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Clerical Discourse and Lay Audience in Late Medieval England

Clerical Discourse and Lay Audience in Late Medieval England
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The translation of learned Latin materials into English between around 1370 and 1410 was a highly controversial activity. It was thought likely to make available to lay audiences the authoritative and intellectual information and methods of argument previously only accessible to an educated elite - and with that knowledge the power of information. Fiona Somerset's 1998 study examines what kinds of academic material were imported into English, what sorts of audience were projected for this kind of clerical discourse and how writers positioned themselves with respect to potential audience and opponents. The well-known concerns with clerical corruption and lay education of authors such as Langland, Trevisa, and Wyclif are linked to those of more obscure writers in both Latin and English, some only recently edited, or only extant in manuscript.
Cambridge University Press; November 1998
255 pages; ISBN 9780511824623
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