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Chaucer Among the Gods: The Poetics of Classical Myth

ISBN: 9780271002019
Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr (Txt)
Publication Date: 1979-08-01
Number of pages: 189
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A description of Chaucer's adaptation of classical materials to various uses - comedy, tragedy, and allegory; theme, action, and character - this book is also an analysis of Chaucer's poetics. Chaucer's creative use of the classical past is shown as a central part of his virtuosity. The book begins with a general discussion of the medieval traditions of classical myth, showing how Chaucer made himself the first humanist of English literature - opening to England both the ancient world of Virgil, Ovid, and Lucan and also the contemporary perceptions of that world by such continental masters as Dante, Graunson, Boccaccio, and Froissart. Succeeding chapters move through the categories of Chaucer's aesthetic uses of classical materials in specific poems: brief allusions, adaptations of myth to moral allegory, references to places, and lampoons of classical divinities.Professor McCall concludes by contrasting Chaucer's 'rhetorics of fragmentation and discontinuity' with those of modern writers. Today such rhetorics have a despairing or apocalyptic tone. For Chaucer they conveyed 'patient acceptance of the world and one's own self.'

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