Chaucerian Tragedy

Series: Chaucer Studies (v. 24)
Paperback
This book is concerned with the medieval idea of what constituted tragedy; it suggests that it was not a common term, and that those few who used the term did not always intend the same thing by it. Kelly believes that it was Chaucer's work which shaped notions of the genre, and places his achievement in critical and historical context. He begins by contrasting modern with medieval theoretical approaches to genres, then discusses Boccaccio's concept of tragedy before turning to Chaucer himself, exploring the ideas of tragedy prevalent in medieval England and their influence on Chaucer, and showing how Chaucer interpreted the term. 'Troilus and Criseyde' is analysed specifically as a tragedy, with an account of its reception in modern times; for comparison, there is an analysis of how John Lydgate and Robert Henryson, two of Chaucer's imitators, understood and practiced tragedy. Professor HENRY ANSGAR KELLY teaches at UCLA.