Serious Play: Desire and Authority in the Poetry of Ovid, Chaucer, and Ariosto [NOOK Book]

Overview

Comic poets are inspired best by the bittersweet nature of their art-the thrill of skewering the world's power elite while nevertheless being dependent on their support. Ovid, Chaucer, and Ariosto were extremely attuned to the dynamics of this relationship, with Ovid suffering most from his comedic missteps. Their audacity and acute insight are the very elements that make their work so appealing centuries after their subjects have stumbled off the stage.

Through a careful and ...

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Serious Play: Desire and Authority in the Poetry of Ovid, Chaucer, and Ariosto

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Overview

Comic poets are inspired best by the bittersweet nature of their art-the thrill of skewering the world's power elite while nevertheless being dependent on their support. Ovid, Chaucer, and Ariosto were extremely attuned to the dynamics of this relationship, with Ovid suffering most from his comedic missteps. Their audacity and acute insight are the very elements that make their work so appealing centuries after their subjects have stumbled off the stage.

Through a careful and imaginative analysis of Ovid's amatory poetry, Chaucer's dream poems and excerpts from the Canterbury Tales, and Ariosto's epic Orlando Furioso, Robert W. Hanning identifies the comic mastery that turns these poets' trenchant critique into such amusing, enlightening, and disturbing fantasy. This technique, termed serio ludere, or serious play, by Renaissance theorists, is especially compelling when studied through these writers and their politically powerful audiences. Ovid, Chaucer, and Ariosto are not often studied together, but each lived in exciting times (Augustan Rome, late-medieval London, and high-Renaissance Italy, respectively), and their unique position as outsider-insiders afforded them the freedom to speak comedic truth to power. These poets also rebelled against the "authority" of poetic influence in their work, remaking literary convention while, at the same time, challenging political power.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231526395
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/6/2010
  • Series: Leonard Hastings Schoff Lectures
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Robert W. Hanning taught medieval and Renaissance literature at Columbia University for forty-five years. His books include The Vision of History in Early Britain, The Individual in Twelfth-Century Romance, and The Lais of Marie de France.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments Introduction
1. Ovid's Amatory Poetry: Rome in a Comic Mirror
2. Chaucer: Dealing with the Authorities; Or, Twisting the Nose That Feeds You
3. Ariosto's Orlando Furioso: Confusion Multiply Confounded; Or, Astray in the Forest of Desire In Conclusion (or Inconclusion)
Epilogue Index

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