|Title||Chaucer: Blurring and Creating Borders|
|Date/Time||Wednesday 6 July 2022: 11.15-12.45|
|Organiser||IMC Programming Committee|
|Moderator/Chair||Kenna L. Olsen, Department of English, Mount Royal University, Alberta|
|Paper 1119-a||'Drunkenness is the very sepulchre of human judgement': Intoxication and the Permeable Borders of Mind and Body in The Canterbury Tales
J. David Clemis, Department of Humanities, Mount Royal University, Alberta
Index Terms: Historiography - Medieval; Medicine; Mentalities; Science
|Paper 1119-b||Literary and Social Border Crossings in The Canterbury Tales
Kathleen Burt, Department of English, Middle Georgia State University
Index Terms: Gender Studies; Language and Literature - Middle English; Social History
|Paper 1119-c||Who Is Speaking?: Narrator and Auctorite in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde
Abby Williamson, Department of English, University of Texas at San Antonio
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Middle English; Learning (The Classical Inheritance)
While Chaucer has been seen to have a particularly modern understanding of 'alcoholism' and the sociability of drinking (Bowers, 1990; and Earnshaw, 2000), this paper locates Chaucer's presentations of drunkenness within the wider context of the period's medical and legal writing. Chaucer's rendering of intoxication and chronic drinking is revealing of a late medieval materialism consistent with the period's Hippocratic/ Galenic understandings of the relationship between the condition of the body and the formation of mental states. Despite differences in their moral and epistemological frames, there are interesting points of resonance between Chaucer's understanding of chronic drinking and recent neuroscientifically informed addiction theory.
The pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales are often interpreted according to expectations of class, profession, and gender. Looking beyond the 'General Prologue' to the inter-tale discussions reveals that there are in fact two different sets of social standards present. Addressing the borders between the tales by considering how the boundaries between the various pilgrims are maintained or obscured shows two general types of social expectation: the official standards established by the profession and those unofficially set by social stereotype, frequently more indirectly stated and negative. The pilgrim interactions between tales provides the space for these social borders to be explored and in some cases blurred.
Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde disrupts the medieval notion of auctorite. While the 'history' of Troy and the two lovers should be based on histories of antiquity, Chaucer's narrator continuously undermines such notions and with it auctorite. Through the narrator's own sentimental interruptions and invocations of authorship by both audience and characters such as Pandarus, the lines between history/story and historian/storyteller become unstable. The creation of such instability in who exactly is telling the story is a method of satirising the notion of historical truth and the fantasy of auctorite in historical antiquity.