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Constructing Compilations of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Constructing Compilations of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Chapter:
(p.155) Chapter Three Constructing Compilations of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Source:
Fragments and Assemblages
Author(s):
Arthur Bahr
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226924922.003.0004

This chapter presents a reading of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The first section analyzes Chaucer's decision to use one of his earlier, self-standing poems as the Knight's Tale. The second section argues that, even as Fragment I uses the quyting drama of its headlinks to ensure its codicological integrity, it invites us to contemplate the construction of alternate tale orderings, referred to as threads, that would radiate outward from the Knight's Tale if and when the storytelling contest runs aground. The trajectory traced by Fragment I suggests disillusionment with the notion that the idealized, socially reinforcing courtly performances central to the Knight's Tale could be effectively translated into “oure cite” of Chaucer's London.

Keywords:   medieval manuscripts, knight's tale, threads, fragment I

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