Prophecy and Public Affairs in Later Medieval England
In this first general survey of political prophecy in medieval England for almost a hundred years, Lesley Coote examines the nature of political prophecy, its audience and its reception. She compares the discourse of prophecy with other, related discourses, and demonstrates how it functioned as a political language. A study of extant manuscripts produces an account of the importance of political prophecy in later medieval England, from its emergence in the twelfth century to the end of the middle ages. What emerges from this study is a political language which was neither peripheral to English political consciousness, nor merely a game for intellectuals, but a major language for the discussion of public affairs. In this language were presented ideas of 'Englishness' and the aspirations of a 'national' community, which included the imminent revelation of a great crusading hero-ruler, a second Arthur, who would lead his people into the Last Days. The book is completed with a handlist of manuscripts containing political prophecies. Dr LESLEY A. COOTE is a Research Fellow in the Department of English at the University of Hull. Valuable research tool: Handlist of manuscripts containing political prophecies.
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