Quinn Publishes Innovative book on Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde
William A. Quinn reconsiders the poetry of Chaucer through performance theory and the history of reading
William A. Quinn, professor of English and director of the Medieval and Renaissance studies program in J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, has just published an innovative reading of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. In his book, Olde Clerkis Speche, published by Catholic University Press in November 2013, Quinn affirms both the historical legitimacy and the interpretive benefits of reading Troilus and Criseyde as if the text were initially composed for Chaucer's own recital before a familiar audience. Proposing a qualification rather than contradiction of the "persona" as a reading premise, Quinn revitalizes the interpretive context of Chaucer's original performance milieu.
The central five chapters offer a "close hearing" of the possible tonal strategies of each book of Troilus and Criseyde during actual recital. Particular attention is given to expressions now normally overlooked, phrasing that does not advance the modern reader's appreciation of plot or character development or theme; such "filler" did, however, once offer Chaucer's own "reader response" (or ennaratio) during the recital event. These five chapters simultaneously evaluate the probability that Chaucer himself revised each recital installment for subsequent manuscript circulation. All together, these chapters provide a sustained case study of the interplay between the author's anticipations of recital presence and textual absence. Although this study does not pretend to detail an inaugural staging of Troilus and Criseyde, it does attend to the histrionic potential of Chaucer's own "speche/In poetrie" (T&C V.1854-5).
The final chapter of the book discusses how such a recital premise impacts several current controversies among Chaucerians, including the dating of Chaucer's individual acts of composition, the underlying assumptions regarding the "publication" of each text, the editorial imposition of punctuation on the manuscript record, and the poet's increasing anxiety regarding his future absence from the reading event. Olde Clerkis Speche will be of interest to all readers of Chaucer as well as everyone intrigued by performance theory and the history of reading
Quinn is the author of several essential books in the field of late medieval English literature as well as numerous articles in top journals. For more information on Medieval and Renaissance studies in Fulbright College, please consult the program's website.
Lynda L. Coon, Professor
Editor-selected comments will be published below. No abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, spam or material of a similar nature will be considered for publication.comments powered by Disqus
The Arkansas Teacher Corps honored Fellows who completed their three-year teaching commitments in high-need schools in Arkansas at a celebration May 20 in Little Rock.
Jamie I. Baum, an assistant professor of nutrition in the Department of Food Science, will join key scientists at a workshop identifying research opportunities and gaps.
Military-friendly campus culture, academic quality and outcomes for veterans are key values in selecting the top 130 four-year institutions.
The State International Development Organizations has named Dan Hendrix, president and chief executive officer of the World Trade Center Arkansas as a new member of their leadership board.
The College of Education and Health Professions will have several new faces in administrative positions at the University of Arkansas, Dean Michael Miller announced.