For the last three decades or so, literary studies, especially those dealing with premodern texts, have been dominated by the New Historicist paradigm. This book is a collection of essays explores medieval and early modern Troilus-texts from Chaucer to Shakespeare. The contributions show how medieval and early modern fictions of Troy use love and other emotions as a means of approaching the problem of tradition. The book argues that by emphasizing Troilus's and Cressida's hopes and fears, Shakespeare sets in motion a triangle of narrative, emotion and temporality. It is a spectacle of which tells something about the play but also about the relation between anticipatory emotion and temporality. The sense of multiple literary futures is shaped by Shakespeare's Chaucer, and in particular by Troilus and Criseyde. The book argues that the play's attempted violence upon a prototypical form of historical time is in part an attack on the literary narratives. Criseyde's beauty is described many times. The characters' predilection for sententiousness unfolds gradually. Through Criseyde, Chaucer's Poet displaces authorial humility as arrogance. The Troilus and Criseyde/Cressida saga begins with Boccaccio, who isolates and expands the love affair between Troiolo and Criseida to vent his sexual frustration. The poem appears to be linking an awareness of history and its continuing influence and impact on the present to hermeneutical acts conspicuously gendered female. The main late medieval Troy tradition does two things: it represents ferocious military combat, and also practises ferocious literary combat against other, competing traditions of Troy.
, dramatic and most influential examples of a phenomenon we call ‘portal medievalism’: fictions that foreground the mode of entry into (or out of) medieval space and time. Where medievalist fantasies such as The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones present worlds whose medievalist mise-en-scène is utterly self-contained, portal medievalism is structured more literally around the transition from one
concerning innumerable saints’ bodies? 18 These doubts reached deep into medieval fictions: in both Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron , which expressed grave misgivings about the provenance of relics; and Geoffrey Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Tale , in which the relic trade is characterised as nothing more than a bad confidence trick practised by corrupt
realism and irreverence I have already noted that claims of authenticity are frequently made about recent films depicting the medieval past, and that such films often adopt a dirty realist style. The truth claims of realist discourse are repeatedly challenged, however, by the status of medieval fictions on the one hand and by the demands of entertainment on the other. Thus the often highly
between warring groups: these acts bring person, object and ethical entanglement close together. As Strathern comments of gift economies: ‘things and people assume the social form of persons. They thus circulate as gifts, for the circulation creates relationships of a specific type, namely a qualitative relationship between the parties to the exchange. This makes them reciprocally dependent upon one another.’ 56 Both Spearing's warnings against an ironized narrator and consistent characters in medieval fiction, and
emasculating: that is, symbolically so, and frequently socially as well. Peggy McCracken has observed that the general pattern of representations of blood in medieval (French) romance valorises men’s bloodshed as a sign of their moral, mental and physical strength, whereas women’s blood is perceived as an indication of their inherent infirmity. 106 While ‘men bleed prominently in medieval fiction to prove valor, to avenge unjust wrongs, and to impose justice’, all female blood in medieval culture is conceptually aligned with menstrual