Bones and bays
On with The Knight’s Tale
in Transporting Chaucer
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Chapter Five discusses the intratemporal relationship of The Knight’s Tale to Two Noble Kinsmen, Davenant’s The Rivals, Lydgate’s The Siege of Thebes, and Dryden’s Palamon and Arcite. Two Noble Kinsmen incorporates the holiday world of The Miller’s Tale back into The Knight’s where it is only imperfectly contained. Davenant can be seen to swerve in and out of Fletcher and Shakespeare and Lydgate and Chaucer to tell the story of legitimate royal succession. His choice of Lydgatean names, however, cues the memory of noble annihilation and revolution yet to come. Only by diverting the course of Theban history and the end of The Knight’s Tale can Davenant stave off complete disaster but for him and for all the other authors (even including his ‘successor’ Dryden), political and literary lineage and are no more than staged manoeuvres. Poetic and royal lines of succession lack distinction.


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