Geoffrey Chaucer, the Critical Heritage

By Derek Brewer | Go to book overview

hundred love-vision poems! But instead of ushering in Plaisance and Esperance and Douce Pensée and their crew of fellow abstractions, it opens the door of the Tabard Inn to Harry Bailly and the Wife of Bath and the Miller and the Pardoner and their goodly fellowship. There could be no better symbol than those opening lines of the continuity, through steadily maturing powers, of Chaucer’s art. And it is that continuity of evolution, up to the full flowering of his genius in the Canterbury Tales, that I have essayed to describe.


48.

CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS, WHAT CHAUCER REALLY DID TO ‘IL FILOSTRATO’

1932

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), literary historian, novelist, and popular theologian, was educated at University College, Oxford, and became Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English in the University of Cambridge, 1954-63. Of many learned, witty, and imaginatively generous books, his ‘Allegory of Love’ (1936), in which he developed the theory of ‘courtly love’, earlier set out by W.G. Dodd and adumbrated even earlier, has been perhaps the most influential. In the present essay, the forerunner of ‘The Allegory of Love’, Lewis presents ‘courtly love’ as an example of essentially medieval interest, and in re-creating the medieval interest in poetry, different from that of the twentieth century, he also emphasises the historical, rhetorical, sententious aspects of Chaucer’s poetry. Reprinted from ‘Essays and Studies 1932’ (1932), pp. 56-75, by permission of the English Association.

WHAT CHAUCER REALLY DID TO ‘IL FILOSTRATO’

A great deal of attention has deservedly been given to the relation between the ‘Book of Troilus’ and its original, ‘II Filostrato’, and Rossetti’s collation placed a knowledge of the subject within the reach even of undergraduate inquirers. It is, of course, entirely right and proper that the greater part of this attention has been

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