Matching Items (6)

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Global Commodification in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood

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In this study, the first two novels of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy are discussed in their global context as social commentary on the current system of global economics. The study

In this study, the first two novels of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy are discussed in their global context as social commentary on the current system of global economics. The study focuses on the novels' depiction of the commodification of women's bodies and the bodies of animals as consumable products.

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  • 2013-05

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Fiscal morality and the state: commerce, law, and taxation in Middle English popular romance

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As a contribution to what has emerged categorically in medieval scholarship as gentry studies, this dissertation looks at the impact the development of obligatory taxation beyond customary dues and fees

As a contribution to what has emerged categorically in medieval scholarship as gentry studies, this dissertation looks at the impact the development of obligatory taxation beyond customary dues and fees had on late medieval English society with particular emphasis given to the emergent view of the medieval subject as a commercial-legal entity. Focusing on Middle English popular romance and drawing on the tenets of practice theory, I demonstrate the merger of commerce and law as a point of identification in the process of meaning and value making for late medieval gentry society. The introductory chapter provides an overview of the historical development of taxation and the emergence of royal authority as an institutionalized form of public welfare, or a state. The second chapter examines the use of contractual language in Sir Amadace to highlight the presence of the state as an extra-legal authority able to enforce contractual agreements. The attention paid to the consequences of economic insolvency stage a gentry identity circumscribed by its position in a network of credit and debt that links the individual to neighbor, state, and God. The third chapter explores conservative responses to economic innovation during the period and the failure of the state to protect the proprietary rights of landowners in Sir Cleges. Specifically, the chapter examines the strain the gradual re-definition of land as a movable property put on the proprietary rights of landowners and challenged the traditional manorial organization of feudal society by subjecting large estates to morcellation in the commercial market. The fourth chapter examines the socioeconomic foundations of late medieval English sovereignty in Sir Gawain and the Carle of Carlisle. By dismissing the cultural fantasies of power and authority bound up in the Arthurian narrative, the author reveals the practical economic mechanisms of exchange that sustain and legitimize sociopolitical authority, resulting in a corporate vision of English society. Collectively, the analyses demonstrate the influence the socioeconomic circumstances of gentry society exerted on the production and consumption of Middle English popular romance and the importance of commerce, law, and taxation in the formation of a sense of self in late medieval England.

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  • 2015

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M.N. and the Yorkshire circle: the motivation behind the translation of the Mirouer des simples ames in fourteenth-century England

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In 1999, Geneviève Hasenohr announced the discovery of a fragment of Marguerite Porete's Mirouer des Simples Ames, a work condemned by the Church at the University of Paris in 1310,

In 1999, Geneviève Hasenohr announced the discovery of a fragment of Marguerite Porete's Mirouer des Simples Ames, a work condemned by the Church at the University of Paris in 1310, hidden in a manuscript at the Bibliothèque municipale in Valenciennes. The fragment corresponds with roughly two chapters in the only extant French version of the manuscript (Chantilly, Musée Condé MS F XIV 26), and when compared with other editions of the Mirouer, it appears to be composed in what might have been Marguerite Porete's native dialect. The discovery changed scholars' perceptions of the weight of the various versions and translations - the Chantilly manuscript had been used previously to settle any questions of discrepancy, but now it appears that the Continental Latin and Middle English translations should be the arbiters. This discovery has elevated the Middle English editions, and has made the question of the translator's identity - he is known only by his initials M.N. - and background more imperative to an understanding of why a work with such a dubious history would be translated and harbored by English Carthusians in the century that followed its condemnation. The only candidate suggested for translator of the Mirouer has been Michael Northburgh (d. 1361), the Bishop of London and co-founder of the London Charterhouse, where two of the three remaining copies of the translation were once owned, but the language of the text and Northburgh's own position and interests do not fit this suggestion. My argument is that the content of the book, the method of its translation, its selection as a work for a Latin-illiterate audience, all fit within the interests of a circle of writers based in Yorkshire at the end of the fourteenth century. By beginning among the Yorkshire circle, and widening the search to include writers with a non-traditional contemplative audience, one that exists outside of the cloister - writers like Walter Hilton, the anonymous authors of the Cloud of Unknowing and the Chastising of God's Children, and Nicholas Love - we may have a better chance of locating and understanding the motives of the Middle English translator of the Mirouer.

