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Ethics and Exemplary Narrative in Chaucer and Gower : Chaucer Studies - J. Allan Mitchell

Ethics and Exemplary Narrative in Chaucer and Gower

Chaucer Studies

Hardcover Published: 14th October 2004
ISBN: 9781843840190
Number Of Pages: 166

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Why do medieval writers routinely make use of exemplary rhetoric? How does it work, and what are its ethical and poetical values? And if Chaucer and Gower must be seen as vigorously subverting it, then why do they persist in using it? Borrowing from recent developments in ethical criticism and theory, this book addresses such questions by reconstructing a late medieval rationale for the ethics of exemplary narrative. The author argues that Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Gower's Confessio Amantis attest to the vitality of a narrative - rather than strictly normative - ethics that has roots in premodern traditions of practical reason and rhetoric. Chaucer and Gower are shown to be inheritors and respecters of an early and unexpected form of ethical pragmatism - which has profound implications for the orthodox history of ethics in the West.
Recipient of the 2008 John H. Fisher Award for significant contribution to the field of Gower Studies.

Dr J. ALLAN MITCHELL teaches in the Department of English, University of Victoria.

Industry Reviews

A very interesting book [from which] Chaucer critics are sure to benefit. ANGLIA Thoughtful and interesting. [...] Throughout this accomplished study Mitchell's reading of both Chaucer and Gower is attentive and acute. MEDIUM AEVUM An important new book. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW [A] fine and thoughtful contribution. ENGLISH STUDIES, vol. 89, no. 3, June 2008

Reading for the moral : controversies and trajectoriesp. 8
Rhetorical reason : cases, conscience, and circumstancesp. 22
Gower for example : Confessio Amantis and the measure of the casep. 36
All that is written for our doctrine : proof, remembrance, consciencep. 61
Moral Chaucer : ethics of exemplarity in the Canterbury talesp. 79
Pointing the moral : the friar, summoner, and pardoner's satirep. 94
Griselda and the question of ethical monstrosityp. 116
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781843840190
ISBN-10: 1843840197
Series: Chaucer Studies
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 166
Published: 14th October 2004
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.77 x 16.51  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.42