From Aesop to Reynard Beast Literature in Medieval Britain

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-01-11
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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This book analyzes the shrewd perceptions about human life-and especially human language-that emerge from the rich tradition of beast literature. Distinguishing between beast fable and beast epic, Mann examines the complex variations of these forms that are to be found in the literature of medieval Britain, in English, French, Latin, and Scots. Works discussed include the fables of Marie de France, the Speculum stultorum of Nigel of Longchamp, the debatepoemThe Owl and the Nightingale, Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls and the tales of the Squire, Manciple and Nun's Priest, the Reynardian tale of the Fox and the Wolf, and the Moral Fabillis of Robert Henryson.

Author Biography

Jill Mann took her B.A. from St Anne's College, Oxford, and her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. After a year teaching at the University of Kent at Canterbury, she took up a Fellowship at Girton College, Cambridge, where she later became Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English. In 1999 she resigned from Cambridge in order to take up an endowed chair at the University of Notre Dame, where she remained until her retirement in 2004. She is the author of Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire (1973) and Feminizing Chaucer (2002), and has edited The Canterbury Tales (in the original Middle English) for Penguin Classics (2005). Her long-standing interest in medieval beast literature bore fruit in her dual-language edition of the Latin beast epic Ysengrimus (1987). She is a Fellow of the British Academy, an Honorary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, and a Life Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge.

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