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Fifteenth-Century Studies 35

Fifteenth-Century Studies 35

Matthew Z. Heintzelman
Barbara I. Gusick
Martin W. Walsh
Volume: 35
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 194
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  • Book Info
    Fifteenth-Century Studies 35
    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’ treats diverse aspects of the period, including liberal and fine arts, historiography, medicine, and religion. Volume 35 addresses topics including physical impairments as depicted in surgical handbooks printed in Germany and as reflected through eyeglasses for the blind (a therapy proposed by French vernacular poets); literary constructions of women in de Meun's ‘Cité des Dames’ and in hagiographic legends of Spain; the evolution of the Order of the Garter as dramatized in Shakespeare; serious elements in French farces; the festival context of Villon's ‘Pet-au-Deable’; Boethius in the late Middle Ages; ‘A Revelation of Purgatory’ and Chaucer's Prioress; ‘Piers Plowman’ in one British Library manuscript; and narrative afterlife and time in Henryson's ‘Testament of Cresseid’. Book reviews conclude the volume. Contributors: Milagros Alameda-Irizarry, Chiara Benati, Edelgard E. DuBruck, Rosanne Gasse, Chelsea Honeyman, Noel Harold Kaylor Jr., James N. Ortego II, E. L. Risden, Julie Singer, Geri L. Smith, Martin W. Walsh. Matthew Z. Heintzelman is Curator of the Austria/Germany Study Center and Rare Book Cataloger at Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, Saint John's University, Minnesota; Barbara I. Gusick is Professor Emerita of English at Troy University Dothan; Martin W. Walsh is Head of the Drama Program at the University of Michigan's Residential College.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-818-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Matthew Z. Heintzelman
  4. Essays

    • Violencia en tres cuentos hagiográficos de la España medieval
      (pp. 1-11)
      Milagros Alameda-Irizarry

      La imitación es una virtud y aparentemente no hubo una sociedad más virtuosa que la medieval. Por lo menos en el aspecto religioso, la imitación de Cristo y de los mártires de la tradición cristiana fue para algunos quizás el único camino hacia la redención. La literatura hagiográfica latina y subsecuentemente la de toda la cristiandad medieval se nutre de ese deseo o necesidad de imitar a aquellos cristianos que sacrificaron sus vidas con la esperanza de alcanzar así la vida eterna. Carlos Maynes, Santa enperatrís y Otas de Roma¹ son tres cuentos españoles de fines de la Edad Media...

    • Physical Impairment in the First Surgical Handbooks Printed in Germany
      (pp. 12-22)
      Chiara Benati

      From a modern point of view, surgery represents a natural form of intervention against different forms of physical impairment and can alleviate infirmities if not heal them completely. Thus, early during the diagnostic phase of an affliction, one may consider whether an operation can be performed to alleviate the debilitating condition.

      Yet the assumption that surgery represents the solution to pathologies resulting in lameness or blindness, for example, does not automatically seem valid for earlier stages in the history of medicine and surgery; for instance, during the late Middle Ages. The study of how various forms of physical impairment were...

    • Serious Elements in Medieval French Farces: A New Dimension
      (pp. 23-32)
      Edelgard E. DuBruck

      Farces are short comic plays usually involving a trick by which one or more characters deceives another for personal gain. Major popular entertainments mostly in urban areas during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, farces were often played on trestle stages that were quickly set up in streets or squares on holidays. The small number of roles required few actors and stage props, making the plays easily transportable. Farces were written and played by amateur groups, such as student organizations, municipal confraternities, trade guilds, and jongleurs. There are numerous references in fifteenth-c. documents to the staging of farces, but no plays...

