DuBruck
Book Review Editor: Rosanne Gasse
Volume: 38
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Fifteenth-Century Studies 38
    Book Description:

    The fifteenth century defies consensus on fundamental issues; most scholars agree, however, that the period outgrew the Middle Ages, that it was a time of transition and a passage to modern times. "Fifteenth-Century Studies" offers essays on diverse aspects of the period, including liberal and fine arts, historiography, medicine, and religion. Volume 38 addresses a broad spectrum of topics: monastic reformation of domestic space in Richard Whitford's "Werke for Housholders"; Margery Kempe and spectatorship in medieval drama; "The Book of Margery Kempe" and the trial of Joan of Arc; a new edition and interpretations of "The Book of the Duke and Emperor" in the context of MS Manchester, Chetham's Library 8009 (Mun. A.6.31); two cultural perspectives on the Battle of Lippa, Transylvania (1551); translation and manipulation of audience expectations in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"; the dry tree legend in medieval literature; and Wessel Gansfort, John Mombaer, and medieval technologies of the self. Book reviews conclude the volume. Contributors: Brandon Alakas, Maria Dobozy, Andrew Eichel, Rosanne Gasse, Kate McLean, Jesse Njus, Sarah Ritchey, P. R. Robins. Barbara I. Gusick is Professor Emerita of English at Troy University, Dothan, Alabama. Review editor Rosanne Gasse is Associate Professor of English at Brandon University.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-861-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. Essays

    • A Monastic Reformation of Domestic Space: Richard Whitford’s “Werke for Housholders”
      (pp. 1-20)
      Brandon Alakas

      Although neglected by scholars until quite recently,¹ Richard Whitford, the self-styled “wretch” of Syon Abbey, was a widely-read author who not only participated in the ongoing transfer of monastic devotional culture to the laity through his writing but also actively engaged in defending this culture and its institutions against reformers.² A onetime fellow of Queen’s College, Cambridge, graduate of the University of Paris and associate of Erasmus and Thomas More,³ Whitford turned away from the prominent clerical and intellectual communities to which he belonged in the early sixteenth century to join the austere and spiritually élite Bridgettine community at Syon...

    • Two Cultural Perspectives on the Battle of Lippa, Transylvania, 1551: Whose Victory Is It?
      (pp. 21-40)
      Maria Dobozy

      Two war-related texts, one penned by a German mercenary and the other by a Hungarian poet, narrate events surrounding the same military battle: the offensive engaged in to capture the town and fortress of Lippa (Lipova, Romania) in Transylvania during November of 1551.¹ Each eyewitness account was composed immediately after the encounter: one work written in German and the other in Hungarian. These two poems illustrate the breadth of possibilities that exist within the literary imagination when a writer sets out to reconstruct an actual set of events. The German text presents the view and experience of Paul Speltacher, who...

    • Interpreting “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”: Translation and Manipulation of Audience Expectations
      (pp. 41-64)
      Andrew Eichel

      An academic commonplace holds that a translator’s choices ultimately affect an audience’s interpretation of a text. The semantic value of any single word relies on a matrix of context and signification, a rather tenuous structure for all readers, but especially from the translator’s perspective. As Umberto Eco says in Experiences in Translation, “a good translation is not concerned with the denotation but with the connotation of words.”¹ Words possess general cultural and historic meanings especially relevant to all readers in the time for which they were written, and isolation of one facet of an entire text, whether by a translator...

    • The Dry Tree Legend in Medieval Literature
      (pp. 65-96)
      Rosanne Gasse

      In one early fifteenth-century manuscript of Piers Plowman, Cotton Caligula A XI, housed in the British Library, the following exchange opens passus 16 of the poem. The Dreamer thanks Anima for his instruction on salvation, ecclesiastical history, and contemporary problems within the institutional church,

      Now fayr falle Ʒou q[uoth] I tho . for Ʒour faire shewyng for haukyns loue the actyf man . eu[er] I shal Ʒou louye ac Ʒit I am in a were . what charite is to mene

      to which Anima replies, “hit is a ful drye tree … treuly to telle.”¹ Textual error, however, has crept...

    • The “Book of the Duke and Emperor”: A New Edition and Interpretations within the Manuscript Context of MS. Manchester, Chetham’s Library 8009 (Mun. A.6.31)
      (pp. 97-122)
      Kate McLean

      In October of 1473 Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, met with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III in Trier, in modern day France. Their meeting was sumptuous, charged, and recorded by an unknown chronicler in the Book of the Duke and Emperor. The Duke and Emperor, which has not been previously edited, is an historical account of an important political meeting including details of its protocol, attendees, and activities, while also embodying a late-medieval cultural ideal put forward by the Duke and his chronicler. The late fifteenth-century MS. Manchester, Chetham’s Library 8009 (Mun. A.6.31) contains the unique extant copy...

