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Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages
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Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages: Ethics and the Mixed Form in Chaucer, Gower, Usk, and Hoccleve

Eleanor Johnson


Literary scholars often avoid the category of the aesthetic in discussions of ethics, believing that purely aesthetic judgments can vitiate analyses of a literary work's sociopolitical heft and meaning. This book reveals that aesthetics—the formal aspects of literary language that make it sense-perceptible—are indeed inextricable from ethics in the writing of medieval literature. It brings a keen formalist eye to bear on the prosimetric form: the mixing of prose with lyrical poetry. This form descends from the writings of the sixth-century Christian philosopher Boethius—specifically his famous ... More

Keywords: aesthetics, ethics, literary language, medieval literature, prosimetric form, prose, lyrical poetry, boethius, consolation of philosophy, vernacular traditions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780226015842
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226015989.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Eleanor Johnson, author