New Approaches to English Historical Linguistics

Sincerity in Medieval English Language and Literature

Authors: Williams, Graham

  • Provides the first book-length study of sincerity and its ramifications for the English Middle Ages
  • Brings together social, linguistic, literary and emotional histories to cast new light on medieval thought, texts and communication
  • Offers fresh insights to scholars of historical linguistics, historical pragmatics, medieval literature, linguistic anthropology and the history of emotions
  • Examines how the functions of affective language in the history of English vary according to their cultural-ideological context
  • Demonstrates how Christianization as a process of acculturation relates to the study of language history, especially pragmatics and stylistics
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eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54069-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54068-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book traces the development of the ideal of sincerity from its origins in Anglo-Saxon monasteries to its eventual currency in fifteenth-century familiar letters. Beginning by positioning sincerity as an ideology at the intersection of historical pragmatics and the history of emotions, the author demonstrates how changes in the relationship between outward expression and inward emotions changed English language and literature. While the early chapters reveal that the notion of sincerity was a Christian intervention previously absent from Germanic culture, the latter part of the book provides more focused studies of contrition and love. In doing so, the author argues that under the rubric of courtesy these idealized emotions influenced English in terms of its everyday pragmatics and literary style. This fascinating volume will be of broad interest to scholars of medieval language, literature and culture.

About the authors

Graham Williams is Senior Lecturer in the History of English at the University of Sheffield, UK. 

Reviews

“In this engrossing new study, Graham Williams adroitly traces the history of the concept of sincerity across Old and Middle English literature. Combining a well-grounded expertise in linguistics and pragmatics with a sensitive  capacity for literary close reading, Williams persuasively shows how in key domains of human experience medieval people learned how to feel, and then how to express their feelings – of contrition, of love – aligning their inward dispositions with socially-sanctioned emotional performance. Taking a new and highly productive look at this vital aspect of medieval feeling, Williams’ book deserves the attention of all scholars of emotion.” (Carolyne Larrington, Professor of Medieval European Literature, University of Oxford, UK)

“Weaving together linguistic, emotional, social and literary histories in magisterial fashion, Williams traces the English cultural-ideological basis of sincerity, showing how it developed in the communicative contexts of Christian devotion but came to influence more general interactional contexts, which in turn shaped the notion of sincerity itself. Original, erudite and insightful, the book is a landmark that deserves to be read.” (Jonathan Culpeper, Professor of English Language and Linguistics, Lancaster University, UK)


Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Introduction: Sincerity, Language Change and Medieval Literature

    Williams, Graham

    Pages 1-38

  • Before Sincerity: Pagan Beliefs of Language and Emotionemotion

    Williams, Graham

    Pages 39-74

  • God Who Knows the Heart: The Christianization of Language and Emotion

    Williams, Graham

    Pages 75-118

  • Sincerity in Contrition: From Confessions to Apologies

    Williams, Graham

    Pages 119-162

  • Sincerity in Love: From caritas to affectio maritalis

    Williams, Graham

    Pages 163-221

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54069-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-54068-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Sincerity in Medieval English Language and Literature
Authors
Series Title
New Approaches to English Historical Linguistics
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-54069-0
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-54069-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-54068-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 256
Topics