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Reviews187 cast shadows," and "language has litde truck widi idealistic purity" (p. 73). In his discussion ofiterance, he shows how repetition and replacement are central in Othello. Othello and Desdemona attempt to fashion and sustain their identities by repetition, but Iago, die great replacer, sees everyone as alike, lacking the private property of a unique self, and hence interchangeable. Calderwood concludes with an examination of Iago's character and motives, arguing that "Iago stands for mediation, for inbetweenness and the shaped made-up-ness of things" (p. 113). He is thus a metacharacter, a walking lie who, Janus-like, reveals artifice to the audience but "reality" to the characters on stage with him. His motive is thus Shakespeare's—that is, aesthetic disinterestedness in the fashioning of an effective drama. This book is distinguished by its intellectual vigor and erudition, its humane good sense, and its graceful style. For anyone interested in Othello, it belongs alongside Robert Heilman's classic study of die play's imagery, Magic in the Web. Willamette UniversityWilbur S. Braden From Topic to Tale: Logic and Narrativity in the Middle Ages, by Eugene Vance; xxxiii & 131 pp. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987, $25.00 cloth, $12.95 paper. Eugene Vance offers here an array of novel approaches to explain the sea change that occurred in twelfth-century France and the fundamental differences that exist between the Chanson de Roland and the romances of Chrétien de Troyes. From Topic to Tale is a book that presents interesting hypotheses and shows flashes of insight, although some may wish the author had produced additional proof in support of his views. Reprising a position he took in an earlier study, Vance suggests that the second part of the Rofond is characterized by a less bellicose ethos than the first. This, he maintains, was brought about in part by increasing vernacular literacy as shown by Charlemagne's decision to commemorate the hero and the Twelve Peers not in song but in white marble tombs "that will presumably bear written inscriptions" (p. xxii; referred to, p. 7, as "monumental literacy"). On the other hand, in the Chevalier de la charrette, Lancelot not only reads what is written on his tomb but peers into it ("hermeneutical" literacy). After the batde of Roncevaux , Charlemagne discovers his nephew's body "fixed in its monumental posture ofdefiance even in death" whereas, in Yvain, some noble maidens recognize 188Philosophy and Literature the naked and stricken hero, sleeping in the forest, by a scar on his face, "the inscription of previous feats of arms on his flesh" (p. 81). Vance affirms that Chrétien found models for his writing in the trivium but, unlike most critics, focuses on grammar and logic rather than on rhetoric. Yvain differs from Calogrenant in that the latter merely recounts his story while the courtly hero reworks and perfects it. Chretien's interest in logic is shown when, at the beginning oiErec etEnide, Guenevere and Gawain discuss die significance ofYder's approach and, in Yvain, by Laudine's internal debate and by the poet's musings about Yvain and Gawain both loving and hating as they unwittingly fight each other. The argument between Reason and Love as Lancelot hesitates to mount the cart, I would add, points to the same kind of influence. A discussion of topical dieory as found in Boethius takes up a great deal of room in chapter four, and chapter five is devoted to showing how the first part of Yvain, ou h chevalier au lion can be read as an illustration of Abelard's proposition "Si est homo, est animal" (If it is human, it is an animal). As for the transition of the hero of this romance from man-beast to lion-knight, Vance underlines the importance of grasping the several meanings associated with the lion's animality and concludes with a discourse on its totemic, or "heraldic" sense. Chrétien does say the lion actually figures on Yvain's shield in this romance , but Vance believes the beast functions as a heraldic emblem anyway in that, even though an arbitrary device, it identifies its bearer as belonging to a specific social group (the high aristocracy...


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pp. 187-188
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