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Performing passion in Chaucer and Shakespeare
Andreas Mahler

This chapter discusses Geoffrey Chaucer's fictionalizing treatment of the different concepts of love in his Trojan romance of Troilus and Criseyde as a kind of counterdiscursive 'literarization'. Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde is one of the first texts in English that is extensively deliberating on the subject of love in the fictionalized 'novelistic' form of romance. The chapter looks at William Shakespeare's use of the matière de Troie as a highly allusive satirical Inns of Court play, radically extending the scope of 'love' to all its levels. In contrast to Chaucer's narrative 'love poem', Shakespeare's theatrical play on Troilus and Cressida has always radically puzzled literary scholars. Shakespeare 'literally'/'literarily' manages to perform the passions of love without committing himself to the one variety that temporarily looks as if it were, contingently, the right one.

in Love, history and emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare