Chaucerian Realism

Overview

NB DSB BLURB ON CERTAIN OCCASIONS What is the difference between saying something and meaning it, and saying something and not meaning it? A modern question. A Chaucerian question. Through his analysis of intentionality and the metaphysics of speech, Robert Myles shows why Chaucer's appreciation of the functioning of language and thought could be 'modern'. Through his analysis of Chaucer's works, particularly the Friar's Tale, Myles demonstrates that Chaucer's understanding of these is modern and the myth of the ...
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Overview

NB DSB BLURB ON CERTAIN OCCASIONS What is the difference between saying something and meaning it, and saying something and not meaning it? A modern question. A Chaucerian question. Through his analysis of intentionality and the metaphysics of speech, Robert Myles shows why Chaucer's appreciation of the functioning of language and thought could be 'modern'. Through his analysis of Chaucer's works, particularly the Friar's Tale, Myles demonstrates that Chaucer's understanding of these is modern and the myth of the medieval mind as other than our own is exploded. The medieval belief in intentionality, the object-directedness of all beings, allowed appreciation of a fact: thought and language areintentional. On a practical level Chaucer deliberately exploits three-level semantics (signs are simultaneously mind-drected and world-directed) to create 'realistic' fiction in the modern literary sense of the term. Myles also argues that Chaucer is a realist in the philosophical sense, a view which goes counter to the current of much recent criticism. This book will not only be a challenging addition to medieval and Chaucerian studies, but has interesting implications for the historical study of intentionality, semiotics and epistemology. DR ROBERT MYLESis senior lecturer at the English and French Language Centre, McGill University, and a research fellow at the Department of English, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The most important contribution to considerations over the past decade of the philosophical components of Chaucer's poetry, his psychology, and his semiotic theory... The best discussion I know of the central component of Chaucer's philosophical disposition — intentionality. The argument combines a rich understanding of medieval philosophical tradition in these matters, useful comparisons with 20th-century writings on the topic, and, especially, a lively and just application of the materials to the understanding of Chaucer's poetry. SPECULUM (Russell A. Peck)Joins the ranks of only a handful of sustained, book-length studies of the philosophical implications of Chaucer's poetry, and for this reason it represents an important contribution to the field. STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCERWith the panache and conviction of a medieval theologian (but with the benefit of modern linguistic theory and semiotics) (Miles) deploys an argument dazzling in its learning, careful in its categories, subtle in its development, and irresistible in its logic. MLR (Peter Brown)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780859914093
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/11/1994
  • Series: Chaucer Studies , #20
  • Pages: 167
  • Product dimensions: 0.44 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Edition
Abbreviations
Ch. 1 Chaucerian realism 1
'Realisms' and nominalism: sources of confusion 1
Major misunderstanding: Robert M. Jordan 11
Major misunderstandings: Nine More Critics 16
Chaucer's ethical realism 22
'Wordes white' and 'ententes black': Chaucer, ethics and language 27
Ch. 2 The Thesis of Intentionality: Medieval and Modern 33
The thesis of intentionality: the linguistic return 33
'Entente' and intentio: medieval psycholinguistics 39
Intentionality, creationism, and language 45
Chaucer and the medieval thesis of intentionality 47
Signs and psychology: the thesis of intentionality 51
Ch. 3 Judeo-Christian Semiological Metaphysics: Chaucer's Metaphysical Option 55
Creationism: presence and/or absence 56
The metaphysics of presence and absence 60
The metaphysics of speech 66
Ch. 4 Medieval and Modern Understandings of Mode of Presentation 75
The modern understanding of mode of presentation 75
Four medieval understandings of mode of presentation 77
Three-level semantics 87
Three-level semantics from Augustine to Frege 88
Ch. 5 Chaucerian Entencioun: Mode of Presentation and Three-level Semantics in the Friar's Tale 91
The 'ententes' of 'rente' 93
The 'ententes' of 'entente' 103
The 'entente' of curses 108
Ch. 6 Intentionality: The Couplings of a Fool 117
The Friar's Tale and the grammar of sex 118
Summoners and the grammar of sex 123
The couplings of a fool 126
Conclusion 133
Works Cited 136
Index 146
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