"Rites of passage" is a term and concept more used than considered. Here, for the first time, its implications are applied and tested in the field of medieval studies: medievalists from a range of disciplines consider the various theoretical models - folklorist, anthropological, psychoanalytical - that can be used to analyse cultures of transition in the history and literature of fourteenth-century Europe. Ranging over a wide variety of texts, from chronicles to romances, from priests' manuals to courtesy books, from state records to the writings of Chaucer, Gower and Froissart, the contributors identify and analyse medieval attitudes to the process of change in lifecycle, status, gender and power. A substantive introduction by Miri Rubin draws together the ideas and materials discussed in the book to illustrate the relevance and importance of anthropology to the study of medieval culture.
Contributors: JOEL BURDEN, PATRICIA CULLUM, ISABEL DAVIS, JANE GILBERT, SARAH KAY, MARK ORMROD, HELEN PHILLIPS, MIRI RUBIN, SHARON WELLS.
NICOLA F. McDONALD is Lecturer in Medieval Literature, W.M ORMROD Professor of Medieval History, University of York.