[Work: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, c. late 1300s]
Puppetry and the “Popet:”

Fiction, Reality, and Empathy in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

 

Introduction:

Two weeks ago the topic of your Tuesday Tome was a piece of later medieval writing under the title of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I argued that aspects of Sir Gawain‘s structure (and treatment of character placement) serve as a window into the complex and proto-modern gender relations of the medieval period, and so people ought not, as seems rather common to me, be so quick to dismiss that period as some kind of primitive dark era of history.

Prior to that, I have also written on the insight into cyclical violence between factions that can be gained by reading Beowulf. Today I would like to continue this trend of showcasing the vitally relevant and fascinating discussions and lessons that can be gleaned from works of medieval literature by taking a look at what just one segment of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury TalesThe Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer reveals about Chaucer’s larger project of subjectification[1] across disparate social strata.

Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrims by William Blake - The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims by William Blake

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[Work: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, c. late 1300s]
Puppetry and the “Popet:”

Fiction, Reality, and Empathy in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

was last modified: April 28th, 2017 by Daniel Podgorski

[Work: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, (Pearl Poet), c. late 1300s]
The Green Knight’s Wife:

Space and Gender Relations in the Chivalric Romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

 

Introduction:

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Illustration - Medieval, feminism, space, powerThe Tuesday Tome series has housed some light recommendations as well as some in-depth readings of classics; this article is one of the latter, and the work in question is very classic indeed: the late-medieval verse work Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. One of my many literary interests is how one can gain insight into an often-misunderstood and often-stereotyped era or group through literature, and there are few eras about which there are more misconceptions and simplifications than the middle ages.

In the study of literature, over the past hundred and fifty years or so, there has been growing emphasis on the significance of setting, and particularly on the relationship between space, whether natural, urban, or interior, and the thematic elements with which such study has always been primarily concerned.

There are now myriad papers on the cities in Dickens, the jungles in Conrad and Wells, and the rooms in the works of the Brontës. Such emphases yield valuable insights which should not be restricted to the past couple of centuries of literature. In the late-medieval chivalric text Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, space can be seen, as in the latter case of the Brontës, commenting on the nature of femininity and the human relationships between men and women which take place in that space.

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[Work: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, (Pearl Poet), c. late 1300s]
The Green Knight’s Wife:

Space and Gender Relations in the Chivalric Romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

was last modified: December 29th, 2017 by Daniel Podgorski

[Work: Beowulf, (Author Unknown), c. 700-1000]
Ending Unending Feuds:

The Portent of Beowulf‘s Historicization of Violent Conflict

 

Introduction:

Beowulf first page - history, violence, feuds, cyclesIt has long been a clichéd truism that history is written by the victors; this assertion is often paired with the acknowledgment that a history written by those who lost major conflicts or were subjugated would be starkly different. The ubiquity of such sentiments clearly declares the paramount nature of considering perspective in approaching any historical account, whether that work is presented as non-fiction or fiction.

In the Old English verse work Beowulf, the question of perspective can be considered within the literary context of looking at speaker, syntax, and diction. One is meant, in light of the aforementioned modern sentiment, to look both at what that speaker aims to communicate about the events and individuals as well as at how and why the communication is thus structured.

That speaker, in historicizing the Geatish-Swedish Wars, actively obfuscates chronology, emphasizing the cyclical, muddy, and endless nature of feuding conflict so as to present the impotence of war, the tragedy of revenge, and the dependence of the two on a preoccupation with the past.

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[Work: Beowulf, (Author Unknown), c. 700-1000]
Ending Unending Feuds:

The Portent of Beowulf‘s Historicization of Violent Conflict

was last modified: February 27th, 2018 by Daniel Podgorski