By Jesse M. Gellrich

ISBN-10: 0691037493

ISBN-13: 9780691037493

ISBN-10: 1400811716

ISBN-13: 9781400811717

This wide-ranging examine of language and cultural swap in fourteenth-century England argues that the impact of oral culture is far extra vital to the improvement of literacy than formerly meant. not like the view of orality and literacy as opposing forces, the publication continues that the facility of language is composed in displacement, the ability of 1 channel of language to take where of the opposite, to make the resource disappear into the reproduction. Appreciating the interaction among oral and written language makes attainable for the 1st time a fashion of realizing the excessive literate achievements of this century relating to momentous advancements in social and political life.

Part I reasseses the "nominalism" of Ockham and the "realism" of Wyclif via discussions in their significant treatises on language and executive. half II argues that the chronicle histories of this century are tied particularly to oral customs, and half III indicates how Sir Gawain and the fairway Knight and Chaucer's Knight's story confront outright the displacement of language and dominion. knowledgeable through contemporary discussions in serious thought, philosophy, and anthropology, the e-book bargains a brand new synoptic view of fourteenth-century tradition. As a critique of the social context of medieval literacy, it speaks on to postmodern debate concerning the politics of historicism this day.

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If that is the case, then poems like Durham offer unexpected evidence of cultural diglossia in their time. Cut loose from the context of the author’s voice, writing must get by on its own. ”92 It is not autotelically closed off into a system untouched by outside influence; it exists by virtue of such influence, and thus its autonomy is always open to compromise. Orality Redefined In this regard, the “orality” of the customs that existed side-by-side with the rise of literacy in the later middle ages needs to be reformulated: the appearance of oral habits does not constitute a resurgence of “primary” oralism, the tribal consciousness of preliterate societies from the archaic ages that Christianity transformed in Europe and Britain.

It developed because written documents outpaced oral tradition among the customs of laying claim to land and property by ecclesiastical and aristocratic houses. And the result was that scriptores were set to work inventing documents “verifying” land holdings by church and state which had been previously claimed simply by word of mouth. In 1238 Archbishop Simon Langton wrote to Pope Gregory IX: “Holy Father, there is not a single sort of forgery that is not perpetrated in the Church of Canterbury.

18, 24, 40, 54, 58, 76. 46 Stock, The Implications of Literacy, pp. 4, 6, 42–59. , pp. 44, 90–92, and passim. ORAL AND WRITTEN LANGUAGE 19 inevitable conflicts with the community outside of the text and the monastery walls. But while differences between customs of literacy and orality were bound to be changed by acculturation, this process was not a dramatic standoff between a hostile society and a community committed to pondering documents and living according to them. For oral habits prevailed within the community itself through the disciplines of conducting ritual or discussion without the physical presence of texts, as well as through the vocalized reading of texts in manuscript production.

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Discourse and Dominion in the Fourteenth Century by Jesse M. Gellrich


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