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  • 2011

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Childbirth and midwifery in the religious rhetoric of England, 1300-1450

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This dissertation focuses on the connections between childbirth and spirituality in fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century England. It argues that scholastic interest in conception and procreation led to a proliferation of

This dissertation focuses on the connections between childbirth and spirituality in fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century England. It argues that scholastic interest in conception and procreation led to a proliferation of texts mentioning obstetrics and gynecology, and that this attention to women's medicine and birth spread from the universities to the laity. This dissertation contends that there is interdependence between spiritual and physical health in late medieval English religious culture, correlated with and perhaps caused by an increasing fascination with materialism and women's bodies in religious practices and rhetoric. The first chapter provides an analysis of birth in medical and pastoral texts. Pastoral works were heavily influenced by the ecclesiastical emphasis on baptism, as well as by scholastic medicine's simultaneous disdain for and reluctant integration of folk medicine. The second chapter examines birth descriptions in narratives of saints' miracles and collections of exempla; these representations of childbirth were used in religious rhetoric to teach, motivate, and dissuade audiences. The third chapter turns to the cycle play representations of the nativity as depicting the mysteries of human generation and divine incarnation for public consumption. The fourth chapter analyzes the abstract uses of childbirth in visionary and other religious texts, especially in descriptions of spiritual rebirth and the development of vice and virtue in individuals or institutions. By identifying their roles as analogous with the roles of midwives, visionaries authorized themselves as spiritual caretakers, vital for communal health and necessary for collective spiritual growth. These chapters outline a trajectory of increasing male access to the birthing chamber through textual descriptions and prescriptions about birth and midwifery. At the same time, religious texts acknowledged, sought to regulate, and sometimes even utilized the potential authority of mothers and midwives as physical and spiritual caretakers.

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  • 2014

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Early Medieval English saints' lives and the law

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This dissertation examines the relationship between secular law and Old and early Middle English hagiography in order to illustrate important culturally determined aspects of early English saints’ lives. The project

This dissertation examines the relationship between secular law and Old and early Middle English hagiography in order to illustrate important culturally determined aspects of early English saints’ lives. The project advances work in two fields of study, cultural readings of hagiography and legal history, by arguing that medieval English hagiographers use historically relevant legal concepts as an appeal to the experience of their readers and as literary devices that work to underscore the paradoxical nature of a saint's life by grounding the narrative in a historicized context. The study begins with a survey of the lexemes signifying theft in the 102 Old English saints’ lives in order to isolate some of the specific ways legal discourse was employed by early English hagiographers. Specialized language to refer to the theft of relics and moral discourse surrounding the concept of theft both work to place these saints lives in a distinctly literal and culturally significant idiom. Picking one of the texts from the survey, the following chapter focuses on Cynewulf’s Juliana and argues that the characterization of the marriage proposal at the center of the poem is intended to appeal to a specific audience: women in religious communities who were often under pressure from aggressive, and sometimes violent, suitors. The next chapter addresses Ælfric of Eynsham’s Lives of Saints and discusses his condemnation of the easy collaboration of secular legal authorities and ecclesiastics in his “Life of Swithun” and his suggestion in the “Life of Basil“ that litigiousness is itself a fundamentally wicked characteristic. Lastly, the project turns to the South English Legendary’s life of Saint Thomas Becket. Rather than a straightforward translation of the Latin source, the South English Legendary life is significant in the poet's inclusion of a composite version of the Constitutions of Clarendon, demonstrating the author's apparent interest in shaping the reception of legal culture for his or her readers and emphasizing the bureaucratic nature of Becket's sanctity. In sum, the study shows that the historicized legal material that appears in early medieval English hagiography functions to ground the biographies of holy men and women in the corporeal world.

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  • 2012

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Writing Christina at St Albans: a literary history

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Christina of Markyate, a twelfth-century visionary and prioress, has been frequently seen in scholarship as an outsider at her home institution of St Albans, enduring solely under the protection of

Christina of Markyate, a twelfth-century visionary and prioress, has been frequently seen in scholarship as an outsider at her home institution of St Albans, enduring solely under the protection of its abbot, Geoffrey, her spiritual friend and confidant. This characterization appears incorrect when The Life of Christina of Markyate, St Albans' record of Christina's personal history and religious career, is viewed in its original literary environment. The high volume of extant material from twelfth-century St Albans makes it possible to view Christina's depiction in several original ways: as a textual construction (at least in part) influenced by Bede's narratives of holy women in his widely read Ecclesiastical History; as a portrayal of contemporary devotional prayer in the style of Anselm of Canterbury, a major authority on devotional practices of the time; and as a prominent addition to St Albans' own liturgy, the record of its celebrated saints and local patrons, as an object of devotion herself. The strategy of Christina's endorsement in her Life is also notably different from strategies on display in St Albans materials related to Katherine of Alexandria, an important saint for Abbot Geoffrey, which further suggests he was not her sole promoter at the abbey, if he was involved in the process of her textual production at all. Finally, the historical fact that she was employed as a patron of St Albans before none other than Pope Adrian IV, to whom St Albans was appealing for numerous institutional benefits at the time, shows that the prevailing opinion of Christina at the abbey can not have been entirely negative. Placing the Life within the literary and cultural circumstances of its production thus provides a fresh reading of Christina's institutional and devotional roles at St Albans, medieval views of women's spirituality and its place within the western European Christian tradition, and the compositional process of a major work of medieval hagiographical literature.

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  • 2012