For many people, The Canterbury Tales is not only Geoffrey Chaucer’s great masterwork, but one of the cornerstones of English literature.
he Knight in The Canterbury Tales is best viewed as neither a wholeheartedly approving embodiment of the values presented in the courtly literature and chivalric romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries nor a vicious marauder preying on innocent Christians, but rather as a relatively realistic, albeit somewhat idealized reflection of a living, breathing knight at the close of the fourteenth century.
Narratives of resistance: arguments against the mendicants in the works of Matthew Paris and William of Saint-Amour
The rise of the new mendicant orders, foremost the Franciscans and Dominicans, is one of the great success stories of thirteenth-century Europe. Combining apostolic poverty with sophisticated organization and university learning, they brought much needed improvements to pastoral care in the growing cities.
I argue that as Chaucer develops his own expansive, questioning poetics in The House of Fame and The Canterbury Tales, he problematises the principle of allegory on which the legitimacy of literary discourse was primarily based in medieval culture and the final fragments of The Canterbury Tales see Chaucer struggling, increasingly, to reconcile the boldness and independence of his poetic vision with the demands of his faith.
As a collector of alphabet books, and sometime editor of a newsletter on the subject, I have had many opportunities to consider the history of the alphabet poem. Although alphabet poems may take a wide range of forms, most are generally divided into twenty-six parts (lines, couplets, stanze…), one for each letter.
Although I think that the notion of modern art as organic must be qualified and questioned, there is a certain force and validity to Jordan’s distinction between medieval and modern art. Modern art expects the parts to be somewhat subordinate to the whole. The dominant stress of New Criticism was on the organic nature of art.
The article focuses on the representation of deviant sexual behavior in 14th-century English poetry and other chronicles. The portrayal of King of England Richard II as a rebellious youth, which is interpreted as perverse and lacking manliness, and the propaganda needed to offset this perception are discussed. Historical information is given about the political culture and power of the church. The murder of Edward II after being accused of sodomy by the Bishop of Hereford is mentioned.
One frustration of engaging in any branch of European medieval studies as an academic pursuit is that few claim expertise about the ancient or Roman worlds, but seemingly everyone on an internet discussion forum believes him or herself knowledgeable about the medieval period, usually based on patently false beliefs.