The Orient in Chaucer and Medieval Romance
The idea of the Orient is a major motif in Chaucer and medieval romance, and this new study reveals much about its use and significance, setting the literature in its historical context and thereby offering fresh new readings of anumber of texts. The author begins by looking at Chaucer's and Gower's treatment of the legend of Constance, as told by the Man of Law, demonstrating that Chaucer's addition of a pattern of mercantile details highlights the commercial context of the eastern Mediterranean in which the heroine is placed; she goes on to show how Chaucer's portraits of Cleopatra and Dido from the Legend of Good Women, read against parallel texts, especially in Boccaccio, reveal them to be loci of medieval orientalism. She then examines Chaucer's inventive handling of details taken from Eastern sources and analogues in the Squire's Tale, showing how he shapes them into the western form ofinterlace. The author concludes by looking at two romances, Floris and Blauncheflur and Le Bone Florence of Rome; she argues that elements in Floris of sibling incest are legitimised into a quest for the beloved, and demonstrates that Le Bone Florence be related to analogous oriental tales about heroic women who remain steadfast in virtue against persecution and adversity. Professor CAROL F. HEFFERNAN teaches in the Department ofEnglish, Rutgers University.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
analogues appears Arabic argued become beginning Boccaccio brother called Canacee Canterbury century chapter Chaucer Christian church Cleopatra Concerning Constance Constantinople contains Crusade Custance daughter Dido difference early East eastern edition Egypt English romance episode especially European example Famous father Florence Floris and Blauncheflur followed frame French Greek hand Holy husband important incest interest interlace Islamic Italy justice king known Land Latin Law's Tale Legend lines literature lover manuscripts marriage marry medieval Mediterranean merchants Middle Ages Middle English Moslem mother narrative Nights observes opening Orient original Persian pilgrimage pilgrims poet presented queen refer Richard Rome Saracen seems seen sexual slave Spain Spanish Squire's Tale story structure suggest Syria tells thought Thousand told trade translation West western wife woman women writing written young