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An Introduction to Medieval English Literature 1300-1485 by Anna Baldwin

An Introduction to Medieval English Literature 1300-1485


An Introduction to Medieval English Literature 1300-1485 by Anna Baldwin

This is a comprehensive guide to a literary period characterized by great variety and imagination, and vividly alert to the social transformations overtaking society. Spanning almost two centuries, it introduces the reader to a diverse range of authors writing for a fast-developing readership of both men and women. Each chapter focuses on a group of genres primarily associated with a particular social class - from the Drama and Saints' Lives accessible to the illiterate, to the sophisticated Romances of Love savoured by the aristocracy and the Court. Lively historical narratives place each group of texts in their social, political and cultural contexts. Significant or typical texts are given more detailed analysis that includes critical issues and questions to guide the reader's own approach, and each section is supported by a detailed bibliography of further reading.


'Informed, insightful and important. Anna Baldwin matches groupings of key texts to a vivid account of the changing structure of medieval society, bringing the literature of medieval England alive for the reader in the context of major social forces and political events throughout a tumultuous yet brilliant period of writing in English.' - Barry Windeatt, University of Cambridge, UK 'Teachers of Middle English Literature need think no further about which book to use to introduce the entire field, from top to bottom and start to finish. This is it. Anna Baldwin compacts massive learning and trenchant, no-nonsense judgement into a wonderful, clear, well organized compendium.' - James Simpson, Harvard University, USA 'This book covers a wide range of material, from the popular Chaucer and Malory to less-studied texts such as Piers Plowman and the Langland tradition. The twinning of these texts is enterprising and thought-provoking.' - Helen Phillips, Cardiff University, UK 'Anna's book is the perfect introduction - well-researched, highly readable, full of original passages from a whole range of medieval poems, plays and pamphlets, and complete with mini-biographies of many of the major literary figures of the time. The perfect starting-point, in fact, from which to find out more about this extraordinary time in our history...' - Stephen Lewis, The Press'

About the Author

Anna Baldwin lectured in English Literature at the University of York, UK, where she specialised in Middle English. She has also worked as a tutor for Cambridge University and taught at Hills Road Sixth Form College.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th November 2015


Anna Baldwin

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Palgrave an imprint of Palgrave Macmillan


296 pages


Literary studies: classical, early & medieval



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