-deprecating authorial persona and also happened to be a native speaker of MiddleEnglish enhances the humble and comic connotations of Spenser’s antiquated diction. 68 On the Chaucerian model, moreover, Spenser’s narrator is capable of veering into crudely unsophisticated territory, with heavy-handed alliteration (Malbecco is a ‘cancred crabbed Carle’; III.ix.3.5); jaunty, minstrel-like addresses to the reader (‘Then listen Lordings, if ye list to weet’; III.ix.3.1); and crude monosyllables such as ‘dugs’ and ‘rompe’. 69 Anglo-Saxon and dialect vocabulary is often accentuated when
missed the joke of ‘Sir Thopas’ or sought to reform it. J. A. Burrow proposes that Spenser ignored the joke in order to draw seriously on Sir Thopas’s association with chastity; ‘“ Sir Thopas” in the Sixteenth Century ’, in MiddleEnglish Studies Presented to Norman Davis , ed. Douglas Gray and E. G. Stanley ( Oxford : Clarendon Press , 1983 ), pp. 69 – 91 (p. 87 ). See also Anne Higgins , ‘ Spenser Reading Chaucer: Another Look at the Faerie Queene Allusions ’, JEGP , 89 ( 1990 ), 17 – 36 (pp. 24 – 7 ); and, to a lesser extent, Quilligan
, Shakespeare and the Middle Ages: An Inaugural Lecture Delivered at the University of Cambridge, April 2005 ( Cambridge : Cambridge University Press , 2006 ), p. 11 .
65 Defence , p. 44.
66 On burlesque responses to the ‘solemn piety of the saintly legends and devout tales’ see George H. McKnight , MiddleEnglish Humorous Tales in Verse ( New York : AMS Press , 1972  ), p. xi.
67 Foxe famously referred to Chaucer as ‘a right Wicleuian’; John Foxe, The Unabridged Acts and Monuments Online (Sheffield: Digital Humanities Institute, 2011), 1583 edn, Book
mirrors Puttenham’s characterization of the form of The Canterbury Tales as ‘but riding rhyme, nevertheless very well becoming the matter of that pleasant pilgrimage in which every man’s part is played with much decency’. 56 Elizabethan scansion of Chaucer – hampered by a lack of awareness of the likely sounding of the terminal -e in MiddleEnglish – was problematic. At one level, the Mother Hubberd frame deploys poetic modesty to disguise satiric intent (‘how could anyone be upset by such inconsequentialities?’). At another, it is seriously invested in a notion of
anti-clericalism, games of incompleteness and imitation, and women suffering
from male desire. In short, in significant respects, he became more
In recent decades, scholarly work on
the popular romance in MiddleEnglish has been plentiful and rich, alongside
continued interest in the more ‘courtly’ works associated with major
canonical authors. 6 This
scholarship has frequently found it necessary to establish a way or ways by
which the category of romance could be
Reading, space and intimacy in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde
Andrew James Johnston
meant to be the
Roman de Thèbes – in fact, there is not a
single piece of textual evidence to support this claim. One of the most
important arguments in favour of the traditional reading is based on the
semantics of the MiddleEnglish romaunce , usually interpreted as
‘courtly romance’ in the context of Troilus and
Criseyde. 8 This,
however, is a term with an
interpretive aids and without extensive commentary on the difficulty of
their language. Indeed, although readers might comment on the increasingly
obvious antiquity of these works, the first printed glossary to a MiddleEnglish text did not appear until 1561. 8 MiddleEnglish texts were still serving as the basis for
adaptations like Pericles and Two Noble Kinsmen at the turn of
the seventeenth century, and notes in surviving copies of MiddleEnglish
texts suggest that these books were read and understood by a wide array of
means ‘a place or medium in
which something is originated ... a point of origin and growth’
and is derived from Latin mater for ‘breeding female’
and the late MiddleEnglish word for ‘womb’. As a unit of
thought a cliché is the fons et origo for all that is shaped into
existence thereafter by using it. We live by clichés, and often we die
by them, in the sense that they can reconcile us to the
’ see Elizabeth Mazzola, The Pathology of the English Renaissance: Sacred Remains and Holy Ghosts (Leiden: Brill, 1998), p. 39.
17 See Rosalie Vermette, ‘Terrae Incantatae: The Symbolic Geography of Twelfth-Century Arthurian Romance’, in Geography and Literature: A Meeting of the Disciplines , ed. William E. Mallory and Paul Simpson-Housley (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1987), pp. 145–60.
18 See Stevens, Medieval Romance , p. 277. See also Carol Fewster, Traditionality and Genre in MiddleEnglish Romance (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1987).
reader of Spenser who knows Chaucer and MiddleEnglish well, the continually
met Chaucerian words, forms, and turns of speech are a constant indication
of an imagination saturated with Chaucer’s poetry’. 36 The triumvirate of Chaucer, Spenser and Milton
was expanded to a quartet by the addition of T.S. Eliot in Clare Kinney’s
1992 monograph, Strategies of Poetic Narrative . Kinney’s study, which
uses a narratological approach, focuses on the same three long poems as
Maresca, but also incorporates The Waste Land . She elegantly