Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender

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9780520074996: Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender
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Hansen challenges both the long-standing myth of Chaucer as the tolerant, wise Father of English poetry and the recent arguments that Chaucer was a protofeminist, subversive of the misogyny of his day. Hansen argues that these mistaken interpretations inhibit readings of Chaucer that respond to feminist and other poststructuralist critiques of traditional literary scholarship.

Hansen suggests that the woman's voice in Chaucer reflects an urgent problem of gender identity for two kinds of men, both feminized by fourteenth-century courtly conventions: those who love women, and those who traffic in stories about women. She maintains that Chaucer destabilizes the notion of fixed gender difference but then privileges masculine identity by reconstructing the feminine in orthodox ways. Hansen exhorts readers of Chaucer, and students of the history of gender, to approach Chaucer's fictions with a more sophisticated awareness of their complexity and timeliness.

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From the Inside Flap:

"A startling and compelling revisionist analysis of Chaucerian texts. The view of Chaucer that emerges from this work is adamantly not accommodated to most modern critical desires—desires to recuperate a fundamentally humanist Chaucer."—Carolyn Dinshaw, author of Chaucer's Sexual Poetics

About the Author:

Elaine Tuttle Hansen is Professor of English at Haverford College.

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9780520071339: Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender

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ISBN 10:  0520071336 ISBN 13:  9780520071339
Publisher: University of California Press, 1992
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