Translations of Authority in Medieval English Literature

Valuing the Vernacular


In Translations of Authority in Medieval English Literature, leading critic Alastair Minnis presents the fruits of a long-term engagement with the ways in which crucial ideological issues were deployed in vernacular texts. The concept of the vernacular is seen as possessing a value far beyond the category of language - as encompassing popular beliefs and practices which could either confirm or contest those authorized by church and state institutions. Minnis addresses the crisis for vernacular translation precipitated by the Lollard heresy; the minimal engagement with Nominalism in late fourteenth-century poetry; Langland's views on indulgences; the heretical theology of Walter Brut; Margery Kempe's self-promoting biblical exegesis; and Chaucer's tales of suspicious saints and risible relics. These discussions disclose different aspects of 'vernacularity', enabling a fuller understanding of its complexity and potency.
  • Cambridge University Press; March 2009
  • ISBN 9780511512490
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Translations of Authority in Medieval English Literature
  • Author: Alastair Minnis
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

Review of the hardback: 'Minnis slaloms down the steep slopes of scholastic theology with virtuosic ease and rapidity … an impressive book that anyone interested in arguments about vernacular theology and English orthodoxy, or anyone interested in how Alastair Minnis continues to write so well and so much, will want to read.' Notes and Queries