Reading and war in fifteenth-century England, from Lydgate to Malory

Main Author: Nall Catherine.
Corporate Author: JSTOR books.
Format: Online Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge : D.S. Brewer, c2012.
Online Access: Online version
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Review by Choice Review

Offering an impressively researched survey of the literature about war and its readership in 15th-century England, this volume establishes a strong foundation for future studies. In the first two chapters, Nall (Univ. of London, UK) tracks the reception, ownership, and reading of English translations of Vegetius's De re militari (c. 383-450), Alain Chartier's Quadrilogue Invectif (1422), and English chivalric treatises by William Worcester, paying special attention to the rising interest in military literature when the English campaign in France was understood to be failing. In the three remaining chapters, the author examines the representation of Henrician war in John Lydgate's poetry, the sacralization of battle in Knyghthode and Bataile, and how contemporary concerns about the dangers of peace affected Malory's disassociation of Arthur's Roman campaign with his downfall in Le Morte d'Arthur. The study's special strength stems from the extraordinary bibliographic and archival work it evidences. Yet, though the book convincingly establishes the complexity and variety of 15th-century war literature, it leaves much interpretive work to be done. Providing a fresh look at the literature of a still relatively neglected period, the book will be of most interest to those working both on military history and 15th-century literature. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. S. N. Gayk Indiana University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.