In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle reviews Stephen Coote’s English Literature of the Middle Ages
Stephen Coote’s English Literature of the Middle Ages (Pelican) was published thirty years ago, in 1988. It’s taken me until this week to read it, but it’s one of the most illuminating and important introductions to medieval English literature you could hope to find. Clear, accessible, and endlessly informative, Coote’s book covers everything from Beowulf to the Morte Darthur, taking in alliterative and rhyming verse, courtly dream-visions and Arthurian narratives, Anglo-Saxon kennings and Middle English prose.
It took a train journey to Doncaster to get me reading Coote’s book, which I have been meaning to read for a while now.