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REVIEWS knowledge of the social distribution and ordering of all the other ideological voices of the era.2 There is certainly room in this compact study for such an examina­ tion. There are but 182 pages of text, not excluding the lengthy foot­ notes and copious quotations from Chaucer (in the mediated voice of the Riverside edition). Some chapters are inexplicably short and/or end abruptly: chapters 4 and 7 on the Knight's Tale and Monk's Tale are barely thirteen and fourteen pages, respectively; a lengthy chapter on Troilus stops short while raising the political implications of credulity to refer the reader to an earlier chapter. Chapter 5 on the Wife of Bath's Prologue is largely descriptive, despite a provocative opening that analyzes pun­ ishments meted out to verbally unruly medieval women (pp. 97-99). It is a book perhaps overcareful to acknowledge its intellectual debts; Grudin takes great pains to distinguish her ideas from those of previ­ ous critics, often employing substantial quotations to demonstrate her points. Primary sources are (nearly always) cited extensively in the orig­ inal and in translation. Such tactics are laudable in their fairmindedness and scholarly meticulousness, but the voices of Chaucer and the critics become a distracting chorus threatening to drown out the author and her ideas. I would have liked to have heard much more-in her voice. MARY F. GODFREY Fordham University BARBARA A. HANAWALT and DAVID WALLACE, eds. Bodies and Disciplines: Intersections of Literature and History in Fifteenth-Century England. Medieval Culture Series, vol. 9. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. Pp. xii, 242. $49.95 cloth, $19.95 paper. This book is essentially a proceedings volume from a 1993 conference at the University of Minnesota. That occasion brought together five lit­ erary scholars and five historians in the hope that the intersections of their shared discourse would lead to greater insight not just into the 2 Mikhail Bakhtin, "Discourse in the Novel," in The Dialogic Imagination, ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University ofTexas Press, 1981), pp. 259-422; quotation on p. 417. 265 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER writings and realities of the later medieval period, but also---and po­ tentially much more importantly-into the ways in which their two disciplines could best contribute to that end. If that hope thus provided the subtitle for the present collection, it seems potentially ominous that Ralph Hanna's first chapter should start things off with the less-than­ optimistic observation that in a modern highway system intersections are likely to prove the frequent site of "collisions and accidents, often of the mortal variety (p.l)." Happily, though, conference respondent Paul Strohm uses the book's "Afterward" to close on a more hopeful note, one that stresses that in the medieval experience such intersections were much more often, and surely more congenially, "a carrefour: a crossroad or market square, a place where roads converge and persons with dif­ ferent origins and destinations tarry for purposes of acquaintance and exchange (p. 223)." Between these two extremes come nine other essays or chapters, each of which serves to illustrate the metaphorical truth of either the Hanna or the Strohm thesis-and sometimes both. If the work manages to cover a wide range of topics, the subjects dis­ cussed appear to have been selected with an interdisciplinary focus in mind. That is, one suspects that students of literature could endlessly address the uses of metaphor without provoking a historical response just as historians could explore the niceties of the wool staple without eliciting much literary reaction. Such purely disciplinary concerns are avoided here presumably because they would not have encouraged the kind of mutual exploration that was the original conference's intent, the kind of dialogue out of which adherents of each discipline would come better to understand not only what the other had to offer on its own terms, but also how that discipline could fruitfully be employed to en­ rich the understandings of their own. In practice, however, the literary critics speak much more frequently to that intent than do the historians (and that is a comment made by one who has...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 265-269
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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