IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 304: It's the Little Things that Count: Auctorial Technique and Social Implications in Middle English

Monday 9 July 2007, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Sarah James, Department of English, University of Kent, Canterbury
Paper 304-a'Tags' in Middle English Alliterative Verse: Their Relation to Alliteration and Metre
(Language: English)
Yasuyo Moriya, Department of English, International Christian University, Tokyo
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 304-bRhyme and Love in the Middle English Secular Lyric
(Language: English)
Amanda Holton, School of English & American Literature, University of Reading
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 304-cWhat Made Each Writer Write Differently in the Cely Letters?: As a Means of Communication from Distant Cities
(Language: English)
Osamu Ohara, Department of English, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo
Index terms: Computing in Medieval Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Manuscripts and Palaeography

Paper a: Oakden (1935) notes the frequent use of ‘tags’ in Middle English alliterative verse. Among the seven set phrases he lists as those that commonly appear in the second half-line. The expression, ‘as the book says’ and similar expressions are special because these phrases occupy the entire half-line. This paper examines various cases in which these expressions are used in Middle English alliterative verse and considers their relation to alliteration. Some poets replace ‘book’ and ‘says’ with other lexical items in accordance with alliteration, whereas others do not seem to mind, which results in lines that are less alliterative.
Paper b: This paper shows how rhyme encodes ideas about love in the Middle English courtly lyric. It considers whether particular clusters of rhyming words dominate love poems, or whether key rhyme-words generate distinctively different clusters in different poems. Where there are differences, it traces whether these are related to theme or mood, author or date. It deals with poems from the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with some reference to early sixteenth-century lyrics, and considers whether there are distinct changes in rhymes over those centuries, and whether those changes (or lack of them) reflect the stability or instability of the language and conventions of love over time.
Paper c: Letters were probably the sole means of communication from the people who lived and worked in distant cities in the medieval times. Though they had their common styles, each writer showed his distinctive way of writing partly influenced by the language used in the place, the relationship between the writer and the recipient, etc. In this historical sociolinguistic study of the Cely Letters of the late 15th century, I focus on the usages of auxiliaries especially in the first and second persons and try to show what are different and how they are different.