224 pages | 6 x 9 | 2 illus
Cloth 1996 | ISBN 9780812233322 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512805529 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume
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Fictions of Advice historicizes the late medieval mirrors (or handbooks) for princes to reveal how the ambiguities and contradictions characteristic of the genre are responses to—as well as attempts to manage—the risks implicit in advising a king.
Often thought of as moralizing advice unable to engage political conflicts, the mirrors for princes have been taken for dull and conventionalized testimonies to the medieval taste for platitude. Judith Ferster maintains that advice was at the center of one of the important political debates in the late Middle Ages: how to constrain the king and allow for his subjects' participation. Fictions of Advice rereads the English mirrors for princes to show how their moralizing was often highly topical and even subversive. Although overtly deferential to the rulers they address, the mirrors' authors were surprisingly capable of criticism and opposition.
In putting the texts back into their historical contexts, Ferster reveals the vital cultural and political function they fulfilled in their societies.
Judith Ferster is Professor Emerita of English at North Carolina State University.