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Products for grant FA-56438-12

Professional Reading Circles, the Clerical Proletariat, and the Rise of English Literature
Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, University of Notre Dame

Grant details:

Confronting the Scribe- Poet Binary: The Case of the Z Text of Piers Plowman and the Evidence of London Reading Circles." (Book Section)
Title: Confronting the Scribe- Poet Binary: The Case of the Z Text of Piers Plowman and the Evidence of London Reading Circles."
Author: Kathryn Kerby-Fulton
Editor: Kathryn Kerby-Fulton
Editor: John Thompson
Editor: Sarah Baechle
Abstract: This volume gathers the contributions of senior and junior scholars—all indebted to the pathbreaking work of Derek Pearsall—to showcase new research prompted by his rich and ongoing legacy as a literary critic, editor, and seminal founder of Middle English manuscript studies. The contributors aim both to honor Pearsall’s work in the field he established and to introduce the complexities of interdisciplinary manuscript studies to students already familiar with medieval literature. The contributors explore a range of issues, from the study of medieval literary manuscripts to the history of medieval books, libraries, literacy, censorship, and the social classes who used the books and manuscripts—nobles, children, schoolmasters, priests, merchants, and more. In addressing reading practices, essays provide a wealth of information on marginal commentaries, images and interpretive methods, international transmission, and early print and editorial methods.
Year: 2014
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Book Title: New Directions in Medieval Manuscript Studies and Reading Practices: Essays in Honour of Derek Pearsall

The Clerical Proletariat: the Underemployed Scribe and Vocational Crisis (Article)
Title: The Clerical Proletariat: the Underemployed Scribe and Vocational Crisis
Author: Kathryn Kerby-Fulton
Abstract: An essay is presented on the consideration of clergy members as clerical proletariat and their career patterns in the late medieval church. Topics discussed include the demographics of unbeneficed clergy showed in paper "Careers and Disappointments in the Late Medieval Church," by Alison K. McHardy, the range of duties performed by them from legal, to secretarial, administrative or advisory, several example of underemployed vernacular scribe described in poem "Piers Plowman."
Year: 2014
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of the Early Book Society
Publisher: Pace University Press

Competing Archives, Competing Languages: Office Vernaculars, Civil Servant Raconteurs, and the Porous Nature of French during Ireland’s Rise of English (Article)
Title: Competing Archives, Competing Languages: Office Vernaculars, Civil Servant Raconteurs, and the Porous Nature of French during Ireland’s Rise of English
Author: Kathryn Kerby-Fulton
Abstract: In his seminal article, “Thinking English Law in French: The Angevins and the Common Law,” Paul Hyams examines the surprising number of lasting legal terms “that started life as French words” and argues “that so much Frenchness indicates that more of the crucially experimental but constructive thinking behind the early Common Law than I had previously imagined may have originated not in Latin, still less in English, but in the French language.” This is striking, I think, because experimental or creative thought is not often enough attributed to legal clerks, civil servants, or scribes in any language or century. I have been interested in “office creativity” because many late-medieval writers were bureaucrats by day and “moonlighted” as literary authors or scribes after hours: cases such as Geoffrey Chaucer's, Thomas Usk's, Thomas Hoccleve's, John Audelay's, and, from internal evidence, likely William Langland's, are already well known. Contributing to this ferment, though more rarely identifiable, are the members of the “clerical proletariat” who also migrated to offices: the army of the underemployed, originally trained for the medieval church but not able to attain benefices in it (Hoccleve himself being among the identifiable). Whether by choice or destiny, many well-trained, intelligent men ended up working in the trilingual world of the writing offices, preparing documents using Latin, “law French,” and increasingly English, advising in royal, civic, parliamentary, noble household, or ecclesiastical administration. With their clerical skills, well-educated office employees (to which we can add “king's clerks,” notaries, attorneys, and household secretaries) were often not just copying but drafting, creating or intervening in texts and affairs with skill and agenda.
Year: 2015
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Speculum
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press

Oxford (Book Section)
Title: Oxford
Author: Kathryn Kerby-Fulton
Abstract: This collaborative literary history of Europe, the first yet attempted, unfolds through ten sequences of places linked by trade, travel, topography, language, pilgrimage, alliance, disease, and artistic exchange. The period covered, 1348-1418, provides deep context for understanding current developments in Europe, particularly as initiated by the destruction and disasters of World War II. We begin with the greatest of all European catastrophes: the 1348 bubonic plague, which killed one person in three. Literary cultures helped speed recovery from this unprecedented "ground zero" experience, providing solace, distraction, and new ideals to live by. Questions of where Europe begins and ends, then as now, and disputes over whom truly "belongs" on European soil are explored, if not solved, through writing. A war that would last for a century convulsed much of western Europe. Divisions between Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianities endured, and in 1378 the West divided again between popes of Avignon and Rome. Arabic literary cultures linked Fes and Granada to Jerusalem and Damascus; Persian and Turkish writings began to flourish south and west of Constantinople; Jewish intellectuals treasured Arabic texts as well as Hebrew writings; Armenian colophons proved unique. From 1414-18 western nations gathered to heal their papal schism while also exchanging literary, humanist, and musical ideas; visitors from the East hoped for commitment to wider European peace. Freed from nation state historiography, as bequeathed by the nineteenth century, these 82 chapters freshly assess the free movement of European literature in all its variety, local peculiarity, and regenerative power.
Year: 2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Book Title: Regeneration: a Literary History of Europe: 1348-1418