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The Hands of the Tongue
Essays on Deviant Speech

Edited by Edwin D Craun

The Hands of the Tongue
Hardback, 232 pages £23.50
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781580441148
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Series: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Culture, Studies in Medieval Culture

What destructive powers did the tongue and its speech have for medievals? It could damn humans through blasphemy. It could occlude penitential knowledge of the self, especially of the misdirected will, by generating excuses for what the medieval clergy regarded as sin. It could disrupt monastic disciplines of meditation or distract parishioners during sermons. It could turn good repute to ill, destroying a woman's chances for marriage, a man's masculine self, a merchant's credit, or a defendant's status in a court of law. However, speech could maintain or restore credit, status, and masculinity, and it could also preserve honor in knights or women, in their particular roles as faithful feudal wives. Many of the essays in The Hands of the Tongue: Essays on Deviant Speech bridge disciplines, with social historians adducing evidence from lyrics, narrative poetry, and plays, or literary historians working from moral theology and biblical exegesis. Certainly the whole set of essays works to remind medievalists that any aspects of medieval culture worth studying must be explored collectively. Together the contributors present a clear picture of what we know about deviant speech in medieval culture, offering a critical perspective on the state of the scholarship.

Acknowledgments Introduction by Edwin D. Craun Sins of the Tongue The Tongue Is a Fire: The Discipline of Silence in Early Medieval Monasticism (400-1100) by Scott G. Bruce Allas, allas! That evere love was synne: Excuses for Sin and the Wife of Bath's Stars by Edwin D. Craun Janglynge in cherche: Gossip and the Exemplum by Susan E. Phillips Lancelot as Casuist by Peter R. Schroeder Punishing Deviant Speech Tongue, you lied: The Role of the Tongue in Rituals of Public Penance in Late Medieval Scotland by Elizabeth Ewan From Urban Myth to Didactic Image: The Warning to Swearers by Miriam Gill Deviant Speech and Gender Men's Voices in Late Medieval England by Sandy Bardsley Husbands and Priests: Masculinity, Sexuality, and Defamation in Late Medieval England by Derek Neal Contributors Index

Edwin D. Craun is professor emeritus of English at Washington and Lee University.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 232 pages

BIC Code:
 Medieval Institute Publications


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Edwin D Craun

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Studies in Medieval Culture
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Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Culture
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