Cover

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Series page, Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book has been very long in coming; the debts I have accrued are extensive. My first one is, and will always be, to my husband, Douglas Bruster. He reads everything that I write numerous times and always makes it better: sharper, clearer, and crisper in its articulations...

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Introduction: Mobility and Contestation

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pp. 1-42

This is a book about the pilgrimage frame of the Canterbury Tales and its means of generating stories by gathering disparate figures together. It is thus a study of the relations among tales in the poem. Pilgrimage is situated, of course, within important historical...

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1. "We Witen Nat What Thing We Preyen Heere": Desire, Knowledge, and the Ruse of Satisfaction in the Knight's Tale

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pp. 43-84

Writing about the Canterbury Tales, it is difficult not to begin with the Knight, whose long, ornate story both calls out for and has received so much critical attention. And it is perhaps Chaucer who has engineered it that way. The General Prologue narrator makes his...

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2. Misreading Like the Reeve

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pp. 85-122

Whatever else the conflict between the Knight and Miller is about, their argument is grounded in competing narratives of desire and competing ways of using language. Chaucer’s readers have long recognized the way the Miller’s fabliau replays the Knight’s...

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3. Symptoms of Desire in Chaucer's Wives and Clerks

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pp. 123-152

The Reeve’s vengeful “quiting” of the Miller is written on the bodies of the women in his story and glossed by their unwitting enjoyment, a spectacular scene throwing into relief the competitive desires of wives and clerks witnessed in fabliaux and other comic tales of...

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4. Disfigurements of Desire in Chaucer's Religious Tales

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pp. 153-202

When the Clerk offers his Petrarchan tale of patient Griselda in response to the Host and at least partially as rejoinder to the Wife of Bath’s performance, he shifts the terms of desire along the lines of a political and depersonalized definition of marriage. Technically...

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Conclusion: Reading and Misreading Chaucer

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pp. 203-206

Calling the Canterbury Tales a discourse of desire is a tricky business. To label the poem this way is at once a complex formulation and something as simple as saying the tales are intensely interested in and self-conscious about language. At one point, this book was merely an...

Bibliography

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pp. 207-218

Index

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pp. 219-226

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Other Titles in the Series

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p. 227

Interventions: New Studies in Medieval Culture publishes theoretically informed work in medieval literary and cultural studies. We are interested both in studies of medieval culture and in work on the continuing importance of medieval tropes and topics in contemporary intellectual life...

Back Cover

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