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Chaucer’s Choices

Through the looking-glass of medieval imagery

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Katarzyna Stadnik

The monograph discusses the relation between language and visual culture, focusing on two Chaucerian narratives, «Knight’s Tale» and «Troilus and Criseyde». The study highlights the significance of the continuity of imagery in language and material culture for cultural transmission, providing insights into the relation between Chaucer’s linguistic usage and the late medieval symbolic tradition. Undertaken within the Cognitive Linguistic framework, the research indicates the usefulness of adopting a panchronic perspective on the development of language and culture.
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In the monograph, we have explored the issue of the continuity of culture viewed as a cognitive system, encompassing human knowledge, beliefs, and values existing in the minds individuals as community members. In adopting the situated cognition perspective, we have shown how selected ideas from the field can inform our Cognitive Linguistic analysis of historical data. Particularly useful have been the conceptions of distributed cognition and the related notion of external representation, as well as the idea of extended cognition such that human cognitive activity can be viewed as embedded in culture.

We have made the caveat that our study has not been intended to bridge gaps between various strains of research within the situated cognition framework. Rather, we have included in our monograph selected research problems examined in the field of situated cognition, which we have considered pertinent to our discussion of the role of language and visual culture in the maintenance of the community’s conceptual order. In so doing, we have contended that from our Cognitive Linguistic perspective it is inevitable to examine how language use can be correlated with visual culture. Both linguistic and visual resources have been shown to serve as memory carriers instrumental in sustaining the continuity of culture. The notion of memory has been crucial for our investigation insofar as linguistic usage has been linked with the idea of embodied simulation, while external representations from visual culture have been argued to contain the community’s perceptually-based knowledge. As a result, the...

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