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The book of the incipit : beginnings in the fourteenth century

Author: D Vance Smith
Publisher: Minneapolis, Minn. : University of Minnesota Press, ©2001.
Series: Medieval cultures, v. 28.
Edition/Format:   Book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"This is the first book to examine a peculiar feature of one of the greatest and most perplexing poems of England's late Middle Ages - the successive attempts of Piers Plowman to begin, and to keep beginning. D. Vance Smith compels us to rethink beginning, as concept and practice, in both medieval and contemporary terms."
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Named Person: William Langland; William Langland; William Langland; William Langland; William Langland
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: D Vance Smith
ISBN: 0816637601 9780816637607 081663761X 9780816637614
OCLC Number: 45493377
Description: xiii, 295 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents: Incipit: A Fourteenth-Century Incipit --
Initium: Incipits and the Intentions of Vernacular Writing --
Exordium: Making Beginnings: Disposition and Inscription --
Thema: The Book That Makes Itself --
Origo: Genealogy: Engenderment and Digression --
Conditora: The Archive of Grammar: Beginning and Documentary Remembrance --
Principium: Beginning Perfection: The Theology of Inception.
Series Title: Medieval cultures, v. 28.
Responsibility: D. Vance Smith.

Abstract:

"This is the first book to examine a peculiar feature of one of the greatest and most perplexing poems of England's late Middle Ages - the successive attempts of Piers Plowman to begin, and to keep beginning. D. Vance Smith compels us to rethink beginning, as concept and practice, in both medieval and contemporary terms."

"The problem of beginning was invested with increasing urgency in the 1300s; it was grappled with in England's courts, churches, universities, workshops, fields, and streets. The Book of the Incipit reveals how Langland's poem exemplifies the widespread interest in beginning in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, an interest that is evident in such divergent fields as physics, time measurement, logic, grammar, rhetoric, theology, and book production."

"Smith offers a theoretical understanding of beginning that departs from the structuralisms of Edward Said, the traditional formalisms of A.D. Nuttall, and most medievalist and modernist treatments of closure. Instead, he views a work's beginning as a figure of the beginning of the work itself, and the inception of language as the problem of beginning to which we continually return."--Jacket.

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