French and English in the Preaching Literature of Nicole Bozon
Laurie Postlewate, Barnard College
While the œuvre of Nicole Bozon, an English Franciscan of the early fourteenth century, covers a wide range of forms (saints’ lives, allegorical poetry, exempla, verse proverbs and sermons) the individual works are unified in tone and purpose: all incorporate the voice of a preacher addressing directly an audience to whom they offer moral guidance. The choice of French in literary works so closely linked to the oral performance of the sermon (and which occasionally also use English), raises the double issue of the identity of Bozon’s audience and the way French was received and used in England in the late Anglo-Norman period. We will discuss these two issues with reference to Bozon’s works and more generally to the presence and mission of the Franciscans in England.
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