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Chaucerian polity : absolutist lineages and associational forms in England and Italy / David Wallace.

By: Wallace, David, 1954-.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Figurae (Stanford, Calif.): Publisher: Stanford, Calif : Stanford University Press, 1997Description: xix, 555 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.ISBN: 0804727244 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780804727242 (cloth : alk. paper); 0804736618; 9780804736619.Subject(s): Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400 -- Political and social views | Political poetry, English -- History and criticism | Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400. Canterbury tales | Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400 -- Knowledge -- Italy | Politics and literature -- Great Britain -- History -- To 1500 | Tales, Medieval -- History and criticism | English poetry -- Italian influences | Constitutional history, Medieval | Despotism in literature | Italy -- In literatureDDC classification: 821.1 LOC classification: PR1933.P64 | W35 1997Other classification: 18.05
Contents:
Chaucer in Florence and Lombardy -- The General prologue and the anatomy of associational form -- "From every shires ende": English guilds and Chaucer's Compagnye -- "No felaweshipe": thesian polity -- Powers of the countryside -- Absent city -- "Deyntee to Chaffare": men of law, merchants, and the Constance story -- Household rhetoric: violence and eloquence in the Tale of Melibee -- After eloquence: Chaucer in the house of Apollo -- "Whan she translated was": humanism, tyranny, and the petrarchan academy -- All that fall: Chaucer's Monk and "Every myghty man" -- "If that thou live": legends and lives of good women.
Summary: Chaucer's encounters with the great Trecento authors - Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch - facilitate the testing and dismantling of time-honored terms such as medieval, Renaissance, and humanism. The author argues that no magic curtain separated "medieval" London and Westminster from "Renaissance" Florence and Milan; as a result of his Italian journeys, all sites were interlinked for Chaucer as parts of a transnational nexus of capital, cultural, mercantile, and military exchange. In his travels, Chaucer was exposed to the Trecento's most crucial material and ideological conflict, that between a fully developed and highly inclusive associational polity (Florence) and the first, prototypically imperfect, absolutist state of modern times (Lombardy).Summary: The author's articulation of "Chaucerian polity" - through analyses of art, architecture, city and country, household space, guild and mercantile cultures, as well as literary texts - thus opens sightlines through the Henrician revolution to the writings of Shakespeare. In the process, this innovative study of Chaucer's poetry and prose is invigorated by an engagement with approaches gleaned from modern Marxist historiography, gender theory, and cultural studies.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
PR1933 .P64 W35 1997 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001644558

Includes bibliographical references (p. [497]-539) and index.

Chaucer in Florence and Lombardy -- The General prologue and the anatomy of associational form -- "From every shires ende": English guilds and Chaucer's Compagnye -- "No felaweshipe": thesian polity -- Powers of the countryside -- Absent city -- "Deyntee to Chaffare": men of law, merchants, and the Constance story -- Household rhetoric: violence and eloquence in the Tale of Melibee -- After eloquence: Chaucer in the house of Apollo -- "Whan she translated was": humanism, tyranny, and the petrarchan academy -- All that fall: Chaucer's Monk and "Every myghty man" -- "If that thou live": legends and lives of good women.

Chaucer's encounters with the great Trecento authors - Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch - facilitate the testing and dismantling of time-honored terms such as medieval, Renaissance, and humanism. The author argues that no magic curtain separated "medieval" London and Westminster from "Renaissance" Florence and Milan; as a result of his Italian journeys, all sites were interlinked for Chaucer as parts of a transnational nexus of capital, cultural, mercantile, and military exchange. In his travels, Chaucer was exposed to the Trecento's most crucial material and ideological conflict, that between a fully developed and highly inclusive associational polity (Florence) and the first, prototypically imperfect, absolutist state of modern times (Lombardy).

The author's articulation of "Chaucerian polity" - through analyses of art, architecture, city and country, household space, guild and mercantile cultures, as well as literary texts - thus opens sightlines through the Henrician revolution to the writings of Shakespeare. In the process, this innovative study of Chaucer's poetry and prose is invigorated by an engagement with approaches gleaned from modern Marxist historiography, gender theory, and cultural studies.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

In this reading of Chaucer's poetry and prose, Wallace (Univ. of Pennsylvania) argues for the text as its own poetics. He sees "wifely eloquence," as it emerges in The Canterbury Tales, as "the most powerful and distinctive aspect" of the poet's practicum. Chapters treat Chaucer's travels in Florence and Lombardy; the General Prologue; "The Knight's Tale"; country and city influences; the tales of the Man of Law's, Melibee, and the Monk; and The Legend of Good Women. Wallace offers a European context as background, first England and Italy and then, in the final chapter, Bohemia and Prague. Illustrations (unfortunately only in black and white) enhance the book's thesis about the "connections" of 14th-century English culture to the Continental European and its intention to stretch the bounds of new historicist criticism eastward rather than westward. Provocative and learned, with a good bibliography and index, the volume is accessible only to specialists, and even they may be put off by its wordy, turgid, and impenetrable style. But Wallace nevertheless offers a unique perspective on rarely considered Chaucerian influences. M. Fries; SUNY College at Fredonia

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