Article published in:Keeping Ourselves Alive
[Journal of Narrative and Life History 3:2/3] 1993
► pp. 155–178
"Streght to My Matere": Rereading Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde
Abstract Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde suggests in closing that it was written "moost for wommen that bitraised be." The Freudian love of the gaze is helpful in reading for this difference, because the gaze, and the voyeurist and exhibitionist poles of scopophilic desire, have pervasive impact on Chaucer's epic. Oedipal codes are reinforced as the dominant, visual codes of written epic, framed around ambivalence toward women and language: The deception implicit in writing is likewise "built in" to women. Patriarchal society needs to control such tokens of exchange, but paradoxically, as tokens dominate exchange, their value and agentic power increases. Texts proliferate and disagree, allowing play for the agent. Often read beyond the conclusion, Criseyde (as agent) reads and writes herself as well. Thus when the poem's ending exaggerates both closure and open-endedness, leaving the audience in turmoil, it creates an open text "moost for wommen that bitraised be." (Literary criticism, psychological ap-proach; gender studies)
Published online: 04 August 2015
Dodd, W. G.
Donaldson, E. T. (Ed.)
Lewis, C. S.
Longo, J. A.
Robertson, D. W.