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STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER tice, for some of Chaucer’s poems but which is not discussed). Chaucer’s range and richness are not of course to be caught in a reference book even as good as this and such omissions are not to be taken as serious adverse criticism, or, I hope, as a captious desire to paint the lily by gilding it with refined gold. There is only one error that I noticed (nine minor misprints are insignificant in so large and magisterial a work). The error is the entry on Artoys. The Knight is said to have fought there, that is, in Flaundres and in Picardie, whereas a major point in his portrayal, as somewhat less clearly emerges in the entry on the Knight himself, is precisely that he has never fought in France (like so many of Chaucer’s fellow courtiers and Chaucer himself ), but only on the borders of or beyond Christendom . In the entry on Artoys, he has become confused with the Squire. One might also query the entries on the identification of Ruce and Pruce in the formal description of the Knight (see Derek Brewer, ‘‘Chaucer’s Knight as Hero and Machaut’s Prise d’Alexandrie.’’ in Heroes and Heroines in Medieval English Literature, ed. L. Carruthers [Cambridge, 1994]). The full entry on the Knight rightly dismisses recent nonsense about him being presented as a mercenary thug. The comments on the Squire have a similar polite robustness. Gray’s work includes sketch maps, some tables, and a useful, if inevitably incomplete, bibliography. It is beautifully produced, yet another instance of OUP’s outstanding contribution to Chaucerian studies over many years. There are other excellent Companions to Chaucer studies already available, by aventure yfalle/ In felaweshipe, like the Canterbury pilgrims, like them with their own differences, being based on different principles of compilation (and perhaps I ought to confess an interest in one). Chaucer may be said to have a genial relationship to each. They do not cancel each other out, but Gray’s work will always be a monument of learned and civilized literary Companionship. Derek Brewer Cambridge University Suzanne C. Hagedorn. Abandoned Women: Rewriting the Classics in Dante, Boccaccio, and Chaucer. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004. Pp. ix, 220. $60.00. Suzanne Hagedorn constructs a compelling case for the richly complex medieval reception of Ovid’s theme of abandoned women, as well as for PAGE 312 312 ................. 11491$ CH13 11-01-10 14:02:30 PS REVIEWS the comparative thinness of our knowledge of that reception. In a series of detailed, witty, and insightful readings, she demonstrates the pervasive and often unsuspected lines of influence, echo, and transmission that link the authors of her title to one another and to their common classical past. Not the least of her achievements in this book is to delineate a Chaucer who is very much a European writer. This Chaucer, rather than writing under the tutelary influence of Italian sources, emerges as an author fully their companion in the project of late medieval adaptation of classical sources. All wrote within a received tradition that they altered to suit their present and various literary purposes. Such writers in turn imply an audience not only literate but also familiar with the particular literary traditions they appropriate, an audience sensitive to the potential significance of ellipses, shifts, and lacunae. Audience and reception are central in this work. At the beginning of the book, Hagedorn lays out the theoretical context in which she has read the works she discusses. Given the essential project of the book, to argue the presence of literary tradition in the most elliptical and apparently skewed medieval narratives of classical stories, her invocation of Eco, Iser, and Jauss signals her interest in reception as well as in creation . Her argument depends upon a critical aesthetic of reader response and semiotic dynamics that in turn assumes a degree of uniformity in the referents, interpretants, and signifieds that late medieval audiences would have called forth as, for example, they heard echoes of Penelope’s timor in Criseyde’s fear. The project of this book, to recover the ‘‘powerful and sympathetic views of women’’ to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 312-315
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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