Notes to Muscatine, "The Knight's Tale."

 

 

20 The ensuing remarks are adapted and slightly condensed from my "Form, Texture and Meaning in Chaucer's Knight's Tale:" PMLA, LXV (1950), 9II-929. For fuller bibliography and more minute documentation the reader is referred thereto. I must also refer here to three essays, published earlier but unknown to me at the time of first writing, which anticipate and are a least partly confirmed by the present interpretation: W. H. French, "The Lovers in the Knight's Tale," JEGP XLVIII (I949), 320-3z8; H. S. Wilson, "The Knight's Tale and the Teseida Again," UTQ, XVIII (I949), '3r-146; and most important, William Frost, "An Interpretation of Chaucer's Knight's Tale," RES, XXV (1949), 289-304.

21 See, respectively, H. N. Fairchild, "Active Arcite, Contemplative Palamon," JEGP, XXVI (1927), 285-293; J. S. P. Tatlock, The Development and Chronology of Cbaucer's Works (London, 1907), pp. 232-233.

22 J. R. Hulbert, "What Was Chaucer's Aim in the Knight's Tale?" SP, XXVI (1929), 375, 380, 385.

Root, Chaucer, pp. 169, I71-172.

See Walter Clyde Curry, Chaucer and the Mediaeval Sciences (Oxford Univ. Press, 1926), pp. 124-126.

25 See Robert A. Pratt, "Chaucer's Use of the Teseida," PMLA, LXII (1947), 615, n. 6o.

26 Pratt, "Teseida," pp. 617-620.

27 In the supernatural signs, KnT 2265-67, 2333-40, and particularly Saturn's speech, KnT 2453 ff., where the nature of Arcite's death is forecast.

28 Frost, "Interpretation," p. 293: "Much of the beauty of the Knight's Tale ... resides in a certain formal regularity of design"; p. 299: "The recurrent occasions of life for people of such condition as this are ceremonious, their actions at such times being imbued with the piety of ancient ritual"; p. 300 (quoting KnT 2847-49: "This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo..."): "The sentiment is a commonplace. . . it nevertheless has power in the Knight's Tale because that poem, although its plot is concerned with success in love and its setting pictures aristocratic splendours, presents on the whole such an abiding and various image of 'every wordly soore."'

29 Curry, Mediaeval Sciences, pp. 130-139, shows that the physiognomies of Lygurge and Emetrius, in line with the precise astrological correspondences of the poem, are respectively those of "Saturnalian" and "Martian" men. Curry asserts (p. 120) "that the real conflict behind the surface action of the story is a conflict between the planets Saturn and Mars." But this is to mistake the cosmic symptoms for the disease itself.

30 Cf. Frost, "Interpretation, pp-294, 297-298.

31 Agnes K. Getty, "Chaucer's Changing Conceptions of the Humble Lover," PMLA, XLIV (1929), 210-212.

32 See W. H. French, "Lovers," p. 327; Wilson, "Knight's Tale," pp. 142-143; and my article in PMLA, LXV, 925.

33 It should be noted that Saturn's role is purely Chaucer's addition to the story, as are also many of the unfortunate exemplary figures in the temple descriptions; see Pratt, "Teseida," p. 618. Frost, "Interpretation," p. 300, points out the functionalism of these descriptions.

34 See Frost, "Interpretation," PP- 302-304; Charles A Owen, Jr., "Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: Aesthetic Design in Stories of the First Day," English Studies, XY-XV (1954), 49-56.

 

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