Chaucer and the Universe of Learning
By (author) Ann W. Astell
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Chaucer and the Universe of Learning by Ann W. Astell
Book DescriptionThe order of the fragments making up the Canterbury Tales and the structure of that collection have long been questioned. Ann W. Astell proposes that Chaucer intended the order that is preserved in what is known as the Ellesmere manuscript. In supporting her claim, Astell reveals a wealth of insights into the world of medieval learning, Chaucer's expected audience, and the meaning of the Canterbury Tales. Astell examines the conventions of medieval learning familiar to Chaucer and discovers in two related topical outlines, those of the seven planets and of the divisions of philosophy, an important key. Assimilated to each other in a kind of transparent overlay, these two outlines, which were frequently joined in the literature with which Chaucer was familiar, accommodate the actual structural divisions of the Tales (in the order in which they appear in the Ellesmere manuscript), define the story blocks as topical units, and show the pilgrims' progress from London to Canterbury to be simultaneously a planetary pilgrimage and a philosophical journey of the soul. The two patterns, Astell maintains, locate Chaucer's work in relation to that of both Gower and Dante, philosophical poets who shared Chaucer's relatively novel status as lay clerk, and who were, like him, members of the educated, secular bourgeoisie. The whole of the Canterbury Tales is thus revealed to be in dialogue with Gower's Confessio and Dante's Paradiso. Indeed, it represents an elaborately detailed response to the images used, and the stories related, in Dante's successive heavens.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780801432699
(229mm x 152mm x 23mm)
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 19-Sep-1996
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Ann W. Astell
Eating Beauty, Paperback (February 2016)
Ann W. Astell explores the ambiguity of the phrase "eating beauty." The phrase evokes the destruction of beauty, the devouring mouth of the grave, the mouth of hell.
Joan of Arc and Spirituality, Hardback (January 2004)
The various trial records provide evidence about how Joan of Arc and others understood her spiritual life. This book explores multiple facets of Joan's prayerful life. Two thirds of the essays focus on Joan in her own time; the later chapters study Joan's formative influence upon modern women.
'Song of Songs' in the Middle Ages, Paperback (May 1995)» View all books by Ann W. Astell
The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages is a wide-ranging and insightful book that is carefully researched and gracefully written. It is of importance alike to those interested in mysticism, Middle English, the twelfth century, the fourteenth century...
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Author Biography - Ann W. Astell
Ann W. Astell is Professor of English at Purdue University. She is the author of many books, including Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages, The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages, Chaucer and the Universe of Learning, and Political Allegory in Late Medieval England, all available from Cornell.
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