Chaucer and the Universe of Learning

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $14.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 79%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $14.99   
  • New (2) from $74.04   
  • Used (2) from $14.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.


Ships from: Avenel, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:


Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


The order of the fragments making up the Canterbury Tales and the structure of that collection have long been questioned. Ann W. Astell proposes that Chaucer intended the order that is preserved in what is known as the Ellesmere manuscript. In supporting her claim, Astell reveals a wealth of insights into the world of medieval learning, Chaucer's expected audience, and the meaning of the Canterbury Tales. Astell examines the conventions of medieval learning familiar to Chaucer and discovers in two related topical outlines, those of the seven planets and of the divisions of philosophy, an important key. Assimilated to each other in a kind of transparent overlay, these two outlines, which were frequently joined in the literature with which Chaucer was familiar, accommodate the actual structural divisions of the Tales (in the order in which they appear in the Ellesmere manuscript), define the story blocks as topical units, and show the pilgrims' progress from London to Canterbury to be simultaneously a planetary pilgrimage and a philosophical journey of the soul. The two patterns, Astell maintains, locate Chaucer's work in relation to that of both Gower and Dante, philosophical poets who shared Chaucer's relatively novel status as lay clerk, and who were, like him, members of the educated, secular bourgeoisie. The whole of the Canterbury Tales is thus revealed to be in dialogue with Gower's Confessio and Dante's Paradiso. Indeed, it represents an elaborately detailed response to the images used, and the stories related, in Dante's successive heavens.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Astell's well-named Chaucer and the Universe of Learning places Chaucer in a more systematically learned context than most recent historical studies. . . . She conveys, in straightforwardly lucid prose, a wealth of fascinating information about the intellectual concerns and debates of fourteenth-century clerkly culture, as well as useful summaries of its historical background."—Karla Taylor, Modern Philology

"Medievalists will welcome Chaucer and the Universe of Learning for its masterful analysis of the structure of the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and for its thorough examination of the conventions of medieval learning. . . . This meticulously researched book offers a wealth of scholarship through Astell's brilliant analysis. . . . It is, in my estimation, a valuable tool for medieval scholars."—Louise W. Watkins, Carmina Philosophiae

"I found the book everywhere informative and provocative. . . . There is much of profit and pleasure to be found in this learned and ingeniuos book."—John B. Friedman, Journal of English and Germanic Philology

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801432699
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/19/1996
  • Pages: 272

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Chaucer and the Division of Clerks 32
2 The Divisions of Knowledge 61
3 From Saturn to the Sun: Planetary Pilgrimage in Fragments I and IX 92
4 Solar Alchemy in Fragments II and VIII 119
5 Mercurial Marriage in Fragments III-IV-V: Philosophic Misogamy and the Trivium of Woman's Knowledge 145
6 Chaucer's Mercurial Muse: Fragment VII and the Causes of Books 179
7 Lunar "Practique": Law, Medicine, and Theology in Fragments VI and X 200
Conclusion 221
Bibliography 231
Index 249
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)