Medieval Conduct Literature: An Anthology of Vernacular Guides to Behaviour for Youths, with English Translations
Edited by Mark D. Johnston
University of Toronto Press, 2009
Conduct literature is a term used to identify writings that address how one should ‘conduct’ oneself in social situations. In the medieval period conduct literature was essential reading for nearly all literate children and adolescents to educate them in the expected social behaviours for their culture, gender, and status. Using a comparative approach, this anthology pairs together pieces of male-directed and female-directed medieval conduct literature, many being translated into English for the first time, to present an illuminating picture of medieval gender norms, parenting, literary style, and pedagogy.
Containing texts written in six vernacular languages, each section is also accompanied by textual notes, an introduction, and an English translation. A fascinating examination of a diverse range of regions and cultures, Medieval Conduct Literature is a remarkable window into medieval life, customs, behaviour, and social expectations.