An approach to characterization in Chaucer

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Marcia Anne Baumgaertner (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
James Wimsatt

Abstract: Criticism of Chaucer's characters in Troilus and Criseyde has been profoundly marked by a controversy over the nature of Chaucer's approach to poetics. On the one hand, there are those critics who approach Chaucer from the modern standpoint, seeking to find in him affinities with nineteenth-century imitative realism. On the other hand, there are those critics who approach Chaucer from a classical standpoint, emphasizing the fixed nature of his poetic and its didactic quality. Members of the first group often ignore the controlling system of theological value which so often surrounds and informs Chaucer's characters, while the second group overemphasizes that system to the extent that Chaucer is construed as having shunned the depiction of any subjective feeling in characterization. It seems to me, however, that Chaucer's characters, although controlled by a strong theological framework, also evince psychological states of joy, grief, and willing. In fact, the theological tradition out of which Chaucer writes allows--even directly facilitates--the depiction of subjective feeling in characterization.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1977
Chaucer, Geoffrey, $d d. 1400 $x Criticism and interpretation
Chaucer, Geoffrey, $d d. 1400 $x Characters
Chaucer, Geoffrey, $d d. 1400. $t Troilus and Criseyde

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