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From «Beowulf» to Caxton

Studies in Medieval Languages and Literature, Texts and Manuscripts


Edited By Tomonori Matsushita, A.V.C. Schmidt and David J. Wallace

Senshu University has hosted many international conferences on medieval English literature – primarily on Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland – as well as in the related fields of Old Germanic, medieval French and Renaissance Italian literature. These international collaborations inform and contribute to the present volume, which addresses the heritage bequeathed to medieval English language and literature by the classical world.
This volume explores the development of medieval English literature in light of contact with Germanic and Old Norse cultures, on the one hand, and Romance languages, on the other. The book includes a comparative study of Beowulf in the Germanic context, discusses aspects of Piers Plowman and its tradition, and offers philological approaches to Chaucer (especially his Troilus and Criseyde). The articles assembled here collectively suggest how the torches of classical learning were carried from continental Europe to illuminate the pages of medieval English literature.


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Masatoshi Kawasaki - 5. ‘My Wyl Is This’ (Canterbury Tales. I [A] 1845): Chaucer’s Sense of Power in The Knight’s Tale and The Clerk’s Tale -99


Masatoshi Kawasaki 5 ‘My Wyl is This’ (Canterbury Tales. I [A] 1845): Chaucer’s Sense of Power in The Knight’s Tale and The Clerk’s Tale 5.0. Introduction As R.J. Meyer-Lee asserts in the recently published Poets and Power from Chaucer to Wyatt,1 it could not be denied that the deposition of Richard II and the divorce of Henry VIII had surprisingly far-reaching ef fects on English literature; for the fall of Richard II enabled the rise of the Lan- castrian dynasty, and the divorce of Henry VIII marked the beginning of the English Reformation. Recent studies have further demonstrated how Lancastrian ways of legitimation sometimes took very indirect cultural forms (including high-class vernacular verse).2 Almost immediately after the enthronement of Henry IV, this verse begins to be concerned with power; that is to say, English poetry becomes more charged, albeit indi- rectly, with political import. Generally speaking, no great contradiction can be seen between the utilitarian and the aesthetic in the Middle Ages, but it is also certain that the tendency not to have the means of a literary object be entirely trans- parent characterized the Ricardian period. Poets are therefore said to have 1 Cf. R.J. Meyer-Lee, Poets and Power from Chaucer to Wyatt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007): 24–31. 2 Cf. Paul Strohm, England’s Empty Throne: Usurpation and the Language of Legitimation, 1399–1422 (New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1998): 173–95. 100 Masatoshi Kawasaki adopted strategies of indirection and displacement. The ambiguous...

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