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"Little Troilus ": Heroides 5 and Its Ovidian Contexts in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde

"Little Troilus ": Heroides 5 and Its Ovidian Contexts in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde by Jamie C. Fumo HEN considering Chaucer's debt to Ovid's Heroides, it is common for our minds to fix upon that work promised by a sheepish Chaucer in the first lines of the narrative implosion that is the epilogue of Troilus and Criseyde: ``And gladlier I wol write, yif yow leste, / Penolopeës trouthe and good Alceste'' (5.1777­78).1 Chaucer appears to have relished the tension availed by the Heroides as intertext within his work--its capacity to subvert, as it does the Virgilian veneer of the Dido story in the House of Fame, or be subverted, as it is by Chaucer's flattened and de-individualized reworking of the collection of complaints in the Legend of Good Women. It is doubtful, had Chaucer agreed with the many modern readers who find the Heroides to be thin, repetitive, even boring exercises, that he would have rechannelled them into his own poetic world as strikingly as he did, and in such writerly environs as Venus's temple and Alcestis's garden. Rather, I am inclined to think that Chaucer found many of his own interests reflected in what one of the most important modern defenders of the Heroides has called ``a mirror of the relative http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

"Little Troilus ": Heroides 5 and Its Ovidian Contexts in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde

Studies in Philology , Volume 100 (3) – Apr 8, 2003

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University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © 2003 by The University of North Carolina Press.
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1543-0383
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Abstract

by Jamie C. Fumo HEN considering Chaucer's debt to Ovid's Heroides, it is common for our minds to fix upon that work promised by a sheepish Chaucer in the first lines of the narrative implosion that is the epilogue of Troilus and Criseyde: ``And gladlier I wol write, yif yow leste, / Penolopeës trouthe and good Alceste'' (5.1777­78).1 Chaucer appears to have relished the tension availed by the Heroides as intertext within his work--its capacity to subvert, as it does the Virgilian veneer of the Dido story in the House of Fame, or be subverted, as it is by Chaucer's flattened and de-individualized reworking of the collection of complaints in the Legend of Good Women. It is doubtful, had Chaucer agreed with the many modern readers who find the Heroides to be thin, repetitive, even boring exercises, that he would have rechannelled them into his own poetic world as strikingly as he did, and in such writerly environs as Venus's temple and Alcestis's garden. Rather, I am inclined to think that Chaucer found many of his own interests reflected in what one of the most important modern defenders of the Heroides has called ``a mirror of the relative

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Apr 8, 2003

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