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Sonja Drimmer
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA 01003-9242)
Timeless Texts, Timely Illustrations: Origins and Illumination of the Middle English Literary Canon

Summer research and writing on Art History and Criticism, British Literature and Medieval Studies.

The formation of a native literary canon is one of the milestones in the establishment of a national identity. England's moment came in the fifteenth century, against the background of two defining conflicts with lasting impact: the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) and the Wars of the Roses (1450-1485). At this time, royals and gentry alike commissioned manuscript copies of works by Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, and Hoccleve, who translated into English and radically revised stories central to Western culture. A seldom recognized fact is that many of these manuscripts contain images, and that these images express patrons' ambitions to co-opt such narratives for their own individual and national designs. As a result, the role of the manuscript illuminator in this history has never been acknowledged. My book will offer the first in-depth study devoted to the emergence of England's first literary canon as a visual as well as a linguistic event.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; British Literature; Medieval Studies

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2015 – 7/31/2015