    • Reading “Piers Plowman” in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries: The Evidence of British Library Cotton Caligula A XI
      (pp. 33-49)
      Rosanne Gasse

      In their attempts to recreate the authorial texts of the recensions of Piers Plowman in as accurate a manner as possible, scholars have invested a great deal of effort. Their commendable aim of reclaiming the author’s words of necessity ignores the early reader’s experience of the poem, however. For medieval perusers of the manuscript, the concept of a set, authorially-sanctioned version of the text would have been mystifying to say the least. The three or four recensions of Piers Plowman that have been recognized — the A, B, C, and perhaps the Z texts — are indeed a myth from the early...

    • Narrative Afterlife and the Treatment of Time in Henryson’s “Testament of Cresseid”
      (pp. 50-69)
      Chelsea Honeyman

      As she composes her final testament, the eponymous heroine of Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid (likely composed before 1492) commends her soul to the goddess of chastity:

      Thus I conclude schortlie and mak ane end:

      My spreit I leif to Diane, quhair scho dwellis,

      To walk with hir in waist woddis and wellis. (586–88)¹

      When Cresseid dies shortly thereafter, the narrator brings his tale to a “sore conclusion” (614), relating her epitaph’s statement that she “lyis deid” (609) and ending his tale with a brusque, “Sen scho is deid I speik of hir no moir” (616). This decidedly abrupt ending...

    • Euclid in Boethius’s “De Consolatione Philosophiae” and Some of its English Translations
      (pp. 70-79)
      Noel Harold Kaylor Jr.

      Like Aristotle before him, Boethius approached acquiring and recording knowledge systematically, but less comprehensively than his more famous antecedent. Unlike Aristotle, Boethius was more scholar than scientist, as his interests focused on certain well-defined areas of the humanities to the exclusion of the biological sciences. His extant works fall generally into four subject-areas of inquiry: (1) logic, (2) mathematics, (3) theology, and (4) the uniquely comprehensive final work entitled De Consolatione Philosophiae. Boethius’s books in these areas established the basic curriculum of medieval education, with its “lower-division courses” of the trivium and its “upper-division courses” of the quadrivium, and they...

    • Seeking the Medieval in Shakespeare: The Order of the Garter and the Topos of Derisive Chivalry
      (pp. 80-104)
      James N. Ortego II

      An excerpt from John Chamberlain’s Letters dated 23 August, 1599, describes the great frustration of the populace over the frivolous making of knights by Robert Devereux, Lord Essex, during his Irish campaign. Chamberlain records the following about Essex:

      The Earl of Essex hath made many new knights, English and Irish, to the number of 59 in the whole since his first arrival. It is much marvelled that this humour should so possess him, that not content with his first dozens and scores, he should thus fall to huddle them up by half hundreds; and it is noted as a strange...

    • “A Revelation of Purgatory” and Chaucer’s Prioress
      (pp. 105-111)
      E. L. Risden

      Despite such judicious scholarship as Florence Ridley’s The Prioress and the Critics,¹ a whole volume devoted to the matter, debate has continued on Chaucer’s intentions regarding the character of his Prioress.² A Revelation of Purgatory by an Unknown, Fifteenth-Century Woman Visionary (1422)³provides an excellent comparison that lends clarity to Chaucer’s portrait and suggests how readers of Chaucer’s day may well have been predisposed to view the character. Details of the piece suggest that readers from the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries would probably have found the Prioress culpable not so much because of her anti-Semitism, but due to her...

    • Eyeglasses for the Blind: Redundant Therapies in Meschinot and Villon
      (pp. 112-131)
      Julie Singer

      Of the late medieval inventions dating from the period Jean Gimpel has termed the “industrial revolution of the Middle Ages,” none save the printing press had a greater impact on the culture of reading and book production than did eyeglasses: these magnifying devices, invented in northern Italy at the close of the thirteenth century, facilitated the activities of readers, authors, copyists, and illustrators. Though their use quickly spread throughout Western Europe in the fourteenth century, it is in the mid-fifteenth century that French vernacular poets first grant eyeglasses serious literary attention. The two best-known French literary references to glasses, both...

