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Chaucer’s Choices

Through the looking-glass of medieval imagery


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 her essay Inne obrazy (Other images), Maria Poprzęcka (2009a) reflects on the image and the human eye from the perspective of an art historian interested in the intricate relation between of human perception and memory. Highlighting the omnipresence of images in culture, and how this affects our powers of reflective observation, the scholar notes that we deal not only with images in the outside world, but that mental images permeate the human mind as well. Poprzęcka warns against favouring mental imagery over images in the external world. Such physical carriers of images support our memory and shape our imagination.

As our theoretical background falls within the framework of broadly defined Cognitive Linguistics (henceforth CL) (cf. Geeraerts and Cuyckens 2007), we concur with the experientialist view of the human mind in that humans do not have direct access to the external reality (Kövecses 2006), and the world as we see it is, in this sense, a projected reality. Since in CL linguistic meaning is equated with conceptualisation, and since concepts derive from percepts, our major research focus concerns the human mind in context, and how the idiosyncrasy of human cognition, understood as universal cognitive constraints, such as colour vision, that is, derived from the very nature of human cognitive capacities, and those that can specific to the individual, such as fallible memory, may affect linguistic usage. Specifically, we are interested in the interaction between the individual and the sociocultural world. Since this implies...

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