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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55370
Doc. No:TL25324
Call number:‭3214595‬
Main Entry:Stefan Erik Kristiaan Vander Elst
Title & Author:Chaucer and the crusades: A study in late medieval literary and political thoughtStefan Erik Kristiaan Vander Elst
College:Princeton University
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:310
Abstract:This dissertation offers a new solution to an old problem in the Canterbury Tales. It breaks with the accepted interpretation of the Knight and Squire characters, which have traditionally been read either as idealized representations of knighthood or symbols of late medieval decadence, and suggests instead that they function as comments great political and religious enterprise known as the crusades. It details the two major crusade philosophies brought forward in fourteenth-century crusade propaganda: one which attempted to return the crusade to its eleventh and twelfth-century origins, and which found its best expression in the works of the theorist Philippe de Mézières; and the other a movement which began to associate the crusade with romance adventure done for the love of ladies, and the crusader frontier with the Arthurian otherworld. I propose that Chaucer's Knight should be read in the context of the former approach to the crusade; indeed, not only does virtually every line in the Knight's Portrait correspond to elements in de Mézières' life or crusade thought, but the French propagandist's influence also explains the changes Chaucer made in his most important source, Boccaccio's Teseida when writing the Knight's Tale. Furthermore, I argue that the Squire's Portrait and Tale mirror the second, "romancing" approach to the crusade. This thesis tracers the development of this approach through three case studies: a first on Nicolaus von Jeroschin's Kronike von Pruzinlant; a second on the Bâtard de Bouillon and Baudouin de Sebourc; and a third on La Prise d'Alixandre by Guillaume de Machaut. It then applies the findings of these case studies to the Squire's Portrait and Tale, and argues that they explain both the nature of the Squire's crusade as we find it in his Portrait, and the form, setting, and content of the Squire's Tale . This interpretation of the Knight and Squire sheds light on a great many lingering questions in the scholarship of the Canterbury Tales , and serves to indicate both the depth of Chaucer's social and political criticism and his active engagement in the polemic about the nature and the future of the crusade movement.
Subject:Language, literature and linguistics; Chaucer, Geoffrey; Crusades; Geoffrey Chaucer; Medieval; Political thought; Literature; Middle Ages; Comparative literature; British and Irish literature; 0593:British and Irish literature; 0297:Literature; 0295:Comparative literature; 0297:Middle Ages
Added Entry:J. V. Fleming
Added Entry:Princeton University