Criticism and Medieval Poetry.

Author / Editor
Spearing, A. C.

Criticism and Medieval Poetry.

London: Arnold, 1964.

Physical Description
vii, 148 pp.

Applies the techniques of "close reading" or "practical criticism" to works of medieval literature, adjusting the method to accord with medieval literary and linguistic conventions, especially oral recitation. Examines passages from "Piers Plowman," "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," TC, and Robert Henryson's "Testament of Cresseid," along with medieval literary theory found in the "artes poeticae" while referring to a wide range of works. The discussion of TC, "Chaucer as Novelist" (pp. 96-117), focuses on ways in which the poem is and is not "novelistic," examining two passages closely (Criseyde's dream, 2.915ff., and the lovers' parting, 4.1128ff), disclosing the ways that they, "life-like" and ambiguous, impose "no one interpretation on us." Elsewhere explicates BD 387-442, comments on Chaucer's engagement with medieval rhetoricians, and investigates the "complex relationship with Chaucer" found in Henryson's "Testament."

Alternative Title
Chaucer as Novelist.

Chaucer Subjects
Troilus and Criseyde
Book of the Duchess
Style and Versification
Chaucer's Influence and Later Allusion