Tropical narratives : Studies in a fifteenth-century poetic of desire and writing

W. Glover, B.
(1986) Tropical narratives : Studies in a fifteenth-century poetic of desire and writing. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This thesis seeks to re-evaluate the role of trope in English late-medieval poetic narratives. The main texts included in this study are The Floure and the Leafe, The Assembly of Ladies, Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, Lydgate's Temple of Glas, The Kingis Quair, Skelton's Bowge of Court and Garlande or Chapelet of Laurell, and The Isle of Ladies. Material drawn from other latemedieval texts is used for comparative and illustrative purposes. Study of these texts suggests that trope should be approached as a constitutive element of narrative structure, and so, while a particular use of familiar trope emerges in this study, the thesis also offers a methodology of reading which may be useful for understanding late-medieval narrative poems in general. One of the major issues discussed in the thesis is the relation of the individual text to a poetic discourse which is seen as pre-given and in determining relation to narrative structures. The thesis traces the emergence of a range of metaphors for the discussion of poetic and linguistic issues in narrative poems themselves. In particular, images of navigation are isolated as a major metaphorics of writing seen as an activity which engages with a problematics of the control of a pre-given discourse. Thus the thesis identifies the use made of trope, in a fifteenth-century poetic, to provide a comprehensive language for the discussion of meta-fictional and meta-linguistic issues. The introductory chapter examines the implications for fifteenth-century narrative of its response to an inherited (mainly) Chaucerian poetic discourse. The second section of this chapter also provides a study of the possible role of trope in narrative texts. The claim that trope is a constitutive element of narrative structures is tested by a reading of The Floure and the Leafe in section three of this chapter. In section four The Assembly of Ladies is studied as a text which exemplifies fifteenth-century narrative poems' selfconsciousness about the writing process. Chapter Two examines Chaucer's strategies towards lyric trope in Troilus and Criseyde, and then discusses Lydgate's reading of those strategies of The Temple of Glas. The objective of this chapter is to point out some of the different responses to the use of lyric tropes in poetic narrative. In Chapter Three The Kingis Quair is studied as a text which fictionalises the pleasure and confidence which may accrue from the 'mastery' or control of poetic discourse both past and present. In contrast, in Chapter Four, Skelton's Bowge of Courte presents a fiction of the anxieties of writing within a specific, prescribed poetic discourse. In this poem Skelton generates a narrative from the use of the typical anxieties of the conventional modesty topos. Skelton's Garlande or Chapelet of Laurell, provides a contrast to The Bowge for while it uses similar metaphors for its discussion of poetic issues, it constructs a fiction of poetic virtuosity; of over-confidence rather than high anxiety. Finally, in Chapter Five a study of The Isle of Ladies suggests that this text may stand as a comprehensive overview of fifteenth-century writers' knowing use of commonplace tropes and also of the relation of the individual text to its pre-given intertextually constituted, poetic discourse

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2023 17:56
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2023 18:02
DOI: 10.17638/03175269
Copyright Statement: Copyright © and Moral Rights for this thesis and any accompanying data (where applicable) are retained by the author and/or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge.