Chaucer's Agents: Cause and Representation in Chaucerian Narrative

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Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 371 pages
Chaucer's Agents draws on medieval and modern theories of agency to provide fresh readings of the major Chaucerian texts. Collectively, those readings aim to illuminate Chaucer's responses to two greta problems of agency: the degree to which human beings and forces qualify as agents, and the equal reference of "agent" to initiators and instruments. Each chapter surveys medieval conceptions of the agency in question-- allegorical Realities, intelligent animals, pagan gods, women, and the author--and then follows that kind of agent through representative Chaucerian texts. Readers have long recognized Chaucer's interest in questions of causation; Van Dyke shows that his answers to those questions shape, even constitute, his narratives. --Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.

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Contents

Introduction Chaucer and the Subject of Agency
13
Dreaming the Real Chaucer Does Allegory
40
Beyond Canacees Ring Animal Agency in Three Canterbury Tales
73
He that alle thing may bynde The Agency of Chaucers Pagan Gods
108
Goode women maydenes and wyves Exemplary Agency and Its Discontents
148
That Am Nat I The Wife of Bath Criseyde and the Possibility of Subjective Agency
180
Seeing Through Chaucer Authorial Agency and the Representation of Truth
223
Fre Agency
264
Notes
277
Works Cited
323
Index
353
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