    • Jean de Meun in the “Cité des Dames”: Author versus Authority
      (pp. 132-142)
      Geri L. Smith

      The focus of this essay will be a sequence of three specific allusions to the Roman de la Rose found in Christine de Pizan’s Cité des Dames, which have yet to be read in relation to one another. These references to the Rose constitute a potent example of Christine’s use of Jean de Meun as a counterpoint for her own concepts of authority and truth, grounded in her experience as a woman. By comparing their respective contexts, and certain details present in or missing from each, we can trace across these nods toward the Rose an increasingly pointed challenge to...

    • The Festival Context of Villon’s “Pet au Deable”: Martinmas in Late-Medieval Paris
      (pp. 143-151)
      Martin W. Walsh

      There are strong indications that the famous Paris student prank of 1451, known as the affair of the Pet au Deable (Devil’s Fart or Turd), coincided with and may have been more than partially inspired by the winter feast of St. Martin of Tours (11 November). The incident is well covered in the biographies of François Villon, who was about to receive his Master’s degree from the University of Paris at the time and who claimed, moreover, to have written a now lost Rommant du Pet au Deable. As he bequeaths to his “more than father” Guillaume de Villon in...

  5. Book Reviews

    • Blanchard, Joël, éd. Philippe de Commynes: Mémoires. 2 vols. Geneva: Droz, 2007. Pp. clxxii; 1754. 16 illustrations.
      (pp. 152-154)
      Edelgard E. DuBruck
    • Burman, Thomas E. Reading the “Qur’ān” in Latin Christendom, 1140–1560. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. Pp. vi; 317.
      (pp. 154-156)
      Edelgard E. DuBruck
    • Dufournet, Jean. Philippe de Commynes: Mémoires, livres I– VI. Présentation et traduction (bilingue). 2 vols. Paris: GF Flammarion, 2007. Pp. 450 and 559.
      (pp. 156-158)
      Edelgard E. DuBruck
    • Fuchs, Franz, ed. Osmanische Expansion und europäischer Humanismus. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2005. Pp. 188.
      (pp. 158-160)
      Edelgard E. DuBruck
    • Grassnick, Ulrike. Ratgeber des Königs: Fürstenspiegel und Herrscherideal im spätmittelalterlichen England. Köln: Böhlau Verlag, 2004. Pp. xii; 471.
      (pp. 160-162)
      Noel Harold Kaylor Jr.
    • Harris, Nigel, ed. The Light of the Soul: The “Lumen anime C” and Ulrich Putsch’s “Das liecht der sel.” Oxford, Bern, et al.: Peter Lang, 2007. Pp. 487.
      (pp. 163-164)
      Albrecht Classen
    • Hochner, Nicole. Louis XII: Les Dérèglements de l’image royale, 1498–1515. Seyssel: Champ Vallon, 2006. Pp. 308.
      (pp. 165-168)
      Geri L. Smith
    • Kem, Judy, ed. Symphorien Champier: La Nef des dames vertueuses. Paris: Editions Champion, 2007. Pp. 305.
      (pp. 168-171)
      Nicole Hochner
    • Knape, Joachim. Poetik und Rhetorik in Deutschland 1300–1700. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006. Pp. viii; 227. 23 illustrations.
      (pp. 171-176)
      Elizabeth I. Wade-Sirabian
    • Mathey-Maille, Laurence. Écritures du passé: histoires des ducs de Normandie. Paris: Champion, 2007. Pp. 292.
      (pp. 176-178)
      Michelle Szkilnik
    • Régnier-Bohler, Danielle, ed.,Voix de femmes au moyen âge: savoir, mystique, poésie, amour, sorcellerie, XIIe–XVe siècle. Paris: Robert Laffont, 2006. Pp. xxxix; 1010.
      (pp. 178-181)
      Tracy Adams
    • Roux, Simone. Christine de Pizan: Femme de tête, dame de coeur. Paris: Payot, 2006. Pp. 270.
      (pp. 182-184)
      Tracy Adams