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STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER Poetics." Related to this group of five isJulian Wasserman's "Weavers and Wordsmiths, Tapestries and Translations." Here we have an epitome of approaches to medievalliterature and a presentation ofseventeen cruxes or ambiguous elements in Gawain. Wasserman thendiscussesfour things the poem might be: a chivalric handbook, a holiday tale, a Celtic story reflecting fertility myth, or Gawain as Everyman on a spiritual journey. Wasserman's essay illuminates the other twenty-two and gains from their more limited treatment of specifics. The next grouping concentrates on the lower-division undergraduate course with essays byJohn Fyler, Rosemary Ascher!, SherronE.Knopp, and Katharina Wilson on SGGK in composition courses, surveys for non­ majors, surveys for majors, and in world literature classes. Four essays then deal with teaching Gawain in translation to upper-division students. Peggy A. Knapp speaks of history and genre, Victoria Weiss of Arthur and Camelot.Jane Chance of Tolkien and his sources, andJohn M. Ganim of the poem and literary criticism.Julia Bolton Holloway, Penelope Doob, Jeffrey F. Huntsman, Anne Howland Schotter, and Edward Irving present approaches to Gawain in the original for dual-level and graduate courses. Medieval culture, Ricardian poetry, Celtic heritage, and the Alliterative Revival are their respective concerns. The final section of approaches in­ cludes Marie Borroffon "Reading the Poem Aloud" and Donald K. Fry and Judith Bronfman with separate essays on visual aids and projects. The final essay plans a medieval banquet. Here Patricia Moody gives us everything fromsouptonuts.This, ofcourse, is what Professors Miller and Chance and the respondents to their survey have given us-a full course, SGGK as a medieval feast of Celtic folklore, Arthurian tradition, and Christian the­ ology. The contributors to this volume each provide a key (or keys) to translate the poet's vision of the world and the human response to its challenges. They and the editors remind us ofour own sources of enthusi­ asm for Gawain and give us methods for transmitting that enthusiasm to a new generation of the poem's students. WILLIAM F. POLLARD Kentucky State University CHARLES MUSCATINE. The OldFrench Fabliaux. New Haven, Conn., and London: Yale University Press, 1986. Pp. xii, 219. $24.00. Charles Muscatine is known for having given serious thought to the matter of the fabliaux for many years, at least since 1957, when his Chaucer and 238 REVIEWS the French Tradition appeared, and he has continued to contribute to our appreciation ofthe genre in intervening years: two chapters ofthe present book appeared elsewhere previously, in 1976 and 1981. Given this contin­ ued interest, it is not surprising that the author moves about his subject with ease and certainty: the major twentieth-century critical studies on the fabliaux have been thoroughly assimilated and evaluated, and the knowl­ edge of the corpus is evident throughout as the author isolates pertinent examples to illustrate a point. Muscatine is very well qualified, then, to introduce the interestedreader to thismedievalgenre, which haselicited as much scholarlyinterest as any other genre in Old French literature and for which a scholarly overview has not been readily available in English. Thus Muscatineperformsa useful service byprovidingtheEnglishreader a list of the standard collections offabliaux (pp. xi-xii) and a list ofthe individual works (pp. 201-14), 170 of which are identified. Muscatine's opening chapter, "The Genre and Its Literary Background," introduces us to the much-debated question of the origin of the genre: When did fabliaux first appear, who wrote them, where, in what form and in what collections have they come down to us? Some replies are: Clerks probably wrote them, and the tales were told but collected by medieval aficionados. Their sources are lost in time for the most part, ifindeed they do have a literary antecedent; they reflect life as it really was in the social classes below the noble ones. In tone and predilections the fabliaux have much in common with other genres,especially with the Roman de Renart, and, indeed, with such nonvernacular works as the medieval Latin "come­ dies." This chapter also draws our attention to one ofthe problems associ­ ated with any discussion of the genre: When does a fabliaux end and another genre (fable, dit, esample...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 238-242
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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