Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire

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CUP Archive, Jun 28, 1973 - Literary Criticism - 348 pages
This book is an attempt to discover the origins and significance of the General Prologue-to the Canterbury Tales. The interest of such an inquiry is many-sided. On the one hand, it throws light on the question of whether `life' or 'literature' was Chaucer's model in this work, on the relationship between Chaucer's twenty-odd pilgrims and the structure of medieval society, and on the role of their `estate' in determining the elements of which Chaucer composes their portraits. On the other hand, it makes suggestions about the ways in which Chaucer convinces us of the individuality of his pilgrims, about the nature of his irony, and the kind of moral standards implicit in the Prologue. This book suggests that Chaucer is ironically substituting for the traditional moral view of social structure a vision of a world where morality becomes as specialised to the individual as his work-life.

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Contents

The AntiClerical Tradition in Estates Satire
17
Estates Ideals
55
The Omission of the Victim
86
Chivalry and AntiFeminism
106
Beauty and the Beast
128
Scientific Portraits
145
New Creations
168
The General Prologue and the Descriptio Tradition
176
Conclusions
187
Appendices
203
Notes
213
Selected Bibliography and List of Works Cited
295
Index
323
Copyright

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