Impolitic Bodies: Poetry, Saints, and Society in Fifteenth-Century England: The Work of Osbern Bokenham by Sheila Delany

Impolitic Bodies: Poetry, Saints, and Society in Fifteenth-Century England: The Work of Osbern…

bySheila Delany

Paperback | January 1, 1998

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This pioneering book explores the work of English Augustinian friar Osbern Bokenham, an ardent Yorkist on the eve of the "Wars of the Roses" and a gifted poet. Sheila Delany focuses on a manuscript written in 1447, the "Legend of Holy Women." Narrating the lives and ordeals of thirteen heroicand powerful saints, this was the first all-female legendary in English, much of it commissioned by wealthy women patrons in the vicinity of Clare Priory, Suffolk, where Bokenham lived. Delany structures her book around the image of the human body. First is the corpus of textual traditions withinwhich Bokenham wrote: above all, the work of his two competing masters, St. Augustine and Geoffrey Chaucer. Next comes the female body and its parts as represented in hagiography, with Bokenham's distinctive treatment of the body and the corporeal semiotic of his own legendary. Finally, the image ofthe body politic allows Delany to examine the relation of Bokenham's work to contemporary political life. She analyzes both the legendary and the friar's translation of a panegyric by the late-classical poet Claudian. The poetry is richly historized by Delany's reading of it in the context ofsuccession crises, war, and the connection of women to political power during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

About The Author

Sheila Delany is Professor of English at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. She is the author of such books as Chaucer's House of Fame: The Politics of Skeptical Fideism, The Naked Text: Chaucer's Legend of Good Women and Writing Woman, Medieval and Modern.
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Details & Specs

Title:Impolitic Bodies: Poetry, Saints, and Society in Fifteenth-Century England: The Work of Osbern…Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.09 × 5.98 × 0.2 inPublished:January 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195109899

ISBN - 13:9780195109894

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From Our Editors

In a pathbreaking new inquiry into 15th-century cultural studies, leading medievalist Sheila Delany examines the work of English Augustinian friar Osbern Bokenham to fully explore the relationship between history and literature in a particularly turbulent period in English history. Illustrated

Editorial Reviews

"Delany's book considers [Bokenham] in a complex and suggestive fashion, and will likely serve as the foundation for more work on this contradictory and fascinating writer." --Studies in the Age of Chaucer