restricted access Approaches to Teaching the Arthurian Tradition ed. by Maureen Fries, Jeanie Watson (review)
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REVIEWS us what the social should mean to us" (p. 132), to be particularly disappointing. The concluding chapter 10 is more lively, however. Beginning with an interesting analogy between Chaucer's poem and Richard Strauss's Ariadne au/Naxos, Frantzen proceeds to remark on Luce Irigaray's thesis regarding the relation ofwomen's pleasure to material circumstances and nonaccess to the symbolic order. Frantzen does well in his summary assessment of Cri­ seyde. Following Carolyn Dinshaw, he unsettles moralistic evaluations of Criseyde: "The price of her participation in the symbolic order, demon­ strated by her function in the social order, is her silence" (p. 136). Were Strauss's Zerbinetta to assess Criseyde's fate, she would know better than to try "to fit Criseyde's circumstances into a rigid, moralistic framework" (p. 137). In his summary evaluation of Troilus as hero, Frantzen again calls on Irigaray, particularly her remarks about "masculine language," to challenge Chaucerians-"guilty liberals, many of them, eager to find in Chaucer another guilty liberal like themselves" (p. 138)-who address gender issues with one-sided blinders. We need to do more than simply champion "op­ pressed women," he argues, and begin to listen to Chaucer's men with as much attentiveness as we have recently studied his women. RUSSELL A. PECK University of Rochester MAUREEN FRIES and JEANIE WATSON, eds. Approaches to Teaching the Arthurian Tradition. Approaches to Teaching World Literature, vol. 40. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1992. Pp. xi, 195. $34.00 cloth, $19.00 paper. A senior colleague in our department suggested to me in 1986 that I present two courses--one undergraduate, one graduate--on the Arthurian tradition. I was sufficiently ignorant of the tradition to think that the courses would be easy to prepare and teach. I learned better. I found myself entangled in primary works in medieval German, French, and English; in Tennyson's Idylls; and, from my own century, in works by T. H. White, Stewart, Berger, and others. I also found almost no guide to teaching Mal­ ory. William J. Connelly's two-page "Teaching Malory's Morte Darthur" 199 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER (Avalon to Camelot 2, no. 2 (1986}: 42--43) and the friendly advice ofSally K. Slocum at a conference were the only resources I could draw on. New teachers of Malory can still draw on Connelly's essay. Thanks to Approaches to Teaching the Arthurian Tradition, they can also draw on Slocum's advice ("Arthur the Great Equalizer," pp. 127-30) and, moreover, find a great many other guides to teaching Arthur at all levels, including secondary school. As with the other Approaches to Teaching . . . texts from the MLA, this one opens with "Part One: Materials." Fries begins the section with "Texts for Teaching" and then turns to "Readings." The "Texts" range from Geoffrey ofMonmouth and the Mabinogion through medieval French and German works up to English-language Arthurian works medieval and modern. Where appropriate, she lists both original-language sources and modern translations and adds a section on anthologies. Her "Readings" section lists background titles (The Consolation ofPhilos­ ophy, On Christian Doctrine) and major critical works (e.g., Larry Benson's Malory's Morte Darthur). She also lists the major journals devoted to Ar­ thuriana. The later "Works Cited" supplements this section with a well­ selected list ofmajor critical studies running up to 1991 (pp. 165-88). An "Aids to Teaching" section, discussing projects ranging from medieval feasts to slide shows, closes part 1. Fries opens part 2, "Approaches," by introducing the essays to follow. She adds a section on projects, papers, and assignments but does not in­ clude examination questions (as, for example, Miriam Youngerman Miller and Jane Chance do in their Approaches book on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). The "Approaches" section then turns to "Teaching the Backgrounds," with three essays. "Teaching the King Arthur of History and Chronicle," by Norris J. Lacy, and "Arthur and the Green World," by Alan T. Gay­ lord, discuss the Arthur of post-Roman Britain and the Arthur of the Celtic tradition. These essays lead up to Raymond H. Thompson's "Modern Visions and Revisions ofthe Matter ofBritain," which begins...