Gower Bibliography

Convocational and compilational play in Medieval London literary culture

Bahr, Arthur William. "Convocational and compilational play in Medieval London literary culture." PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 2006.

Review

"[Late medieval literary] compilations did not necessarily achieve or even aim for a single meaning to the exclusion of others; indeed, the capacious forms of play---generic, intertextual, imitative---that gave them their literary appeal tended to multiply rather than delimit meaning. This compilational tension paralleled the difficulty of convoking a group of city-dwellers into a unified polity that could speak and act with a single voice; London compilations served in part as textual thought-experiments in the kinds of cultural and social models that could make coherent a polity's disparate interests and groups. "Early in the fourteenth century, Londoners like City Chamberlain Andrew Horn and the compiler of the Auchinleck manuscript tentatively explored imitation of courtly play as one way of laying claim to the cultural status that would help them resist royal attempts to disenfranchise them. The turbulence of Ricardian London, however, brought Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower to opposite conclusions about the relevance of such models: Chaucer's construction of the Canterbury Tales argues that chivalric performance had lost its viability in the face of Richard's pageantry-laden yet socially disruptive reign, while Gower's repackaging of earlier texts in a new compilation [Trentham mansucript] for Henry IV's accession proposes that courtly literary forms could regain their relevance under the rejuvenating aegis of the new Lancastrian dynasty." Directed by Anne Middleton.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International 68.2A (2007)
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Manuscripts and Textual Studies

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