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The Shaping of English Poetry – Volume IV

Essays on 'The Battle of Maldon', Chrétien de Troyes, Dante, 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' and Chaucer

Gerald Morgan

This fourth volume of essays under the title The Shaping of English Poetry consolidates the work of the previous three volumes on the great subjects of English literature in the Medieval and Renaissance periods. The Norman Conquest of England built upon the rich foundation of Anglo-Saxon England but did not destroy it; thus the present volume begins with the commemoration of English heroism in The Battle of Maldon. In the late twelfth century we encounter in Chrétien de Troyes's seminal romance Le Chevalier de la Charrete a new kind of hero in Lancelot, abject and obedient before his mistress, although Chrétien himself is not an uncritical admirer of the sanctity of adulterous love. Hence the importance of Dante's exposition of love in Purgatorio, XVIII, which forms a background to the essays here on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Parliament of Fowls. The volume concludes with essays on Chaucer's Knight's, Monk's and Nun's Priest's Tales, which form part of a long-term project to interpret the Canterbury Tales as a unified whole and not merely a series of fragments awaiting revision on Chaucer's death.


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Abercromby, Ralph, 164 Abu Saïd, 186n21 Acre, 170 Actium, Battle of (31 B.C.), 274 Aethelred [the Unready], xxii, 3 Æthelstan, 5 Agincourt, Battle of (1415), 183 Alan of Lille/Alanus de Insulis: De planctu Naturae, 126, 127 Albigensian crusade (1209–1229), 174 Alexander the Great, 241 Alexandria: attack on (1365), 162, 168–9, 172, 176; fall of, 169, 253 Battle of (1801), 164 Alfonso XI of Castile, 165 Algeçiras, 166 siege of (1342–1344), 165, 185n12, 226n7 Almeria, 166, 172 American Civil War, 4, 27 Anatolia, 168 Anderson, J. J., 86–7, 99n6 Andreas Capellanus: De amore, 111 Andrew II of Hungary, 170 Andrew, M., 99n6 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 1–2, 15–16, 162 Anlaf, 5 Antalya, 168, 169, 176, 188n31, 253 Antiochus IV, King of Syria, 241, 260–1 anti-Semitism, 150 Aquinas, xxiv, xxv, 131, 139 Contra Gentiles, 72 In de anima, 73, 75, 76, 80n17, 106, 115 Summa theologiae, xxviii, 67n23, 87, 114, 132, 133, 157n13, 242; on interior sense powers, 70–2, 74, 76–7, 79nn7,9, 224, 293; rejection of doctrine of World Soul, 126; on virtue, 50, 53 Aquitaine, 186n21 Aries, 155 Aristotle, xxvii, 82, 87, 105, 126, 132, 224, 275 De anima, 79n6 Categories, 89 De memoria et reminiscentia, 79n6 Nicomachean Ethics, xxvi, 52, 84 Poetics, 140 Rhetorica, 273–4. See also Chaucer, and Armenia, Lesser, 168 Arnold, Matthew: Dover Beach (1867), 130 ‘The Study of Poetry’ (1880), 130 Artois, 176 Atatürk, Mustafa Kemal, 2 Attalus II of Pergamon, 188n31 Attila, 16...

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