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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16806

Title: Satire of Counsel, Counsel of Satire: Representing Advisory Relations in Later Medieval Literature
Authors: Newman, Jonathan M.
Advisor: Townsend, David
Department: Medieval Studies
Keywords: Middle English Literature
Medieval Latin Literature
John Gower
Thomas Hoccleve
John Skelton
John of Salisbury
Daniel of Beccles
Alan of Lille
William IX of Poitiers
literary pragmatics
politeness in literature
literary satire
literary counsel
medieval genre
De planctu naturae
Urbanus Magnus
Confessio Amantis
Vox Clamantis
Guilhem IX
Regement of Princes
Bowge of Court
Richard II
Henry IV
Henry V
Ricardian England
Lancastrian England
Walter Map
De nugis curialium
Angevin England
Henry II
satiric verse
literary complaint
Plaint of Nature
Regiment of Princes
sociolinguistic criticism
literary criticism
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2009
Abstract: Satire and counsel recur together in the secular literature of the High and Late Middle Ages. I analyze their collocation in Latin, Old Occitan, and Middle English texts from the twelfth to the fifteenth century in works by Walter Map, Alan of Lille, John of Salisbury, Daniel of Beccles, John Gower, William of Poitiers, Thomas Hoccleve, and John Skelton. As types of discourse, satire and counsel resemble each other in the way they reproduce scenarios of social interaction. Authors combine satire and counsel to reproduce these scenarios according to the protocols of real-life social interaction. Informed by linguistic pragmatics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and cultural anthropology, I examine the relational rhetoric of these texts to uncover a sometimes complex and reflective ethical discourse on power which sometimes implicates itself in the practices it condemns. The dissertation draws throughout on sociolinguistic methods for examining verbal interaction between unequals, and assesses what this focus can contribute to recent scholarly debates on the interrelation of social and literary practices in the later Middle Ages. In the first chapter I introduce the concepts and methodologies that inform this dissertation through a detailed consideration of Distinction One of Walter Map’s De nugis curialium . While looking at how Walter Map combines discourses of satire and counsel to negotiate a new social role for the learned cleric at court, I advocate treating satire as a mode of expression more general than ‘literary’ genre and introduce the iii theories and methods that inform my treatment of literary texts as social interaction, considering also how these approaches can complement new historicist interpretation. Chapter two looks at how twelfth-century authors of didactic poetry appropriate relational discourses from school and household to claim the authoritative roles of teacher and father. In the third chapter, I focus on texts that depict relations between princes and courtiers, especially the Prologue of the Confessio Amantis which idealizes its author John Gower as an honest counselor and depicts King Richard II (in its first recension) as receptive to honest counsel. The fourth chapter turns to poets with the uncertain social identities of literate functionaries at court. Articulating their alienation and satirizing the ploys of courtiers—including even satire itself—Thomas Hoccleve in the Regement of Princes and John Skelton in The Bowge of Court undermine the satirist-counselor’s claim to authenticity. In concluding, I consider how this study revises understanding of the genre of satire in the Middle Ages and what such an approach might contribute to the study of Jean de Meun and Geoffrey Chaucer.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16806
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Centre for Medieval Studies - Doctoral theses

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