This course was a survey of Late Middle English literature, focalized around issues of language choice and language contact. We studied the shifting status, functions, and interactions of Latin, French, and English in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England, and the strategies by which writers of English texts represented their relations to Latin and French language and culture.
The Idea of the Vernacular (Jocelyn Wogan-Browne et al.; 1999), Studies in the Harley Manuscript (Susannah Fein, ed.; 2000) and Ralph Hanna’s “Lambeth Palace Library, MS 260, and the Problem of English Vernacularity” (2008) jointly established the seminar’s basic orientation and guiding questions. We read the lyrics of Harley 2253; selections from Piers Plowman B; writings associated with the English Rising of 1381; Lollard writings on Bible translation; Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women and The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale; and Thomas Hoccleve’s Regiment of Princes.
As part of this seminar, I set up a zotero bibliography (which I continue to update on occasion) on multilingualism in medieval England.