Watch and listen to parts of The Canterbury Tales read in Middle English
When is a dream not a dream? The Middle English convention of the ‘dream vision’ has been read by modern scholars as a genre that primarily reveals the medieval understanding of dreaming and dream theory, so that events and stories presented within a dream frame are necessarily read through that specific hermeneutic.
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.