    • Margery Kempe and the Spectatorship of Medieval Drama
      (pp. 123-152)
      Jesse Njus

      On a midsummer day of 1413, John and Margery Brunham Kempe (c. 1373–c. 1440)¹ were among the spectators of the York cycle.² Although Margery does not mention the event in her book, Claire Sponsler and Barry Windeatt observe that the day Margery and her husband returned from York — Midsummer’s Eve in 1413 — must have been June 23 and that the previous day was Corpus Christi. The Kempes were consequently in York on the day that the great York cycle was performed, and if they were anywhere near the city center, they could not have escaped seeing some...

    • Wessel Gansfort, John Mombaer, and Medieval Technologies of the Self: Affective Meditation in a Fifteenth-Century Emotional Community
      (pp. 153-174)
      Sara Ritchey

      Wessel Gansfort (c. 1419–1489), the fifteenth-century theologian, known by his contemporaries as the lux mundi, reported in his Tractatus de cohibendis cogitationibus (Treatise on Controlling Thoughts) on the value for meditants of exploring a range of emotional registers.¹ Relaying an anecdote, Gansfort illustrated how he came to recognize the value of emotions during an incident unrelated to the act of contemplation. Being Frisian, Gansfort explained, he tended toward having feelings of near-constant gloom. Despite this glum proclivity, he noticed that his disposition altered substantially when he found himself in the company of river travelers who regaled him with tales...

    • Discerning Voices in the Trial of Joan of Arc and “The Book of Margery Kempe”
      (pp. 175-234)
      P. R. Robins

      Among the many documented examples of female visionaries in medieval Europe, the celebrated and contemporaneous cases of Margery Kempe (c. 1373–1438) and Joan of Arc (c. 1412–1431) clearly differ in important respects. Margery was a middle-class English woman whose life is documented in a book — a putative “autobiography” (to use a plainly anachronistic term) with an apparently hagiographic purpose. Joan was a French woman of much lower social standing whose life is largely documented through the transcript (written by her political enemies) of her trial for heresy and through the eyewitness reports gathered together at her posthumous...

  4. Book Reviews

    • Blanchard, Joël, ed. 1511–2011, Philippe de Commynes: droit, écriture: deux piliers de la souverainté. Geneva: Droz, 2012. Pp. 377.
      (pp. 235-239)
      Geri L. Smith
    • Blanchard, Joël. Philippe de Commynes. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2006. Pp. 584.
      (pp. 240-243)
      Geri L. Smith
    • Classen, Albrecht, ed. Religion und Gesundheit: der heilkundliche Diskurs im 16. Jahrhundert. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2011. Pp. 410.
      (pp. 243-246)
      Jonathan Green
    • Davey, Francis, ed. The Itineraries of William Wey. Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2010. Pp. 253.
      (pp. 246-250)
      David Ross Winter
    • Fallows, David. Composers and Their Songs, 1400–1521. Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate, 2010. Pp. 334.
      (pp. 251-256)
      Anna Zayaruznaya
    • Findon, Joanne. Lady, Hero, Saint: The Digby Play’s Mary Magdalene. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2011. Pp. 232.
      (pp. 256-258)
      Kristi J. Castleberry
    • Gaude-Ferragu, Murielle, Bruno Laurioux, et Jacques Paviot. La Cour du Prince: Cour de France, cours d’Europe, XIIe–XVe siècle. Paris: Champion, 2011. Pp. 658.
      (pp. 258-261)
      Michelle Szkilnik
    • Heard, Kate, and Lucy Whitaker. The Northern Renaissance: Dürer to Holbein. London: Royal Collection Publications, 2011. Pp. 248.
      (pp. 261-263)
      Henry Luttihuizen
    • Hickson, Sally Anne. Women, Art and Architectural Patronage in Renaissance Mantua: Matrons, Mystics and Monasteries. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012. Pp. 192.
      (pp. 263-265)
      Guido Rebecchini
    • Ní Chuilleanáin, Eiléan, and John Flood, eds. Heresy and Orthodoxy in Early English Literature, 1350–1680. Dublin: Four Courts, 2010. Pp. 174.
      (pp. 265-271)
      Rosanne Gasse
    • O’Connell, Michael, ed. and trans. Three Florentine Sacre Rappresentazioni: Texts and Translations. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2011. Pp. 250.
      (pp. 271-274)
      Beth Mulvaney
    • Paoli, Marco. Jan van Eyck alla conquista della rosa: Il Matrimonio “Arnolfini” della National Gallery di Londra: soluzione di un enigma. Lucca: Pacini Fazzi, 2010. Pp. 159, 64 col. illus.
      (pp. 275-276)
      Flavio Boggi
    • Philippides, Marios, and Walter K. Hanak. The Siege and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453: Historiography, Topography, and Military Studies. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2011. Pp. 759.
      (pp. 277-279)
      Thomas F. Madden
    • Schwam-Baird, Shira, ed. and trans. Valentin et Orson: An Edition and Translation of the Fifteenth-Century Romance Epic. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2011. Pp. 543.
      (pp. 279-282)
      Steven Millen Taylor
    • Varvaro, Alberto. La Tragédie de l’Histoire: La Derniere Œuvre de Jean Froissart. Paris: Garnier, 2011. Pp. 202.
      (pp. 282-284)
      Katariina Nara