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Discourse and dominion in the fourteenth century [electronic resource] : oral contexts of writing in philosophy, politics, and poetry /
Jesse M. Gellrich.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1995.
description
xiv, 304 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0691037493 (cl : acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1995.
isbn
0691037493 (cl : acid-free paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8839668
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [273]-296) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1995-09:
In this informed and original study, Gellrich (Louisiana State Univ.) explores the social contexts of medieval literacy. The author argues that language derives its power and efficacy from "displacement," that is, "the capacity of one mode of language (spoken or written) to take the place of the other, to make the source disappear into the copy." It is possible to appreciate the interplay of the two modes and to identify and assess the margin between them. After a detailed introduction that traces relevant intellectual and cultural trajectories, the study is divided into three sections: philosophy, politics, and poetry. The first section covers the work of two representative philosophers, William of Ockham and John Wyclif, critiquing Ockham's "nominalism" in relation to "voice" and Wyclif's "artificiality" of writing and the "presence" of the spoken word. Part 2 takes up the relationship between history and politics, focusing on the chroniclers working during the reigns of Edward III and Richard II. The third part considers Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer's Knight's Tale, the former in relation to the alliterative tradition and its implications of oral formula and the latter in connection with the oral and written stories about the legendary foundations of England. Interested and informed readers will learn much from this provocative and engaging work, which presupposes some familiarity with its key concerns. Upper-division undergraduates; graduates; researchers. C. S. Cox; University of Pittsburgh
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1995
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Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
This wide-ranging study of language and cultural change in fourteenth-century England argues that the influence of oral tradition is much more important to the advance of literacy than previously supposed. In contrast to the view of orality and literacy as opposing forces, the book maintains that the power of language consists in displacement, the capacity of one channel of language to take the place of the other, to make the source disappear into the copy. Appreciating the interplay between oral and written language makes possible for the first time a way of understanding the high literate achievements of this century in relation to momentous developments in social and political life.Part I reasseses the "nominalism" of Ockham and the "realism" of Wyclif through discussions of their major treatises on language and government. Part II argues that the chronicle histories of this century are tied specifically to oral customs, and Part III shows how Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer's Knight's Tale confront outright the displacement of language and dominion. Informed by recent discussions in critical theory, philosophy, and anthropology, the book offers a new synoptic view of fourteenth-century culture. As a critique of the social context of medieval literacy, it speaks directly to postmodern debate about the politics of historicism today.
Unpaid Annotation
This wide-ranging study of language and cultural change in fourteenth-century England argues that the influence of oral tradition is much more important to the advance of literary than scholarship has previously recognized. In contrast to the view of orality and literacy as contending forces of opposition, the book maintains that the power of language consists in displacement, the capacity of one channel of language to take the place of the other, to make the source disappear into the copy. Appreciating the interplay between oral and written language makes possible for the first time a way of understanding the high literate achievements of this century in relation to momentous developments in social and political life.
Table of Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
Vox Literata: On the Uses of Oral and Written Language in the Later Middle Agesp. 3
The Voice of the Sign and the Semiology of Dominion in the Work of Ockhamp. 39
"Real Language" and the Rule of the Book in the Work of Wyclifp. 79
Orality and Rhetoric in the Chronicle History of Edward IIIp. 123
The Politics of Literacy in the Reign of Richard IIp. 151
The Spell of the Ax: Diglossia and History in Sir Gawain and the Green Knightp. 195
"Withouten Any Repplicacioun": Discourse and Dominion in the Knight's Talep. 227
Bibliographyp. 273
Indexp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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