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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Page 73 - tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him.
Page 104 - Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace, That swich a lewed mannes wit shal pace The wisdom of an heep of lerned men?
Page 129 - My cours, that hath so wyde for to turne, Hath moore power than woot any man. Myn is the drenchyng in the see so wan, Myn is the prison in the derke cote, Myn is the stranglyng and hangyng by the throte, The murmure, and the cherles rebellyng, The groynynge, and the pryvee empoysonyng.
Page 218 - Alias, of me, unto the worldes ende, Shal neyther ben ywriten nor ysonge No good word, for thise bokes wol me shende. O, rolled shal I ben on many a tonge!
Page 96 - Lo, swich it is for to be recchelees, And necligent, and truste on flaterye. But ye that holden this tale a folye, As of a fox, or of a cok and hen, Taketh the moralitee, good men.
Page 208 - O swete, as evere mot I gon, Now be ye kaught, now is ther but we tweyne! Now yeldeth yow, for other bote is non!
Page 34 - And therfore every gentil wight I preye, For Goddes love, demeth nat that I seye Of yvel entente, but for I moot reherce Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse, Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
Page 110 - God, and could not out of the good things that are seen, know him that is : neither by considering the works did they acknowledge the workmaster ; but deemed either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, or the lights of heaven, to be the gods which govern the world.

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