Textual Subjectivity: The Encoding of Subjectivity in Medieval Narratives and Lyrics

Hardcover | October 27, 2005

byA. C. Spearing

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This book investigates how subjectivity is encoded in the texts of a wide variety of medieval narratives and lyrics - not how they express the subjectivity of individuals, but how subjectivity, escaping the bounds of individuality, is incorporated in the linguistic fabric of their texts. Mostof the poems discussed are in English, and the book includes analyses of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, Man of Law's Tale, and Complaint Unto Pity, the works of the Pearl poet, Havelok the Dane, the lyric sequence attributed to Charles of Orleans (the earliest such sequence in English), and manyanonymous poems. It also devotes sections to Ovid's Heroides and to poems by the troubadour Bernart de Ventadorn. For the first time, it brings to bear on medieval narratives and lyrics a body of theory which denies the supposed necessity for literary texts to have narrators or 'speakers', and indoing so reveals the implausibilities into which a dogmatic assumption of this necessity has led much of the last century's criticism.

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This book investigates how subjectivity is encoded in the texts of a wide variety of medieval narratives and lyrics - not how they express the subjectivity of individuals, but how subjectivity, escaping the bounds of individuality, is incorporated in the linguistic fabric of their texts. Mostof the poems discussed are in English, and t...

A. C. Spearing is Professor of English at the University of Virginia and Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.82 inPublished:October 27, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198187246

ISBN - 13:9780198187240

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Table of Contents

1. Subjectivity and Textuality'Writing is nothing but the representation of speech''There can be no narrative without a narrator'Did Subjectivity Emerge?The Following Chapters2. RomancesiKing Horn/iiHavelok/i3. iTroilus and Criseyde/iThe Narrator in iTroilus/i CriticismIs There a Fallible Narrator?Is There a Distinct Narratorial Discourse?The Narrator and Criseyde4. The iMan of Law's Tale/iNarrators in iCanterbury Tales/i CriticismThe Man of Law as Fallible NarratorSubjectivized NarrationThe Achievement of the iMan of Law's Tale/i5. Narration in the iPearl/i Poet'Third-Person' Narration'First-Person' Narration6. LyricsWhat is a Lyric?'Lovers that kan make of sentement'Lyric as Dramatic Monologue?Chaucer's iComplaint Unto Pity/i7. Epistolary PoemsOvid's iHeroides/iTwo Middle English Epistolary Lyrics

Editorial Reviews

"Textual Subjectivity should be required reading in every graduate course on medieval literature. Spearing's arguments are energizing, challenging, and instructive on many fronts."--Peter W. Travis, Speculum