Congenial Souls: Reading Chaucer from Medieval to Postmodern by Stephanie Trigg

By Stephanie Trigg

John Dryden claimed to proportion a kindred spirit, a congenial soul, with Geoffrey Chaucer, and he used to be now not by myself. analyzing critics analyzing Chaucer, Stephanie Trigg makes us aware about the unique communities-modeled at the pilgrimage to Canterbury-that rose up round the writer as commentators in the course of the a long time sought religious or emotional intimacy with him. Congenial Souls surveys the severe literature from the past due heart a while to the modern interval to teach how editors and critics developed a number of voices as a response-even a supplement-to Chaucer's paintings. concentrating on turning issues within the heritage of Chaucerian discourse and within the development of a unique Chaucerian group, Trigg arrives on the fraught inspiration of a serious group in our day. What, she asks, do feminist experiences or modern cultural reports portend for such an author-based literary communion? And, if Chaucer is the unique "dead white male" writer, what is going to take place to Chaucer reviews and medieval reports within the subsequent millennium? the instant is propitious, Trigg indicates, for Chaucerians to check their very own serious historical past and its inherent contradictions. Richly educated, her paintings creates a powerful foundation for such an examination.

Stephanie Trigg is senior lecturer in English on the college of Melbourne.
Medieval Cultures sequence, quantity 30

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EXEMPLARY CHAUCER: CANONICITY AND PHILOLOGY Chaucer becomes the exemplary instance of English authorship only gradually. The discourses of authorship are barely available to him—as we will see in chapter 2—and it is only after his death that Chaucer is recognized and written about decisively as an object of these emergent regimes. Chronologically prior among them is the discourse of praise among Chaucer's poetic successors, who quickly move from acknowledging his name as worthy of recall to finding his work worthy of imitation.

The linguistic, historical and literary scholarship are a masterpiece of Anglo-American collaboration. The reading of Chaucer is made into an exquisite pleasure not a philological chore. This is the best edition of Chaucer in existence. Burgess's remarks about the sensuous pleasure of reading this book apply only to the hardback edition that he must have been reviewing— the paperback edition is practical and affordable, but hardly delightful to handle—but the opposition between the direct, pleasurable accessibility of the canonical text and the necessary anxiety of philology could not be revealed more clearly.

Here, it has the effect of smoothing out the very real differences and contention among Chaucer's editors and the very different material and social contexts in which they worked. The concept of editorial tradition actually has the effect of insulating editorial history from critical theory: questions and issues that might seem to belong to literary criticism find little quarter in this collection, doing little to further the dialogue between those two fields. In this regard, the volume is typical of many celebrations of Chaucerian reception, insisting on continuity across a hotly contested field.

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