Chaucer and Array

March 2014
8 colour, 11 line illustrations
254 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Chaucer Studies
ISBN: 9781843843689
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BISAC LIT011000, LIT004120

Chaucer and Array

Patterns of Costume and Fabric Rhetoric in The Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde and Other Works

Laura F. Hodges

An analysis of the ways in which Chaucer uses details of costume, clothing and fabric, enhancing our understanding of and shedding fresh insights into his work.
The use Chaucer made of costume rhetoric, and its function within his body of works, are examined here for the first time. The study explores Chaucer's knowledge of the conventional imagery of medieval literary genres, especially medieval romances and fabliaux, and his manipulation of rhetorical conventions through variations and omissions. In particular, it addresses Chaucer's habit of playing upon his audience's expectations, derived from their knowledge of the literary genres involved - and why he omits lengthy passages of costume rhetoric in his romances, but includes them in some of his comedic works, It also discusses the numerous minor facets of costume rhetoric employed in decorating his texts.
Chaucer and Array responds to the questions posed by medievalists concerning Chaucer's characteristic pattern of apportioning descriptive detail in his characterization by costume. It also examines his depiction of clothing and textiles representing contemporary material culture while focusing attention on the literary meaning of clothing and fabrics as well as on their historic, economic and religious signification.

Laura F. Hodges blends her interests in medieval literature and the history of costume in her publications, specializing in the semiotics of costume and fabrics in literature. A teacher of English literature for a number of years, she holds a doctorate in literature from Rice University.

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In many ways this book reads like a culminating statement about what the field now knows about the garments that Chaucer's characters wear, and also how we got here. SPECULUM

As many folklorists are medievalists in disguise, this book should have broad appeal to us, in spite of its apparently narrow focus. There is much to be learned about historic display and apparel, and understanding just how carefully Chaucer controlled his descriptions of dress, both to elucidate characters and to provide "surprises for his audience by upsetting their expectations" (186). JOURNAL OF FOLKLORE RESEARCH

By extending her study beyond the General Prologue, Hodges provides the sole catalogue of Chaucerian costume rhetoric across his corpus. REVIEW OF ENGLISH STUDIES

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