The Creation of Lancastrian England: Literature Language and Politics in Late Medieval England, Language and Politics in Late Medieval England
This book’s exploration of early Lancastrian literature and political discourse features sustained discussion of Richard the Redeless and Mum and the Sothsegger. The former exemplifies the phenomenon whereby post hoc chroniclers of Richard’s reign applied the monarch’s faults to those around him (pp. 24–26), and draws upon the tradition of satirizing excessive fashions chosen by ambitious courtiers, amplifying the topos by associating it with the biblical account of buffeters and scourgers of Christ (pp. 33–40). The narrator of Mum, via his use of the quest motif for a ‘truthteller’, expresses concern about the composition of the Lancastrian royal household. ‘In Mum and the Sothesegger, as in contemporary chronicles and parliamentary petitions, household narratives, particularly the entries and exits of positive and negative figures, are used to criticize or reform certain aspects of Henry’s own government’, and ‘household narratives are played out within the head of every political subject’ (p. 54).