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From Literacy to Literature – England, 1300–1400 - Oxford Scholarship Online
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From Literacy to Literature: England, 1300–1400

Christopher Cannon


The first lessons we learn in school can stay with us all our lives, but this was nowhere more true than in the last decades of the fourteenth century when grammar-school students were not only learning to read and write, but understanding, for the first time, that their mother tongue, English, was grammatical. The efflorescence of Ricardian poetry was not a direct result of this change, but it was everywhere shaped by it. This book characterizes the close connection between literacy training and literature, as it is manifest in the fine and ambitious poetry by Gower, Langland, and Chaucer at ... More

Keywords: literacy, grammar, fourteenth century, English, literature, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, William Langland, book history, pedagogy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780198779438
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198779438.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Christopher Cannon, author
Professor of English, New York University