Tag Archives: Middle English

The B Version Archetype

My essay-length review of John Burrow and Thorlac Turville-Petre, eds., The “Piers Plowman” Electronic Archive, Vol. 9: The B-Version Archetype will appear in the Yearbook of Langland Studies 32. Here is the abstract: The B-Version Archetype, published on-line by the Piers … Continue reading

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The earliest English poetry

[English 390, offered Spring 2018] In English, as in other languages, poetry was at first an oral form: it was passed down in recitation, not writing. The Anglo-Saxons (that is, the English-speaking inhabitants of early medieval Britain) learned to write … Continue reading

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Lawmen and Plowmen

From my review of Stephen M. Yeager, From Lawmen to Plowmen: Anglo-Saxon Legal Tradition and the School of Langland (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014): What did Old English literature contribute to the literary cultures of post-Conquest England? The question has … Continue reading

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“Piers Plowman” and the Books of Nature

Rebecca Davis’s new book “Piers Plowman” and the Books of Nature appeared last year from Oxford University Press. I have reviewed the book for The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, and reproduce the opening paragraph of my review here. Classroom discussion … Continue reading

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Reconstructing Alliterative Verse

Alliterative poetry is first recorded in English from the late seventh century, which makes it the oldest poetry in this language. Surviving poems include Cædmon’s Hymn, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Piers Plowman, several of the most admired works … Continue reading

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Chaucer, Spring 2017

Geoffrey Chaucer was perhaps the greatest English poet prior to Shakespeare and remains one of the great literary innovators in this language. Writing at a time when English commanded little respect as a language of literature, Chaucer crafted a unique … Continue reading

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Middle English Alliterative Poetry: ENGL 402

[a course description, updated for the F14 iteration. In the previous iteration we read part of Cleanness and The Siege of Jerusalem (combined with Patience to form a unit on the destruction of cities) in place of Pearl. The F14 course website … Continue reading

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Langland’s words

Emily Steiner (Penn) and I are organizing a paper session titled “Langland’s Words” at Kalamazoo 2015. The session is sponsored by the International Piers Plowman Society. Details and a full list of sponsored sessions are posted on the society’s website. … Continue reading

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Boethius in Medieval England

I have contributed a chapter on Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy to the forthcoming Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, vol. 1: The Middle Ages. Written in 524-25, on the cusp of antiquity and the Middle Ages, the Consolation … Continue reading

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The Accentual Paradigm

An excerpt from my article “The Accentual Paradigm in Early English Metrics,” which has now appeared in JEGP. I seek to show how Old English poetry first came to be regarded as “accentual” or “strong stress” in nineteenth-century scholarship, and … Continue reading

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