Chivalry in English Literature: Chaucer, Malory, Spenser, and Shakespeare

By William Henry Schofield | Go to book overview
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Chivalry less an institution than an ideal: Different from feudalism: Fashioned to further Christian principles: Its sway due largely to men of letters: Chaucer's attitude towards chivalry, pragmatic; Malory's, romantic; Spenser's, esoteric; and Shakespeare's, historic.


Chaucer's character, training, and environment: Queen Philippa and the Duchess Blanche: The idealistic nature of the poet's early work: His growing seriousness and exaltation of Truth: The Knight, a "preud'omme," like Gauchier de Châtillon: The realism of the Knight's Tale: Edward III and the Black Prince: "Sir Thopas": The Yeoman: Chivalric love: The Squire and his Tale: The Franklin's Tale: "Troilus and Cressida": Chaucer's attitude towards women: His views of "gentilesse": His democracy: His chivalry, the best of his own time, and the best of his own life.


The nature and style of the " Morte d'Arthur": The author: His association with the Earl of Warwick: His imprisonment and death: Caxton's statements regarding the book: Its contemporaneousness: Conditions of the time: Malory's portraits of knights: Ideals applauded: Presentation of love: Tristram as a hunter: The repentance of Launcelot and Guinevere: Merry England: Sir Gamain: Robin Hood: Sir Gareth: Malory's views of lineage and gentleness: His aristocracy: "Noblesse oblige."


The new age: Means of Spenser's influence: His life and aspirations: Cambridge friends: Sidney: Raleigh: Comparison with Chaucer: Moral purpose of the "Faery Queen": Chivalric ideals fundamental in the author's system of conduct, but combined with Renaissance conceptions: His eagerness for fame: Exaltation of "virtuous and gentle discipline": Emphasis on "mind": Appeal to "gentle and noble persons": Influence of Castiglione: Spenser's idea of the courtier: His views on


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Chivalry in English Literature: Chaucer, Malory, Spenser, and Shakespeare


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