Gower Bibliography

Maintaining injustice: Literary Representations of the Legal System c. 1400

Kennedy, Kathleen Erin. "Maintaining injustice: Literary Representations of the Legal System c. 1400." PhD thesis, Ohio State University, 2004.


“Medieval English authors often regard aspects of the legal system to be in conflict with an endemic cultural practice, maintenance. Simply put, maintenance was the payment of a form of salary to a high-level servant by a lord. The salary this servant (or affine) might receive could consist of cash-payments, gifts, or access to lucrative official positions, including the proxy enjoyment of some portion of the lord's judicial rights. The more lavish the assistance, the more the lord honored the retainer. Obviously, the mutual ties of aid and loyalty between a lord and an affine threatened impartial justice at every level, and medieval authors strove both to bring its abuses to light, and to offer alternatives. Each of my chapters sheds light on how late fourteenth-century authors articulated the relationship between different legal institutions and maintenance. . . . John Gower spends a considerable amount of time writing about the legal profession, especially lawyers and other legal officials. I claim that Gower argues that if the king allowed maintenance and other personal considerations to influence his judgement, then legal officials would do the same; moreover, legal officials tarnish the king's reputation since they receive their legal powers by delegation from the king. . . . In sum, late-fourteenth- and early-fifteenth-century authors demonstrated detailed knowledge of the law and used literature as a forum in which to discuss inadequacies of the system.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International 65.09 (2005): 3398A.
Subjects:Backgrounds and General Studies

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