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'Textual' and 'contextual continuities': A new approach to the medieval religious lyric in England - A study of lyrics in prose texts.

Kohnen, Felicitas; (2004) 'Textual' and 'contextual continuities': A new approach to the medieval religious lyric in England - A study of lyrics in prose texts. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis suggests a new approach to the medieval religious lyric in England and puts it into practice by a particular selection of lyrics and a specific interpretation of them as textually and contextually continuous. The new approach is based on some essential difficulties in the study of the lyrics: defining the lyrics, comprehending them, especially with regard to their manuscript contexts, and studying them systematically. I respond to these difficulties by re-thinking the boundaries of defining the lyric, thereby allowing for a wide variety of conventional and unconventional definitions, and by aiming at representation rather than comprehension, thereby letting the problems in comprehending the lyrics become characteristics of the lyrics that can be represented. According to these new principles I compile a corpus of lyrics. It aims at variety and responds in particular to the issue of comprehending lyrics in their manuscript contexts: the corpus consists of one hundred Middle English, Anglo-Latin, Anglo-Norman and macaronic religious lyrics which are part of prose texts in their original sources. These are lyrics that have never been compiled before or studied together. My interpretation of them is based on their texts, which includes their versions, and on their prose contexts. I introduce the concept of continuity and apply it to both textual and contextual levels, as it seems that these lyrics can be seen to be lengthened by their versions as well as by their prose texts. Various processes, including repetition and variation, suggest continuity from lyric to lyric (a version may be regarded as a repetition of a lyric and as such as a continuation of that lyric) as well as from lyric to prose and vice versa (the lyric can be seen to continue the prose and be continued by the prose). The critical implications are here a wider understanding of the medieval lyric, awareness of its varied textual nature and its complex relationships with its contexts as well as the possibility of an interpretation that combines both textual and contextual perspectives.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: 'Textual' and 'contextual continuities': A new approach to the medieval religious lyric in England - A study of lyrics in prose texts.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Philosophy, religion and theology; Religious lyrics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104157
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