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Chaucer and the Subversion of Form

$99.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature

Thomas A. Prendergast, Jessica Rosenfeld, Jenni Nuttall, Jennifer Jahner, Eleanor Johnson, Jonathan Hsy, Lisa H. Cooper, Julie Orlemanski, Arthur Bahr, Stephanie Trigg
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  • Date Published: June 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107192843

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About the Authors
  • Responding to the lively resurgence of literary formalism, this volume delivers a timely and fresh exploration of the works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Advancing 'new formalist' approaches, medieval scholars have begun to ask what happens when structure fails to yield meaning, probing the very limits of poetic organization. While Chaucer is acknowledged as a master of form, his work also foregrounds troubling questions about formal agency: the disparate forces of narrative and poetic practice, readerly reception, intertextuality, genre, scribal attention, patronage, and historical change. This definitive collection of essays offers diverse perspectives on Chaucer and a varied analysis of these problems, asking what happens when form is resisted by author or reader, when it fails by accident or by design, and how it can be misleading, errant, or even dangerous.

    • Presents a fresh and definitive study of literary form in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer
    • Brings 'new formalist' approaches to bear on a range of Chaucer's works
    • Brings a focus to Chaucerian moments of formal disorder and disruption, mistakes and problems
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… original critical engagement with a range of Chaucer’s works and the issues they raise.' A. S. G. Edwards, The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107192843
    • length: 240 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: failure, figure, reception Thomas A. Prendergast and Jessica Rosenfeld
    Part I. The Failures of Form:
    1. 'Many a lay and many a thing': Chaucer's technical terms Jenni Nuttall
    2. Chaucer's aesthetic resources: nature, longing, and economies of form Jennifer Jahner
    3. Against order: medieval, modern, and contemporary critiques of causality Eleanor Johnson
    Part II. The Corporeality and Form:
    4. Diverging forms: disability and the Monk's Tales Jonathan Hsy
    5. Figures for 'Gretter knowing': forms in the Treatise on the Astrolabe Lisa H. Cooper
    6. The heaviness of prosopoeial form in Chaucer's Book of the Duchess Julie Orlemanski
    Part III. The Forms of Reception:
    7. Reading badly: what the Physician's Tale isn't telling us Thomas A. Prendergast
    8. Birdsong, love, and the House of Lancaster: Gower reforms Chaucer Arthur Bahr
    9. Opening The Canterbury Tales: form and formalism in the general prologue Stephanie Trigg.

  • Editors

    Thomas A. Prendergast, College of Wooster, Ohio
    Thomas A. Prendergast is Professor of English at the College of Wooster, Ohio. He is the author of Chaucer's Dead Body: From Corpse to Corpus (2004) and Poetical Dust: Poets' Corner and the Making of Britain (2015); he is co-editor of Rewriting Chaucer: Culture, Authority, and the Idea of the Authentic Text, 1400–1602 (1999).

    Jessica Rosenfeld, Washington University, St Louis
    Jessica Rosenfeld is Associate Professor of English at Washington University, St. Louis. She is the author of Ethics and Enjoyment in Late Medieval Poetry: Love after Aristotle (Cambridge, 2011).


    Thomas A. Prendergast, Jessica Rosenfeld, Jenni Nuttall, Jennifer Jahner, Eleanor Johnson, Jonathan Hsy, Lisa H. Cooper, Julie Orlemanski, Arthur Bahr, Stephanie Trigg

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