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STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER Winchester text must have appealed to people like Plouden because of its practical and logical structure, indicating which veinstoopen for what sorts of illnesses. Thus the shift from an Oxford or Cambridge to a London milieu is not as startling as might at first appear. There are a few misprints, inaccuracies, and omissions in this mono­ graph. For example, "ld" in n. 1 should read "id," "is is" in n. 62 should read "it is," and one wonders whether the Middle English word scrorte on p. 15 should read schorte. One does not "ligature" a limb but rather ligates it. The Milan facsimile ofJohn Ketham's Fascicu!us Medicinae was edited by Sudhoff and translated by Singer. M. R. James's edition of the York Austins' library catalogue occurs in a workcalled Fascicu!us. .. dicatus, and is now being reedited by K. W. Humphreys. Volumes of the Early English Text Society would be easier to find if the letters indicating Extra or Ordinary Series were consistently added before the volume numbers, cf. no. 54 and 95. It would be less confusing to indicate that Constantine Africanus translated Isaac Israeli or Judaeus, instead of separating "Con­ stantine's Pantechni" in the paragraph on p. 24 from the "medical au­ thorit[y]" Isaac Israeli. Moreover, though it does not contain material on blood letting, the edition of book 1 of the Pantechni by M. T. Malato and U. de Martini (1961) is the only modern one and should probably be cited. Also, Charles C. Clark, "The Zodiac Man in Medieval Medical Astrology" (Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado, 1979), makes a recent companion study to Harry Bober's work on these drawings. Aside from these minor points, Voigts and McVaugh have given us a valuable study of medieval phlebotomy and one which will be very useful to Chaucerians as well as to a variety of medievalists. JOHN B. FRIEDMAN University of Illinois WINTHROP WETHERBEE. Chaucer and the Poets: An Essay on Trozlus and Criseyde. Ithaca, N.Y., and London: Cornell University Press, 1984. Pp. 249. $22.50. The modest subtitle to Wetherbee's new book masks its importance, its ambition, and its significant originality. We have here not a mere "essay" 262 REVIEWS but a learned, lucid, and entirely serious attempt to relocate the center of Chaucer's poetics. Ifreaders can accept the author's first footnote "'Mak­ ing' seems to have meant to Chaucer the production of literary work that meets the demand of one's own society to be edified, pleased, and re­ freshed ...'Poetry' meant the work of poetae, the classical poets and Dante," p. 18), they are likely to accept most of all of the book's elegant argument, which, in necessarily crude summary, is as follows. Chaucer's narrator, a "courtly" maker, set offwithout realizing it to write a book for which the actual sources were not making but poetry. By the end ofthe third book his ambitions as alovemakerare pretty well spent, and he is demoralized before the task ofcopingwith Troilus's increasingly morose situation. Only at the very end does the work shift gears into the overdrive ofpoetry, so to speak, the status to which Chaucer aspires but ofwhich his narrator is innocent.The catalytic agency is the Commedia of Dante, the powerful presence of which in the Troilus Wetherbee demonstrates with exhilarating authority. Furthermore, for Chaucer, Dante reaches back through history to claim Statius, rather as he had in the Purgatorio, so that the materials incorporated in the Troz/us from the Thebaidlikewise have a special "poetic" character. Virgil and Ovid, too-the first the inspirer of Statius and the guide ofDante, the latter the great anthologist ofclassical myth-claimtheir distinctive roles as "poets." Even this spare rehearsal ofa few of Wetherbee's principal topics will suggest something of the wide­ ranging ambition ofhis book, though it cannot suggest its graceful learn­ ing, its ingenuity ofargument, or its detailed command ofthe texts central to its inquiry.Its pages on Virgil, Ovid, and Statius are clearly among the most informed studies yet published on "Chaucer and the classics," and its important chapter on the Roman de la Rose makes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 262-267
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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