Overview:"This book recovers places in the mental mapping of medieval and Renaissance writers, from Chaucer to Aphra Behn. Beginning with Calais, peopled by the English from 1347 to 1558, and ending with Surinam, traded away for Manhattan in 1667, this well-illustrated book recreates the distinctive cultural life of a range of locations: from Flanders, which led the world in technological innovation; to Somerset, which provided a fitting home for Dante; to the Canaries (the Fortunate Islands), which formed the limits of western dreaming." The book's exploration of premodern places features vignettes, such as an English merchant learning love songs in Calais, coupled with insights into broader economic narratives of political, technological, religious, and economic change. In particular, it provides long genealogies of blackness and whiteness, race and slavery, in the premodern world.
This book recovers places appearing in the mental mapping of medieval and Renaissance writers, from Chaucer to Aphra Behn.
- A highly original work, which recovers the places that figure powerfully in premodern imagining.
- Recreates places that appear in the works of Langland, Chaucer, Dante, Petrarch, Spenser, Shakespeare, Aphra Behn, and many others.
- Begins with Calais – peopled by the English from 1347 to 1558 and ends with Surinam – traded for Manhattan by the English in 1667.
- Other particular locations discussed include Flanders, Somerset, Genoa, and the Fortunate Islands (Canary Islands).
- Includes fascinating anecdotes, such as the story of an English merchant learning love songs in Calais.
- Provides insights into major historical narratives, such as race and slavery in Renaissance Europe.
- Crosses the traditional divide between the medieval and Renaissance periods.
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Title: Premodern Places
Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
Date Published: August 2004
Table of Contents:
List of illustrations.
1. At Calais Gate.
2. In Flaunders.
3. Dante in Somerset.
5. Canaries (The Fortunate Islands).
From the Publisher
“David Wallace’s knowledge of European medieval literature is unequalled. His book is a cornucopia of illuminating details, insights and connections that are simply not to be found anywhere else.” Terry Jones
“My Cinderella prize for the year’s most underrated book goes to David Wallace, whose Premodern Places mixes romance and bizarrerie in a study of medieval and Renaissance ideas about geography and locality.” Jonathan Keates, The Spectator 'Book of the Year' feature, 2004
“This is one of the sharpest and most imaginative books of literary criticism I've read in many years.” Peter Hulme, University of Essex
“Offering illuminating genealogies for a range of authors and literary texts, Premodern Places radically questions many assumptions about historical as well as geographic boundaries. … this book asks both premodernists and postcolonialists to rethink their disciplines and make urgent connections across space and time.” Ania Loomba, University of Pennsylvania
“… a most brilliant representative of Postcolonial Medieval Studies.” José Rabasa, University of California
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