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Home entertainment and the reading of books in the mediaeval household.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Barley hall from visit york

Public storytelling, alongside minstrelsy, dancing, jesting and games, formed an important part of entertainment in noble, knightly and/or merchant households in fourteenth century England. Such storytelling included readings from stories such as William and the Werewolf (William of Palerne).

Like a number of such works, it takes the form of a long poem, broken down into manageable sections…

A mediaeval werewolf with a difference

Monday, 5 October 2020

Werewolf of ossary

The character of the werewolf in the Middle English poem William of Palerne (the romance of William and the Werewolf) is one which, when we meet it, is not what we were expecting. A benign creature whose mission is to help others combat injustice is in remarkable contrast to the notion of the werewolf in our own minds. Why is he so different?

To consider the notion of the werewolf, it is important…

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