Chaucerian Aesthetics

Overview

Chaucerian Aesthetics examines The Canterbury Tale and Troilus and Criseyde from both medieval and post-Kantian vantage points. These sometimes congruent, sometimes divergent perspectives illuminate both the immediate pleasure of encountering beauty and its haunting promise of intelligibility. Although aesthetic reflection has sometimes seemed out of sync with modern approaches to mind and language, Knapp defends its value in general and demonstrates its importance for the analysis of Chaucer’s narrative art. ...

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Overview

Chaucerian Aesthetics examines The Canterbury Tale and Troilus and Criseyde from both medieval and post-Kantian vantage points. These sometimes congruent, sometimes divergent perspectives illuminate both the immediate pleasure of encountering beauty and its haunting promise of intelligibility. Although aesthetic reflection has sometimes seemed out of sync with modern approaches to mind and language, Knapp defends its value in general and demonstrates its importance for the analysis of Chaucer’s narrative art. Focusing on language games, persons, women, humor, and community, this book ponders what makes art beautiful.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Knapp’s unique skill as a critic and a writer has always been to address both non-specialists and beginning students and at the same time make sophisticated technical arguments that move scholarship in the field forward. In her latest book, Knapp argues for an empowerment in the engagement with the aesthetic that inescapably dramatizes personal and political struggles, both historically and existentially. Narrative excitement, verbal beauty, and visual pleasure are neither allegories of entrapment nor timeless, universal ideals, but are both ends and means of transformation. Knapp demonstrates that medieval aesthetic effects are not static and unchanging, but are part of both poetic and social change."—John M. Ganim, Professor of English, University of California- Riverside; President of the New Chaucer Society; and author of Medievalism and Orientalism

“An original and highly engaging book. Knapp seeks to reintegrate aesthetic considerations into Chaucer criticism, through a defense and illustration of interpretation which takes pleasure in the beauty of the text. Skillfully interweaving medieval and modern theories of imagination and art, she succeeds admirably in positioning Chaucerian poetry within a valorizing ‘regime of the aesthetic’.”—Alastair Minnis, English Department, Yale University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230606685
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Series: New Middle Ages Series
  • Pages: 254
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Peggy A. Knapp is a Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. She founded and edited the annual book series Assays: Critical Approaches to Medieval and Renaissance Texts. She is the author of The Style of John Wyclif’s English Sermons, Chaucer and the Social Contest, Time-Bound Words, and many articles on medieval and early modern authors, as well as contemporary writers, critics, and filmmakers.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Aesthetics? * Chaucerian Resoun Ymaginatyf
• Playing with Language Games * Beautiful Persons
• The Beauty of Women
• The Aesthetics of Laughter
• Imagining Community

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