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The Poetics of Authorship in the Later Middle Ages

The Emergence of the Modern Literary Persona

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Burt Kimmelman

Literary individualism first manifests itself in the twelfth century in word puzzles and overt self-naming, as well as in discussions about the nature of writing and the role of the poet in the world. Guillem IX, Marcabru, Dante, Chaucer, and Langland were poets and intellectuals. This engaging study traces their claims of authorship, not to a need for what modernity views as self-promotion, but rather to their interests in contemporary philosophical debates. Yet in their creations of both history and fiction, these poets anticipated modern narrative and its literary persona.