|About the Book|
The freshest and most challenging work on Chaucer to have appeared in many years. -Chauncey Wood, McMaster UniversitySaving the appearances of the Ellesmere Manuscript order by means of a bold and brilliant hypothesis about the composition of theMoreThe freshest and most challenging work on Chaucer to have appeared in many years. -Chauncey Wood, McMaster UniversitySaving the appearances of the Ellesmere Manuscript order by means of a bold and brilliant hypothesis about the composition of the Canterbury Tales, Dolores Frese offers Chaucerians some of the most original and persuasive readings of the poem to appear in recent memory- in particular, her demonstration of Chaucers intertextual strategies with the Pardoners Tale and the Roman de la Rose are most impressive and will probably inaugurate new and vigorous debate about Chaucers reading and his allusive sophistication. -R.A. Shoaf, University of Floridain a daring, original study, Frese argues that the Ellesmere Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales represents Chaucers own final plans for the order and number of the Tales, traditionally thought to be unfinished at the time of the poets death. Frese contends that Chaucer devised a final plan for the order and number of the Canterbury Tales, that he inscribed this plan into the poetic text, and that this order and number are integral to the poems meaning.The poets final intentions can be retrieved, reconstructed, and internally verified, she claims, by an intertextual reading of the work as a whole. Frese maintains that the instructions found in the text are retrievable only through the Ellesmere Manuscript, held at the Huntington Library in California.The author discusses number itself as an important textual trope and provides an analysis of the medieval poetic practices of intnegumentum and involucrum. Finally, she postulates how and why early exemplars of Chaucers poem became disordered in the arrangements represented in the early Hengwrt manuscript and suggests that Chaucer created the Canons Yeomans Tale--included in Ellesmere but not in Hengwrt--to comment on this disaster.Chaucerians, literary theorists, and scholars of medieval French and Italian literature will welcome this modern reading of the Canterbury Tales.