The Decameron and the Canterbury Tales: New Essays on an Old Question

Brenda Deen Schildgen, Leonard Michael Koff

Published by Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Pr, 2000
ISBN 10: 0838638007 / ISBN 13: 9780838638002
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Synopsis: Leading scholars of Chaucer and Boccaccio offer original, provocative answers to the question of the influence of the Decameron on the genesis and shape of the Canterbury Tales in light of recurring critical resistance to the idea of the Decameron as a text for Chaucer.

From the Inside Flap: What was the influence of the Decameron on the genesis and shape of the Canterbury Tales? In this collection, leading scholars of Chaucer and Boccaccio offer original, provocative answers to this question in light of recurring critical resistance to the idea of the Decameron as a text for Chaucer. That resistance, informed by a model of literary influence grounded on the idea of interruption, would keep the Canterbury Tales away from the Decameron, though not the rest of Chaucer from other works by Boccaccio. In the end, of course, that resistance tells us more about Chaucer's reception since the fifteenth century than about Chaucer himself or his sources.

Individual essays in this collection examine such issues as Chaucer's place in the literary landscape of trecento Italy that included Boccaccio and Petrarch, both heirs, like Chaucer himself, to Dante's achievement; Chaucer's response to Italy -his imagining social contexts for vernacular poetry independent of court patronage; Boccaccio's and Chaucer's use of localizing techniques that situate the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales in the world around us and its history; ideas of readership and vernacular literary consolation-Boccaccio's and Chaucer's devotion to Boethius yield new understandings of the comforts of mind and body; the emergence in the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales of a subjectivity and a concept of agency shaped by the mechanisms of confession that we recognize as modern; and the falsely ascribed anticlericalism of both works.

The collection also includes essays on the relationship between specific novelle and specific "Canterbury" tales, some of which have not been linked before or examined in ways the authors here examine them: drawing the parallels, for example, between Decameron 1.1 and the Man of Law's Tale as fictions of Christian and commercial mediation; reading the Knight's Tale in light of changes in trecento historiography; examining both Decameron 10.5 and the Franklin's Tale as examples of Boccaccio's and Chaucer's rewriting of Menedon's story for other social contexts; seeing the Monk as a Boccaccio figure and his tale as an allusion within the Canterbury Tales to Boccaccio's De casibus virorum illustrium, another framed narrative to which the Decameron can be compared; and asking what the relationship might be between the Clerk's Tale and Decameron 10.10 without the intervening sources for Chaucer's work.

All this speaks to the powerful presence of the Decameron in Chaucer and to the response of both poets to a cultural climate they shared. In sum, the collection argues for the existence of a vigorous late medieval European vernacular literature in diverse languages and demonstrates productive strategies for reading Chaucer with or against Boccaccio.

About the Editors

Leonard Michael Koff teaches English and humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is an Associate of its Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Brenda Deen Schildgen teaches Comparative Literature, Italian, and Medieval and Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis.

Contributors
Peter G. Beidler
Robert R. Edwards
John M. Ganim
Linda Georgianna
Robert W. Hanning
Leonard Michael Koff
James H. Mc Gregor
Richard Neuse
Brenda Deen Schildgen
Karla Taylor
N. S. Thompson

Foreword by Giuseppe Mazzotta
Afterword by David Wallace

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
London: Associated University Presses

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Bibliographic Details

Title: The Decameron and the Canterbury Tales: New ...
Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Pr
Publication Date: 2000
Book Condition: Good

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Leonard Michael Koff; Brenda Deen Schildgen
Published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 0838638007 ISBN 13: 9780838638002
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
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Book Description Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. No Jacket. 2000 hardcover/no jacket/ex-library with usual markings/clean & unmarked text. Bookseller Inventory # 040556

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