Medieval literary voices

Embodiment, materiality and performance

Edited by Louise D'Arcens and Sif Ríkharðsdóttir

Medieval literary voices


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4949-7
  • Pages: 312
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: July 2022
  • BIC Category: Literary studies: ancient & classical, POETRY / Medieval, HISTORY / Medieval, LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, Middle English, Humanities / Medieval history, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval, Literature, Medieval Literature
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture


Voice is a fleeting physical phenomenon that leaves behind traces of its existence. Medieval literary voices offers a wide-reaching approach to the concept of literary voices, both the vanished authorial ones and the implicit textual ones. Its impressive lineup deepens our understanding of how literary voices evoke the elusive voices lurking beyond the text, capturing the absent authorial voice, the traces of scribal voices and the soundscape of the uttered text. It explores multiple dimensions of medieval voice and vocalisations, and the interactions between literary voices and their authorial, scribal and socio-political settings. It contends that through the theorizing of literary voices we can begin to understand the ways in which medieval voices mediate or proclaim an embodied selfhood or material presence, how they dictate or contest moral conventions, and how they create and sustain narrative soundscapes.


Introduction - Louise D'Arcens and Sif Rikhardsdottir
1 Articulate voices - Ruth Evans

Part I: Narrative embodiment and voicing
2 Voice of authority: Free indirect discourse in Chaucer's General Prologue - Helen Fulton
3 Speaking in person - Fiona Somerset

Part II: Authoritative, ethical and orthodox voices
4 The body speaks in The Franklin's Tale - Mishtooni Bose
5 The sensology of the moral conscience: William Peraldus's ethical voices - Richard Newhauser
6 Langland parrhesiastes - Ian Cornelius

Part III: Materiality and textual voices
7 Margery Kempe, the leprous woman and the voice of St Paul - Lawrence Warner
8 Listening for the scribe: punctuation and the voicing of late medieval devotional literature - Sarah Noonan
9 Parrot poet: Humphrey Newton and Bodleian Library, MS Lat. Misc. c. 66 - Wendy Scase

Part IV: Performative voices and medieval aurality
10 Voice, materiality and history in St Erkenwald and Egils saga Skallagrímssonar - Sif Ríkharðsdóttir
11 Embodying the Mandevillean voice - Sarah Salih
12 Reconstructing Christine de Pizan's musical voice in the twenty-first century - Louise D'Arcens

Afterword: medieval voice: a tribute to David Lawton - John M. Ganim



Louise D'Arcens is Professor of English and Deputy Dean of Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Arts at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Sif Rikhardsdottir is Chair and Professor of Comparative Literature and Head of the Institute for Research in Literature and the Visual Arts at the University of Iceland

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