Medieval Institute Publications publishes a monograph series, Research in Medieval and Early Modern Culture, and a sister series of edited collections, Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Culture. The series were originally inspired by themes drawn from the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo. From 2016 the series explicitly opened themselves up to publications that wholly or partially focus on the early modern world. Hence the series titles changed from "... in Medieval Culture" to "... in Medieval and Early Modern Culture."
Judith H. Anderson
Concentrating on major figures of women in The Faerie Queene, together with the figures constellated around them, Anderson's Narrative Figuration explores the contribution of Spenser's epic romance to an appreciation of women's plights and possibilities in the age of Elizabeth. The figures she highlights encompass the idealization of Una, humanized by parody; the historicized fixation of Belphoebe; the cross-dressed complexity of Britomart; and the psychological misery of Serena, a throwback to Amoret. They range from cartoons to a fullness sharing numerous features with the Shakespearean women salient in recent debates about character. The critical lens most revealing for each important figure is markedly different, even while their interwoven experiences resonate and intersect across this culturally encyclopedic poem. Taken together, their stories have a meaningful tale to tell about the function of narrative, which proves central to figuration in the still moving, metamorphic poem that Spenser created.
In this fresh reading of the Gawain-poet's Middle English works (Cleanness, Patience, Pearl, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), Ethan Campbell argues that a central feature of their moral rhetoric is anticlerical critique. Written in an era when clerical corruption was a key concern for polemicists such as Richard FitzRalph and John Wyclif, as well as satirical poets such as John Gower, William Langland, and Geoffrey Chaucer, the Gawain poems feature an explicit attack on hypocritical priests in the opening lines of Cleanness as well as more subtle critiques embedded within depictions of flawed priest-like characters like the biblical prophet Jonah and the Green Knight, who grants a problematic absolution to Sir Gawain. Through a close reading of each poem with an eye toward congruencies with the poet's contemporaries, Campbell situates the Gawain-poet's works within the rich and varied textual environment of fourteenth-century English anticlericalism.
Robert A. Logan
Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, and the Nature of Fame is a characterological study, presenting new perspectives on Antony and Cleopatra, the most ambiguous of Shakespeare's plays. It offers fresh insights into Shakespeare's understanding of the attributes of fame, the process by which it occurs, and the significance of being famous—and into the origins and nature of the playwright's own imperishable fame. Inclusive and enlarging, the study considers a fresh method of dealing with the longstanding difficulties theater-goers and readers have had in responding to the characters of Shakespeare's plays, the seventeenth-century contexts of the play that the playwright both regarded and disregarded, and a close examination of the dramatis personae of Antony and Cleopatra as they struggle to achieve standards of measure that will redound to their fame. Wide-ranging in its concerns, this monograph promises to make an essential difference in the way scholars view characterizations, Shakespeare's understanding of fame, the eminence of the celebrated figures of the play, and the playwright's own reputation.
Rich with morose invectives, the Italian lyric genre of the disperata builds toward a crescendo of despair, with the speakers damning and condemning their beloved, their enemy, their destiny, Fortune, Love, and often themselves. Although Petrarch and Petrarchism have been amply analyzed as fertile sources for late Renaissance poets in France, the influence of the Italian disperata in this context has yet to receive proper scholarly attention. This study explores how the language and themes of the disperata - including hopelessness, death, suicide, doomed love, collective trauma, and damnations - are creatively adopted by several generations of poets from its beginning in the Northernand Southern Italian courts, to France, at the court of the late Valois, where the disperata found great success as a prolific source of imitation.
Robert A. Taylor
Although it seemed in the mid-1970s that the study of the troubadours and of Occitan literature had reached a sort of zenith, it has since become apparent that this moment was merely a plateau from which an intensive renewal was being launched. In this new bibliographic guide to Occitan and troubadour literature, Robert Taylor provides a definitive survey of the field of Occitan literary studies - from the earliest enigmatic texts to the fifteenth-century works of Occitano-Catalan poet Jordi de Sant Jordi - and treats over two thousand recent books and articles with full annotations. Taylor includes articles on related topics such as practical approaches to the language of the troubadours and the musicology of select troubadour songs, as well as articles situated within sociology, religious history, critical methodology, and psychoanalytical analysis. Each listing offers descriptive comments on the scholarly contribution of each source to Occitan literature, with remarks on striking or controversial content, and numerous cross-references that identify complementary studies and differing opinions. Taylor's painstaking attention to detail and broad knowledge of the field ensure that this guide will become the essential source for Occitan literary studies worldwide.