Title Background

Latin and Affect

Latin and Affect

Some of the Latin in PPl is meant to mystify readers largely ignorant of the language, as in B.15.117-22 (Anima’s quotation of the provocative words of pseudo-Johannes Chrysostomus), but most would have been intelligible to the clerics in WL’s audience, and much (e.g., that of B.18, drawn from the liturgy of Holy Week) would have had deep emotional resonance for non-Latinist church-goers. Latin’s affective power is used in a different fashion by Chaucer, i.e., mostly to show affectedness. Latin was not a neutered non-emotional language in fourteenth-century England; it makes little sense to think of it exclusively as a learned language of the scholarly elite.


The Endless Knot. 29-41.

Cross Reference



Furrow, Melissa M.