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Society, allegory and gender
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This book on Geoffrey Chaucer explores the relationship between Chaucer's poetry and the change and conflict characteristic of his day and the sorts of literary and non-literary conventions that were at his disposal for making sense of the society around him. Critics who consider the social meaning of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales fall into two main schools: those who present his social thought as an expression of the dominant spirit or ideology of his day and those who see Chaucer as possessing a more heterodox voice. Many of the present generation of Chaucer critics have been trained either as 'Robertsonians' or as 'Donaldsonians'. For D. W. Robertson, even those medieval poems which do not explicitly address religious issues were frequently intended to promote the Augustinian doctrine of charity beneath a pleasing surface; for E. Talbot Donaldson, there are 'no such poems in Middle English'. The book sets out the basics of the Augustinian doctrine of charity and of medieval allegorical theory and examines 'patristic' interpretations of Chaucer's work, particularly of the 'Nun's Priest Tale'. It looks at the humanist alternative to the patristic method and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the patristic approach. The book also outlines some of the major medieval discourses about sexual difference which inform Chaucer's depiction of women, in particular, the tendency of medieval writers to polarise their views of women, condemning them to the pit or elevating them to the pedestal.

S. H. Rigby

, Chaucer takes our sinfulness for granted and is more interested in ‘the marvellous variety of life in a world which, however sinful, is the only world we’ve got’. For Robertson, even those medieval poems which do not explicitly address religious issues were frequently intended to promote the Augustinian doctrine of charity beneath a pleasing surface; for Donaldson, there are ‘no such poems in Middle

in Chaucer in context
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Daniel C. Remein

to detect and explore the non-representational capacities and orientations of medieval poems without immediately reinscribing them within a representational teleology, we are able to perceive them at work in an energetic world. In understanding medieval poems as active in this way, we also have that much more of a chance of doing what I believe Brodeur wanted to do for Beowulf in constructing a fragile framework for the study and appreciation of its aesthetics at mid-century: that is, to translate the poem—in the sense of allowing it to recrystallize—in the

in The heat of Beowulf
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Translative comparative poetics
Daniel C. Remein

within its own post-war intellectual geologies and literary histories—as a comparative horizon for the Old English poem will suggest the usefulness of cultivating a greater critical capacity to detect, comprehend, and explore the non-representational capacities and orientations of medieval poems without immediately re-inscribing them within a representational teleology. As a return to aesthetics that cannot be reduced to formalism, a naive account of a Kantian exhibition of aesthetic ideas, or a transhistorical sensualism, this effort will remain tied to language

in The heat of Beowulf
Louise D’Arcens

in the darkest imaginable fashion, reminding of a time dominated by war and epidemics … the time of torture, gallows, and François Villon’s poetry’. 35 Other late medieval poems singled out by the band reinforce this bleak vision of the Middle Ages. Folkfuck Folie bases one song on the devil’s speech about the superiority of the

in Medieval literary voices
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Temporal dissonance and narrative voice
Caitlin Flynn

off music, language became self-sufficient as the vehicle of verse, and memory assumed the function of aesthetic distance which had been earlier accorded to music. 19 Douglas’s attention to harmony and cosmology reflects a nuanced and humanist-complected presentation of music not commonly found in other medieval poems, especially dream visions. The extreme to which he pushes this temporal and affective antinomy is deeply grotesque. More generally, Douglas’s engagement with sound and

in The narrative grotesque in medieval Scottish poetry
Daniel C. Remein

lyric and less human . My contention here is not that Beowulf is somehow indistinguishable from these mid-century poetics or would somehow, ahistorically, comprehend itself as the kind of serial poem that emerges in Blaser's and Spicer's poetry. But by thus thinking comparatively with the serial poem, we learn something about the always partial and so necessarily serial and aleatorily iterative entanglements of poetry and not-poetry in Beowulf. We learn that an early medieval poem could enact a narrative poetics in such a way to contest

in The heat of Beowulf
Daniel C. Remein

stylistic variation. 45 The scholastic philosophy most famous for theorizing intentio belongs to a moment after Beowulf, but the debt of modern(ist) phenomenology to that term (especially through Husserl's engagement with scholasticism via his teacher, Franz Brentano) renders it useful in imagining the activity of a medieval poem in terms of perceptual experience. 46 As they develop across the Middle Ages, terms for such aesthetic

in The heat of Beowulf
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Cary Howie

way, with you. The chapter’s title modernizes, as a kind of choreography of stillness, a term the medieval poem uses to express the limits of arithmetic when coping with who we are, alone, together. Chapters 7 and 8 , “Lyric medievalism” and “Lyric theology,” are two sides of the same coin, or, perhaps, two coins of the same side, as they each read closely a handful of modern lyric poems devoted, in various ways, to medieval objects and experiences. “Lyric medievalism” shows how B. H. Fairchild, Lynda Hull and Rynn Williams evoke the Middle Ages as a way of

in Transfiguring medievalism
Peter Barry

italics again] Here, the destined encounter with wilderness as the locale of revelation is rather like that in the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Having encountered the Green Knight in the crowded festive hall at Christmas time, Gawain must go out into the wilderness a year later in search of the man of the man he beheaded (who immediately picked up his head and left the hall), and there receive the return blow. Like Gawain, but in hired car, rather than on horseback, Hallett sets out for the foothills: The foothills of Cadair Idris are beautiful beyond

in Extending ecocriticism