The Voices of Medieval English Lyric

Anne L. Klinck


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McGill-Queen's University Press
2 January 2020
ISBN: 9780773558823
440 pages

From the publisher

What was the medieval English lyric? Moving beyond the received understanding of the genre, The Voices of Medieval English Lyric explores, through analysis, discussion, and demonstration, what the term "lyric" most meaningfully implies in a Middle English context. A critical edition of 131 poems that illustrate the range and rich variety of lyric poetry from the mid-twelfth century to the early sixteenth century, The Voices of Medieval English Lyric presents its texts - freshly edited from the manuscripts - in thirteen sections emphasizing contrasting and complementary voices and genres. As well as a selection of religious poetry, the collection includes a high proportion of secular lyrics, many on love and sexuality, both earnest and humorous. In general, major authors who have been covered thoroughly elsewhere are excluded from the edited texts, but some, especially Chaucer, are quoted or mentioned as illuminating comparisons. Charles d'Orleans and the Scots poets Robert Henryson and William Dunbar add an extra-national dimension to a single-language collection. Textual and thematic notes are provided, as well as versions of the poems in Latin or French when these exist. Adopting new perspectives, The Voices of Medieval English Lyric offers an up-to-date, accessible, and distinctive take on Middle English poetry.