By J. Pitcher
This research indicates how modern thought can serve to explain buildings of identification and economies of wish in medieval texts. Bringing the assets of psychoanalytic and poststructuralist concept to endure on Chaucer's stories approximately girls, this publication addresses these registers of the Canterbury undertaking that stay significant matters for contemporary feminist concept: the specificity of female wish, the cultural articulation of gender, the good judgment of sacrifice as a cultural excellent, the constitution of misogyny and household violence. This e-book maps out the ways that Chaucer's rhetoric isn't in basic terms a component of favor or an device of persuasion however the very matrix for the illustration of de-centered subjectivity.
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Extra resources for Chaucer’s Feminine Subjects: Figures of Desire in the Canterbury Tales
59 While my approach is formalist, I see no inherent opposition between formalist analysis and the demands of historicism. At moments when the tales I consider engage most directly with history, the analysis attends to the linguistic specificity of that inscription. Poststructuralist approaches have struck some medievalists as essentializing and universalizing; such approaches are said to make all texts tell the same story. However, the rhetorical indeterminacies I analyze have diverse functions within the critical project of the tales and have practical consequences for the stories we tell about Chaucer.
Once as I lay asleep in bed, there appeared to me in my deep slumber the fairest creature ever born, in the guise of a tall warrior all arrayed in gold. ]23 When the scholar Magan comes to court to explain this fantastic occurrence, his explanation makes no mention of violence. ”24 Yet the romance of the incubus in this account differs sharply from the image we find in the City of God, where St. Augustine gives his full assent to the existence of incubi. ” He believes that incubi have “often performed obscenities on women and attacked them and had intercourse with them” [improbos saepe existitisse mulieribus et earum appetisse ac peregisse concubitum].
26 It shows the facility with which she appropriates a tradition of letters cultivated largely by men. What she demonstrates is that a woman can excel in the art of cultural politics. The tale of Midas establishes the precedent that her fictions ref lect her particular view rather than the truth of feminine desire. Whereas the Knight’s quest promises to disclose the essence of femininity, this exemplum suggests that the answer he discovers will indicate nothing more or less than the Wife’s personal convictions.
Chaucer’s Feminine Subjects: Figures of Desire in the Canterbury Tales by J. Pitcher