Middle English Marvels: Magic, Spectacle, and Morality in the Fourteenth Century

Author:   Tara Williams
Publisher:   Pennsylvania State University Press
ISBN:  

9780271079646


Pages:   184
Publication Date:   15 May 2019
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
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Middle English Marvels: Magic, Spectacle, and Morality in the Fourteenth Century


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Author:   Tara Williams
Publisher:   Pennsylvania State University Press
Imprint:   Pennsylvania State University Press
Dimensions:   Width: 15.20cm , Height: 22.90cm , Length: 22.90cm
Weight:   0.322kg
ISBN:  

9780271079646


ISBN 10:   0271079649
Pages:   184
Publication Date:   15 May 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Professional & Vocational
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
This item is yet to be released. You can pre-order this item and we will dispatch it to you upon its release.

Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments Introduction: Why Marvels Matter 1. Mirroring Otherworlds: Fairy Magic, Wonder, and Morality 2. Revealing Spectacles: Virtue and Identity in Fair Unknowns 3. Moving Marvels: Action and Agency in Courtly Spectacles 4. Talking Magic: Chaucer's Spectacles of Language Conclusion: How Marvels Matter Notes Bibliography Index

Reviews

An insightful study that examines literary magic in fourteenth-century England on its own terms. Through a series of subtle readings, Tara Williams identifies a previously unnoticed concatenation of magic, spectacle, and reflections on morality among a group of vernacular romances that construct their own view of the marvelous. This book makes a valuable contribution to magic studies and to affect studies through the ethical use of wonder. -Lee Manion, author of Narrating the Crusades: Loss and Recovery in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature Williams's deft survey of fourteenth-century Middle English literary texts reveals a moral theory of the marvelous, which she traces from the actions it provokes in Orfeo and Lybeaus Desconus to the reflections it inspires in the Canterbury Tales. Through investigations of spectacle and the cognitive effects of wonder, situated in contexts ranging from genre to manuscripts to history and philosophy, Middle English Marvels offers a new understanding of how magic encourages moral contemplation in characters and readers, then and now. -Myra Seaman, coeditor of Fragments for a History of a Vanishing Humanism A subtle, readable, and learned analysis of the `theory of the marvelous' developed by writers of Middle English romances. This book makes a significant contribution not only to romance studies itself but also to the growing body of work on the flexible relationships between the different types of medieval wonder and on their aesthetic and ethical implications. Middle English Marvels will be of equal interest to scholars and their students. -Nicholas Watson, coeditor of The Writings of Julian of Norwich: A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman and A Revelation of Love Presents a fascinating perspective on perceptions of the marvellous and magical in the high Middle Ages, especially in terms of how it relates to other aspects of the study of mediaeval magic. -Fortean Times A universal appeal underlies this book's particular exploration of how Middle English literary spectacles function in a handful of 14th-century texts. . . . Williams contributes to the scholarly discussion material that will be useful for understanding traditional elements such as plot, character, and theme and also postmodern interest in identity and alterity. -A. P. Church, Choice


A well-written, accessible, and insightful volume, and one of clear interest to scholars of Middle English literature, particularly of romance. And it may well prove very useful, too, for teaching. . . . The value of this study is in the further speculation on texts like those discussed it stimulates, and on larger questions about language and literary tradition--and the role wonder can play in our own ethical engagement with the world. --Lisa M. C. Weston, Modern Philology An insightful study that examines literary magic in fourteenth-century England on its own terms. Through a series of subtle readings, Tara Williams identifies a previously unnoticed concatenation of magic, spectacle, and reflections on morality among a group of vernacular romances that construct their own view of the marvelous. This book makes a valuable contribution to magic studies and to affect studies through the ethical use of wonder. --Lee Manion, author of Narrating the Crusades: Loss and Recovery in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature Williams's deft survey of fourteenth-century Middle English literary texts reveals a moral theory of the marvelous, which she traces from the actions it provokes in Orfeo and Lybeaus Desconus to the reflections it inspires in the Canterbury Tales. Through investigations of spectacle and the cognitive effects of wonder, situated in contexts ranging from genre to manuscripts to history and philosophy, Middle English Marvels offers a new understanding of how magic encourages moral contemplation in characters and readers, then and now. --Myra Seaman, coeditor of Fragments for a History of a Vanishing Humanism Presents a fascinating perspective on perceptions of the marvellous and magical in the high Middle Ages, especially in terms of how it relates to other aspects of the study of mediaeval magic. --Fortean Times A universal appeal underlies this book's particular exploration of how Middle English literary spectacles function in a handful of 14th-century texts. . . . Williams contributes to the scholarly discussion material that will be useful for understanding traditional elements such as plot, character, and theme and also postmodern interest in identity and alterity. --A. P. Church, Choice A subtle, readable, and learned analysis of the 'theory of the marvelous' developed by writers of Middle English romances. This book makes a significant contribution not only to romance studies itself but also to the growing body of work on the flexible relationships between the different types of medieval wonder and on their aesthetic and ethical implications. Middle English Marvels will be of equal interest to scholars and their students. --Nicholas Watson, coeditor of The Writings of Julian of Norwich: A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman and A Revelation of Love


Author Information

Tara Williams is Associate Dean of the Honors College and Associate Professor of English at Oregon State University and the author of Inventing Womanhood: Gender and Language in Later Middle English Writing.

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