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Society, allegory and gender
Author: S. H. Rigby

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

heterodox voice, one which in some sense questions or challenges the official world-view of his age and which reveals, as perhaps does all ‘authentic’ art, the processes by which ideology attempts to pass itself off as the expression of eternal truths or as self-evident common sense. 1 This second approach tends to be adopted only by those who approve of such questioning (section iii). This chapter

in Chaucer in context
Louise Amoore

potentially becomes characterised by contestation among agents, and understandings of such contests may open up spaces for alternative structures and practices. Of course, to identify the claims of the new IPE scholars is not to say that the potential represented by each claim has been fulfilled. Is the new IPE successful in breaking open the linear relationship between politics and economics conceived in orthodox IPE? How ‘open’ is the new IPE to diverse issue areas and heterodox voices? Does it simply replace ‘old’ orthodoxies with a new hierarchy of issues and questions

in Globalisation contested