By Judson Boyce Allen

ISBN-10: 0814203108

ISBN-13: 9780814203101

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Extra info for A Distinction of Stories: The Medieval Unity of Chaucer's Fair Chain of Narratives for Canterbury

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In addition, the historical sequence is adorned and clarified by structuring the poem in order to reveal the parallelism and mutual completion achieved by the four parts. 78 The four parts might be imagined as being arranged in a square, with parts 1 and 2 the upper quadrants and parts 3 and 4 placed below them. In this way, the various parallelisms established by similar events in different parts of the poem would be clarified: for example, parts 2 and 4 both end with combats for Emelye, which are concluded by surprising rever­ sals, in part 2 by Theseus's promise that one of them may wed Emelye, and in part 4 by the overturning of the apparent decision of the combat.

The tale's arrangement forecasts the relationships which Chaucer will use to bind together the many stories he tells; it is an Axioms of Unity and Their Consequences / 31 arrangement which reflects the dual aspects of the order of history, both sequential and yet simultaneously present in the single event of Christ. But the Knight's Tale is only the beginning; like any one part of itself, it is not all the truth of the whole of which it is a part. The challenges which will assault the integrity of Theseus's discovery of universal harmony begin immediately.

Ut ap­ paret in illis qui habent febres acutas, in spiritu quidem tandem ut de sano fit infirmus, scilicet insanus sicut de horeste legitur et de agave que prop­ rium filium laceravit, sicut etiam quotidie videtur de patientibus frenesim qui mactarent patrem, matrem, et alios nisi libarentur. De quibus hominibus in hoc opere agit autor. [Fol. 186v-187r]54 According to at least some authorities, therefore, the Ovidian changes which inform right human behavior are classified as natural, moral, magical, and spiritual.

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A Distinction of Stories: The Medieval Unity of Chaucer's Fair Chain of Narratives for Canterbury by Judson Boyce Allen


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