Synopses & Reviews
Collectively undertaking the first sustained examination of Chaucer's representation of non-human creatures since Beryl Rowland's Blind Beasts in 1971, this book connects work in critical animal studies and close-readings of Chaucer's texts. Grouped under five headings—the material creature, animal lessons, becoming-animal, contested boundaries, and cross-species discourse—the sixteen essays combine various analytical frameworks, from medieval natural science to critical animal studies. The resulting readings enlarge and re-center critical discourse not just about Chaucer's non-human animals but also about his representation of gender, genre, and the place of the human being in the universe of species.
'This invigorating collection will prompt us to rethink our assumptions about natural sciences both medieval and modern, and especially about the pervasive habit of anthropomorphizing, whether by Chaucer or by modern scholars. These essays use a range of disciplinary perspectives to take full account of what Chaucer knew and thought about the rest of the natural world. They urge us, instead of blithely appropriating Chaucerian beasts (and especially birds!) as figures for human meanings, to pause over the literal animals to see what new things they can tell us.' - Karla Taylor, University of Michigan
'Chaucer's paradoxical 'animal real' unfolds through this comprehensive investigation of nonhuman figures initially written with feathers on the parchment body in pursuit of abstract universals. The essays invigorate Chaucerian studies with arguments that suture the historiography of sentience, continental philosophy, and material culture with literary criticism. And they offer a timely corrective to the presentist orientation of interdisciplinary animal studies by foregrounding the question: why animals then?' - Susan McHugh, professor of English, University of New England
"This book of sixteen short essays offers Chaucerians an array of perspectives, some theoretically adept, others easing readers gently into critical animal studies." - The Medieval Review
"Dyke has assembled a timely collection, since critical animal studies have risen recently in status and visibility . . . this volume will likely be of some interest to researchers working on medieval attitudes toward the animal, and the brevity of the essays may make them suitable for the undergraduate classroom as well . . . Recommended." - Choice
About the Author
Carolynn Van Dyke is Francis A. March Professor of English at Lafayette College.
Table of Contents
Introduction: In Hir Corages: Chaucer and the Animal Real; C.Van Dyke
PART I: THE NATURAL CREATURE
Among All Beasts: Affective Naturalism in Late Medieval England; A.FradenburgFeathering the Text; C.FreemanShrews, Rats, and a Polecat in ?The Pardoner's Tale; S.Feinstein and N.WoodmanPART II: ANIMAL LESSONS
Chaucer's Chicks: Feminism and Falconry in ?The Knight's Tale, The Squire's Tale, and The Parliament of Fowls; S.GutmannFoiled by Fowl: The Squire's Peregrine Falcon and the Franklin's Dorigen; L.K.StockThat Which Chargeth Not to Say: Animal Imagery in Troilus and Criseyde; C.Van DykePART III: BECOMING-ANIMAL
Avian Hybridity in The Squire's Tale: Uses of Anthropomorphism; S.D.SchotlandReimagining Natural Order in The Wife of Bath's Prologue; L.WangContemplating Finitude: Animals in The Book of the Duchess; C.RomanPART IV: CONTESTED BOUNDARIES
Animal Agency, the Law of Kynde and Chaucer's Message in The Book of the Duchess; R.R.JudkinsA beest may al his lust fulfille: Naturalizing Chivalric Violence in Chaucer's Knight's Tale; J.WithersA Fourteenth-Century Ecology: The Former Age with Dindimus; K.SteelPART V: CROSS-SPECIES DISCOURSE
Chaucer's Chauntecleer and Animal Morality; M.Palmer BrowneTalking Animals, Debating Beasts; W.A.MatlockSpecies or Specious? Authorial Choices in The Parliament of Fowls; M.Ridley ElmesChaucer's Cuckoo and the Myth of Anthropomorphism; L.KordeckiAfterword: Gender, Genre, Genus; C.Van Dyke