A Blessed Shore (Hardback)
England and Bohemia from Chaucer to Shakespeare
This fascinating study looks at relations between England and Bohemia in the Late Middle Ages, both in an empirical sense and going beyond this to the formation of Bohemia as an idea. The starting point of the study is the marriage of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia, and her considerable cultural and religious influence in Britain. Her devotion to the virgin Mary was noteworthy, as was her patronage of the arts, in particular in the vernacular - Chaucer's Legend of Good Women is dedicated to her. Her commissioning of works of piety in Czech gave encouragement to the Lollards and their demand for vernacular translations of the bible and the influence of Wyclif in Bohemia and on Jan Hus was correspondingly large. It was to Bohemia that many prominent Lollards fled to escape persectution, and this all contributed to the later idea of Bohemia as an exotic safehaven, as exemplified by Antigonus' flight there in Shakespeare's Winter's Tale.