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Title: Books under Suspicion: Censorship and Tolerance of Revelatory Writing in Late Medieval England
Author: Kerby-Fulton, Kathryn
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press; Publication Date: 2006
Hardcover; ISBN: 9780268033125
Volumes: 1; Pages: 616
List Price in Cloth: $50.00 Our price: $50.00
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Books Under Suspicion: Censorship and Tolerance of Revelatory Writing in Late Medieval England examines the censorship issues that propelled the major writers of the period toward their massive use of visionary genres. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton suggests that writers and translators as different as Chaucer, Langland, Julian of Norwich, "M. N.," and Margery Kempe positioned their work to take advantage of the tacit toleration that both religious and secular authorities extended to revelatory theology. The book examines controversial ideas as diverse as the early experimental humanism of Chaucer, censured beatific vision theology and the breakdown of Langland's A Text, the English reception of M. N.'s translation of Marguerite Porete's condemned book, Julian's authorial suppression of her gender, and the impact of suspect Continental women's activism on Kempe.Kerby-Fulton also narrates success stories of intellectual freedom, tracing evidence of ecclesiastical tolerance of revelation, the impossibility of official censorship in a manuscript culture, and the powerful, protected reading circles for radical apocalypticism and mysticism, such as those of the Austins and the Carthusians. Until now, Wycliffism has been seen as the only significant unorthodox or radical body of writings in late medieval England. Books Under Suspicion is the first comprehensive study of banned non-Wycliffite materials in Insular writing during the period of the Avignon and Great Schism papacies.This weighty, complex, and rewarding book makes use of neglected material in manuscripts and archives to reconstruct new aspects of the history of religious thought and vernacular writing in Ricardian and early Lancastrian England. As such it will interest scholars of late medieval religious history and Middle English literary history.