SMRH Third Series, Volume 5 (2008)

Table of Contents:

Articles

  • Judgment Day: Hopes, Joys, and Sorrows in Medieval England
    Eric Gerald Stanley
  • Beauvais Romanesque and Suger’s Workshop at Saint-Denis:
    Creative Appropriation and Regional Identity
    Elaine M. Beretz
  • Lambeth Palace Library, MS 260, and the Problem of English Vernacularity
    Ralph Hanna
  • Game in the Medieval English Diet
    Robin S. Oggins
  • Talking with the Taxman about Poetry: England’s Economy in
    “Against the King’s Taxes” and Wynnere and Wastoure
    Brantley L. Bryant
  • Propaganda, Self-Interest, and Brotherly Love: Poverty
    and Wealth in the Pamphlets of an Early-Reformation Preacher
    Jennifer Smyth
  • "The Double Variacioun of Worldy Blisse and Transmutacioun":
    Shakespeare’s Return to Ovid in Troilus and Cressida
    Bradley Greenburg

Abstracts:

Judgment Day: Hopes, Joys, and Sorrows in Medieval England
Eric Gerald Stanley (Pembroke College, Oxford)
Doomsday is central to both woe and hope in medieval religious thinking, and for the earliest period we have little
record in English of secular thought. In Old English the inherited word for hope was hyht, hyhtan, which embraced the
joy of indulging in the present the expectation of some good in the future, perhaps too timeless a view for Spes,
the Theological Virtue. A new word, wholly of the future, was found, the ancestor of our word hope.

Beauvais Romanesque and Suger’s Workshop at Saint-Denis:
Creative Appropriation and Regional Identity

Elaine M. Beretz (Bryn Mawr College)
After c. 1140, artisans working in the northern French city of Beauvais appropriated innovative architectural and sculptural
elements either invented in Suger’s workshop at Saint-Denis, or used there in a striking manner. This artistic exchange with
Saint-Denis locates the Beauvais workshop within larger artistic developments of its time and place. At Beauvais, however,
the imported elements were transformed in ways that fall into a clear pattern and afford one of the best insights into the
formal characteristics of the local style. The style itself provides a glimpse into the wider urban culture of Beauvais,
now almost completely lost, which shaped both the patrons of the art and the artisans they hired. The conscious archaism
of the Beauvais Romanesque style in the face of imports from Paris challenges traditional notions of influence, periodization,
and regionalism, which are often inappropriately used to classify the culture of this period.

Lambeth Palace Library, MS 260, and the Problem of English Vernacularity
Ralph Hanna (Keble College, Oxford)
In the recent spate of “English vernacular studies,” many discussions presuppose that “the vernacular,” English,
is a readily identifiable separate option. In this essay, I challenge such a characterization (well nigh inevitable
given our disciplinary formation), particularly for the period 1150–1400. I draw attention to widespread traditions
of multilingual writing in medieval England. At the center of the argument is a single book communicating Northern poetry,
Lambeth Palace Library, MS 260; this volume offers extensive examples of bilingual relations, constantly renegotiated.
In the conclusion, I further qualify traditional arguments about English usage, whether emancipatory and triumphalist
or abject, and argue the necessity of detailed studies of multilingual relations during this period.

Game in the Medieval English Diet
Robin S. Oggins (Binghamton University)
This article addresses the questions of who ate game in medieval England, when they ate it, and what kinds of game they ate.
The article further investigates such related topics as discrepancies between game ordered by the kings and game actually received,
royal gifts of game (to whom and on what occasions), and game as provided for in household dietary ordinances. Available evidence
indicates that game served two functions. High-status game, such as deer, boar, crane, and swan, tended to be served on holidays
and other important occasions. Other game, such as rabbit, pigeon, or woodcock, might be served on a seasonal basis and provided
variety in diet.

Talking with the Taxman about Poetry: England’s Economy in “Against the King’s Taxes” and Wynnere and Wastoure
Brantley L. Bryant (Sonoma State University)
Drawing on parliamentary history and the evidence of two poems, this essay examines contrasting attitudes toward national
economics in mid-fourteenth-century England. The Anglo-Norman and Latin “Against the King's Taxes” (c. 1340),
identified by J. R. Maddicott as a poem of “Social Protest,” criticizes tax-granting with the language of Christian eschatology.
The Middle English Wynnere and Wastoure (c. 1352–1370), on the other hand, embraces parliamentary representative
ideology by imagining the collective economic good of the realm, seamlessly integrating moral and economic principles in a defense
of the political status quo.

Propaganda, Self-Interest, and Brotherly Love:
Poverty and Wealth in the Pamphlets of an Early-Reformation Preacher

Jennifer Smyth (Trinity College, Dublin)

Jacob Strauss was an evangelical preacher and pamphleteer active during the early years of the sixteenth-century
German Reformation, a time of intense debate and change not only in the religious sphere but also in relation to the
problem of poverty. The theme of the poor and needy neighbor appears frequently in Strauss’s pamphlets; this essay
addresses his treatment of that subject and its potential reception, and asks what this reveals about the form and
extent of the reformation envisaged by one of the proponents of what was at this stage a relatively diverse movement.
It also explores the degree to which the association of economic concerns with a reforming message may have served a
propagandistic purpose, ultimately concluding, however, that this element of Strauss’s writings represented much more
than a calculated device to gain support for his teachings.

"The Double Variacioun of Worldy Blisse and Transmutacioun": Shakespeare’s Return to Ovid in Troilus and Cressida
Bradley Greenburg (Northeastern Illinois University)
This essay argues that the Cressida of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida is a character who is sympathetically
portrayed and a victim of a system of male honor, shown to be reified by the literary tradition that insists on her faithlessness.
Troilus, a participant in that system of honor, divides his sense of Cressida in two (“This is and is not Cressid”) as a form
of self-protection but also signals her existence as a woman caught “in a discursive economy of war” that puts her into a game
out of her control and yet judges her as faithless. Such a structural position is, I suggest, analogous to the Ariadne of Ovid’s
Heroides as well as the Arachne of The Metamorphoses. Shakespeare’s deployment of Ovid here is much more than
that of source: it is an active transformation of literary character.