The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language, and Nation in the Hundred Years War

Paperback | April 7, 2013

byArdis Butterfield

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The Familiar Enemy re-examines the linguistic, literary, and cultural identities of England and France within the context of the Hundred Years War. During this war, two profoundly intertwined peoples developed complex strategies for expressing their aggressively intimate relationship. Thisspecial connection between the English and the French has endured into the modern period as a model for Western nationhood. Ardis Butterfield reassesses the concept of 'nation' in this period through a wide-ranging discussion of writing produced in war, truce, or exile from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, concluding with reflections on the retrospective views of this conflict created by the trials of Jeanned'Arc and by Shakespeare's Henry V. She considers authors writing in French, 'Anglo-Norman', English, and the comic tradition of Anglo-French 'jargon', including Machaut, Deschamps, Froissart, Chaucer, Gower, Charles d'Orleans, as well as many lesser-known or anonymous works. Traditionally Chaucer has been seen as a quintessentially English author. This book argues that he needs to be resituated within the deeply francophone context, not only of England but the wider multilingual cultural geography of medieval Europe. It thus suggests that a modern understanding of what'English' might have meant in the fourteenth century cannot be separated from 'French', and that this has far-reaching implications both for our understanding of English and the English, and of French and the French.

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From the Publisher

The Familiar Enemy re-examines the linguistic, literary, and cultural identities of England and France within the context of the Hundred Years War. During this war, two profoundly intertwined peoples developed complex strategies for expressing their aggressively intimate relationship. Thisspecial connection between the English and the ...

Ardis Butterfield is Professor of English at University College, London.

other books by Ardis Butterfield

Performing Medieval Text
Performing Medieval Text

Hardcover|Jan 8 2017

$162.38 online$168.00list price
Format:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:April 7, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019965770X

ISBN - 13:9780199657704

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsList of Illustrations and mapsBibliographical noteList of AbbreviationsPrefaceI Nation and Language1. Introduction: Pre-nation and post-nation2. Origins and language3. A common language?II Exchanging Terms: War and Peace4. Fighting talk5. Exchanging Terms6. Trading languages7. Lingua franca: the international language of loveIII Vernacular Subjects8. The English subject9. Mother tongues10. Betrayal and NationConclusionBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Butterfield advances several groundbreaking arguments, which she articulates with admirable clarity and supports with imnpressively meticulous documentation" --French Studies