The paradox of romance as a genre is that it contains multiple possibilities, yet remains profoundly constrained by its own terms and conventions. Through a close reading of several of Chaucer's most important works, Dr Weisl examines Chaucer's use of gender issues to explore and challenge this genre. She argues that Chaucer's complex treatment of the romance, following both continental and Middle English traditions, experiments with and tests romance conventions.
Each chapter looks indetail at one or more of Chaucer's works, examining their different approaches to the problems of gender, and showing how this is closely connected with genre. Subjects addressed include the feminised private spaces in Troilus and Criseydewhich protect Criseyde, but are inevitably penetrated by male power; the masculine imperatives of the epic which challenge the limits of the feminised romance in the Knight's Tale(and the speech of its heroine Emelye, who questions the assumptions of the genre itself); Canacee in the Squire's Tale, who rejects the stereotyped role of the heroine, and the romance world in the Tale of Sir Thopas, without a heroine at all.Dr ANGELA JANE WEISLis visiting assistant professor of English and Women's Studies at Wittenberg University, Ohio.