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REVIEWS example, makes no mention of the far-reaching challenges Emmanuel Lévinas has posed to Lacan’s ethics of neighborliness. The book also resists placing its findings on the ethics of sacrifice and desire in dialogue with the long scholarly tradition on psychoanalytic ethics, from L. S. Feuer to Ernest Wallwork to John Rajchman, whose influential work on Lacanian ethics and the historical logic of sacrifice tells a very different story from the one Fradenburg relates here. These quibbles take nothing away from Fradenburg’s accomplishments in this book. Psychoanalytic medievalism has reached its apogee in Sacrifice Your Love, which will set the course for work in this Chaucerian subfield for many years to come. Bruce Holsinger University of Colorado Douglas Gray, ed. The Oxford Companion to Chaucer. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Pp. xxvii, 526. $95.00. The Oxford Companion to Chaucer is a remarkable and henceforth indispensable book for all interested in Chaucer. It is written in a direct, plain style free from jargon and fads, available to the nonspecialist and useful to the specialist alike. It is pleasant to be able to add a fact that was not available until July 2004, namely, Professor Linne Mooney’s virtually certain identification of Adam Scriveyn, previously unknown, as the recorded scrivener Adam Pinkhurst. This was announced in a splendid lecture at the New Chaucer Society meeting in Glasgow in July 2004, soon to appear in Speculum. For anyone wishing to annotate a Chaucerian text, most of the work is done here. The basis is a splendidly empirical Oxford emphasis on the meaning of names, but it extends to eighty-seven admirable brief essays each of up to a couple of thousand words on such general topics as The Ages of Man, Estates Satire, Folk Tale, Friendship, Penance, Rhetoric, Romance, along to Wine, Women, Youth: all concise, witty, and well balanced. The only serious omission is Honor, clearly a slip because in the entry to The Knight’s Tale there is an asterisk as pointer to Honor as a general topic (p. 272). There are even two sections amounting to some three thousand words picking a path through the minefields of Chaucer Criticism old and new, paying appropriate justice to, for example, MusPAGE 309 309 ................. 11491$ CH13 11-01-10 14:02:28 PS STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER catine, author of ‘‘the masterpiece of the New Criticism,’’ to Donaldson and Robertson, along with the recent wave of feminist and ‘‘queer’’ (in every sense) criticism such as that by Dinshaw. Gray cautiously names and labels many other critics/scholars (he politely describes Brewer as ‘‘prolific’’—meaning that he publishes a lot that you do not need to read). Besides all this there are special entries on all of Chaucer’s works and on each Canterbury pilgrim and tale. Science is usually authoritatively dealt with by J. D. North, though much here remains arcane to me. The critic most often cited in the entries seems to be J. Norton Smith (1974). Versification is extensively and authoritatively discussed by E. G. Stanley. While rightly emphasizing the essential regularity of Chaucer’s meter, he makes ample room for the great variety of rhythm. Gray’s work is in that general expository tradition that goes back to the eighteenth century and before, in what one may call (he does not) the ‘‘old’’ historicism, trying to judge ‘‘each work of wit / In the same spirit that the author writ.’’ It used to be summed up in the phrase ‘‘understanding and appreciation,’’ which of course implies its own theory of literature. On the other hand, much modern criticism tries deliberately to distort or undermine what it may be argued on historical grounds was the primary original meaning, in the name of (post)modernism , political correctness, etc., Gray does indeed pay some benign attention to such (for the moment) contemporary criticism. The omission of an entry on Honor is regrettable. Honor is the underlying immensely influential ethos that underlies European medieval culture as it does other cultures. Honor sense is not quite dead in the West, for it is at bottom a classic example of a complex ‘‘trans-cultural value,’’ too intrinsic to all...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 309-312
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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