Advertisement

Adult Ideologies in Late-Medieval Advisory Writing

  • Anna Caughey
Chapter
Part of the Literary Cultures and Childhoods book series (LICUCH)

Abstract

Anna Caughey considers the possibility of aristocratic boys and young men as a readership group in the fifteenth century through two late medieval versions of a ‘chivalry handbook’, Gilbert Hay’s The Buke of the Ordre of Knychthede (1456), and William Caxton’s The Book of the Ordre of Chyualry (1484). Using Nodelman’s framework of “the hidden adult,” the chapter argues that chivalry handbooks serve as a means of guiding and controlling the behaviour of boys and young men while also building their desire to participate in chivalric activity (whether literally as practicing knights or through purchasing and consuming chivalric literature). This is accomplished by setting up adult men as the keepers of knowledge and prestige—in both texts, a young squire must be rescued from the results of his own inexperience by a wise elderly knight—but also by promoting the desirability of knighthood as a social status: while the texts emphasise the duties and responsibilities of a knight towards women and non-aristocrats, this is framed in a way that makes clear his superiority to members of these groups. The chapter concludes by examining the recurrence of these themes in two additional texts by Hay dealing with the life of Alexander the Great, whose relationship with his tutor Aristotle re-emphasises the idea that adult male prestige and power can only be attained through careful attention and obedience to the advice of one’s elders.

Bibliography

  1. Benson, Larry D., ed. 1987. The Riverside Chaucer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Blake, N.F. 2004. “Caxton, William (1415x24–1492).” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Online ed., edited by David Cannadine, January 2008. Accessed April 8, 2017. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4963.
  3. Boehmer, Elleke, ed. 2004. Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Byles, Alfred T.P., ed. 1926. The Book of the Ordre of Chyualry. London: Early English Text Society Original Series 168.Google Scholar
  5. Cartwright, John., ed. 1986–1990. The Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour. 2 vols. Scottish Text Society 4th Series 16, 18. Aberdeen; Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  6. Cary, George. 1956. The Medieval Alexander. Edited by D.J.A. Ross. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Caughey, Anna. 2010. “‘Als for the Worthynes of þe Romance’: Exploitation of Genre in the Buik of King Alexander the Conqueror.” In The Exploitations of Medieval Romance, ed. Laura Ashe, Ivana Djordjevic, and Judith Weiss, 139–159. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer.Google Scholar
  8. Cooper, Helen. 2004. The English Romance in Time: Transforming Motifs from Geoffrey of Monmouth to the Death of Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crawford, Barbara E. 2004. “Sinclair family (per. 1280–c.1500).” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Online ed., edited by David Cannadine, January 2009. Accessed April 8, 2017. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/54321.
  10. Darton, F.J. Harvey. 1982. Children’s Books in England: Five Centuries of Social Life. 3rd ed. Revised by Brian Alderston. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Edington, C. 2004. “Hay, Sir Gilbert (b. c.1397, d. after 1465).” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Online edition, edited by David Cannadine. Accessed April 8, 2017. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/12722.
  12. Fallows, Noel, trans. 2013. The Book of the Order of Chivalry. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer.Google Scholar
  13. Glenn, Jonathan A., ed. 1993–2005. The Prose Works of Sir Gilbert Hay. 2 vols. Scottish Text Society 4th Series 21, 5th Series 3. Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  14. Hobson, G.D. 1930. “Further Notes on the Binding of the Haye Manuscript.” Publications of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society xiv: 89–97.Google Scholar
  15. Lerer, S. 2008. Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Mapstone, Sally. 1986. “The Advice to Princes Tradition in Scottish Literature 1450–1500.” D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 1999. “The Scotichronicon’s First Readers.” In Church, Chronicle and Learning in Medieval and Early Renaissance Scotland, ed. Barbara E. Crawford, 31–55. Edinburgh: Mercat Press.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2005. “Introduction.” In Older Scots Literature, ed. Sally Mapstone. Edinburgh: John Donald.Google Scholar
  19. Nodelman, Perry. 2008. The Hidden Adult: Defining Children’s Literature. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Norton-Smith, J. 1971. “The Kingis Quair.” Times Literary Supplement, 649, June 4. Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive. Accessed April 19, 2019. http://tinyurl.galegroup.com/tinyurl/9oUSN2.
  21. Orme, Nicholas. 2001. Medieval Children. London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Rosenthal, Michael. 1980. “Knights and Retainers: The Earliest Version of Baden-Powell’s Boy Scout Scheme.” Journal of Contemporary History 15: 603–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. ———. 1986. The Character Factory: Baden-Powell and the Origins of the Boy Scout Movement. London: Collins.Google Scholar
  24. Saunders, Corinne. 1993. The Forest of Medieval Romance: Avernus, Broceliande, Arden. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer.Google Scholar
  25. Shahar, Shulamith. 1990. Childhood in the Middle Ages. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Stevenson, J.H. 1906. “The Fifteenth Century Scots Binding of the Haye Manuscript.” Publications of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society vi: 77–82.Google Scholar
  27. Thrupp, Sylvia. 1962. The Merchant Class of Medieval London 1300–1500. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Caughey
    • 1
  1. 1.Harris Manchester College, University of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations