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Rebels and Rivals (Paperback)

The Contestive Spirit in the Canterbury Tales

P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval Language & Literature

Imprint: Medieval Institute Publications
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9780918720429
Published: 31st December 1991
Casemate UK Academic


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Strife occurs everywhere among characters in The Canterbury Tales, in the stories as well as the links between them. Characters seem always ready to dispute, contradict, declaim, and contend about almost anything. A competitive spirit suffuses the work, from the tale-telling among pilgrims and the personal rivalries that develop on the pilgrimage to the conflicts, beguilings, and one-uppings that go on in the tales. By understanding the rivalries of the Canterbury world, we may then recognize why Chaucer so insists on the individuality of the characters he creates, why so many characters (rightly or wrongly) resist structures, and why they challenge or reject social dogmas, often overturning them. The essays that make up this collection offer several provocative interpretations of the rivalrous and rebellious spirits that inhabit the worlds of Chaucer’s tales. The volume is intended for the dedicated teacher of Chaucer as well as for the specialist in medieval English studies. As Chaucer’s poem displays the contestive spirit of human affairs, so the collective spirit of these essays reflects vigorous debate and multi-faceted challenge.

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