The essays in this collection celebrate both the extraordinary scholarly achievements and the intellectual inspiration that constitute Jocelyn Wogan-Browne's decades-long contribution to the study of what she has recently called ‘the sheer variety of registers and purposes served by French in Britain and medieval England’. By the concomitant variety of their approaches, the breadth and depth of their insights, and their individual and collective intent to expand the frontiers of our knowledge and understanding, the authors who have collaborated in this tribute provide an appropriate pendant to, and extension of, Jocelyn's own far-reaching and widely influential labors in this vineyard which, due to her industrious cultivation and to theirs, flourishes today as never before.
It is beyond the scope of this Afterword to attempt a summary of Jocelyn Wogan-Browne's accomplishments in expanding our knowledge and clarifying our understanding of the French of England (or Anglo-Norman, as it was almost universally called, pre-JWB), but a few stand out. One is certainly to have vigorously aligned the study of the French of England with current scholarly understanding that, as she herself put it, ‘moves away from the teleological model of language as a unitary entry bound into the development of the nation state’ and thus ‘moves us well beyond the notoriously contemptuous (and influential) treatment given insular French by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century scholars of French literature and makes it possible to dispense with the paradigm of English French as a unitary, degenerate, or static “mother-tongue” remnant’. By demonstrating – through new research and skeptical scrutiny of long-established generalizations about the ‘rise’ of English resulting in the ‘decline’ of French – some of the myriad ways in which Latin, French and English cohabited and interacted within the private, commercial and institutional spheres of later medieval English civilization, her work brings us to the point where ‘we can see instead a set of living registers of polyglot users’.