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Farrell University Press of Florida Gainesville / Tallahassee / Tampa / Boca Raton Pensacola / Orlando / Miami / Jacksonville -iiiCopyright 1995 by the Board of Regents of the State of Florida Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper All rights reserved 00 99 98 97 96 95 6 5 4 3 2 1 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bakhtin and medieval voices / edited by Thomas J. Farrell. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8130-1447-6 1. Literature, Medieval -- History and criticism. 2. Bakhtin, M. M. (Mikhail Mikhailovich) 1883-1975. 3. Influence (Literary, artistic, etc.). I. Farrell, Thomas J. PN681.B35 1996 809′.02 -- dc 20 95-52435 The University Press of Florida is the scholarly publishing agency for the State University System of Florida, comprised of Florida A & M University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, and University of West Florida. University Press of Florida 15 Northwest 15th Street Gainesville, FL 32611 -iv-
To Mary, my internally persuasive voice -vContents List of Figures Acknowledgments Introduction: Bakhtin, Liminality, and Medieval Literature Thomas J. Farrell I: Carnival Voices in Medieval Texts Playing on the Margins: Bakhtin and the Smithfield Decretals Andrew Taylor Taking Laughter Seriously: The Comic and Didactic Functions of Helmbrecht Lisa R. Perfetti Dangerous Dialogues: The Sottie as a Threat to Authority Jody L. H. McQuillan II: Multiple Voices in Medieval Texts Heteroglossia and Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale Robert M. Jordan Dialogics and Prosody in Chaucer Steve Guthrie Dialogism, Heteroglossia, and Late Medieval Translation Daniel J. Pinti Medieval Authorship and the Polyphonic Text: From Manuscript Commentary to the Modern Novel Robert S. Sturges -viiIII: Dissenting Voices in Dialogue with Bakhtin The Chronotopes of Monology in Chaucer's Clerk's Tale Thomas J. Farrell Popular-Festive Forms and Beliefs in Robert Mannyng's Handlyng Synne Nancy Mason Bradbury Problems of Bakhtin's Epic: Capitalism and the Image of History Mark A. Sherman
ix xi 1
17 38 61 81 94 109 122
141 158 180 19 9 21 Bibliography 3 Notes
Contributors Index -viiiList of Figures 1. British Library MS Royal 10 E.IV, fol. iv 2. British Library MS Royal 10 E.IV, fol. 187r 3. British Library MS Royal 10 E.IV, fol. 188v 4. British Library MS Royal 10 E.IV, fol. 58r 5. British Library MS Royal 10 E.IV, fol. 217v 6. British Library MS Royal 10 E.IV, fol. 3v 7. Jusserand, English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages, 288 8. Jusserand, English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages, 90 9. Jusserand, English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages, 139 10. Stressed syllables by metrical position, selected authors -ixAcknowledgments
23 1 23 3
18 19 21 22 24 25 33 35 36 96
First thanks go to the contributors, not only for the fine essays they have contributed but also for their cooperation and patience in seeing the volume through to print. Two anonymous readers for the University Press of Florida made pointed and helpful suggestions about individual essays and the structure of the volume. Bakhtin and Medieval Voices is a much better collection because of their criticism. Stetson University has supported my work through Summer Research grants and a willingness to meet ancillary costs of production. The staff of the University Press of Florida, who first suggested this volume, has been helpful to and supportive of a real novice throughout the process of organizing the book. -xiIntroduction: Bakhtin, Liminality, and Medieval Literature Thomas J. Farrell Mikhail Bakhtin was a critic and theorist of extraordinarily wide knowledge whose major writings deal with Western texts from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, from classical epic to Greek romance. But there is a gap in that list: Bakhtin's detailed study of
But it remains true that although Bakhtin hovers around medieval topics. In the process. Bakhtin's interests changed during his career. and.the authorial instantiation of unprivileged. and republished under the title Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics (Problemy poetiki Dostoevskogo) in 1963. That thesis underscores the narrow application Bakhtin gives to the term polyphony and distinguishes it from the related terms that he developed later. the terminology he employed -. that "Dostoevsky is the creator of the polyphonic novel" ( Dostoevsky7). It contextualizes but does not alter the essential claim of the original.the novel began with Dostoevsky and worked back only as far as Rabelais and Cervantes. in addition to linguistic and philosophical concerns. is the standard work today. translated by Caryl Emerson.7 ). The most recent evidence supplies additional support to the argument that Bakhtin was in some substantial sense the author of works published under others' names in the mid1920s ( Bocharov1013-18). but there is some point in tackling that question in more general terms. he usually stops when he arrives on their threshold. Dante seems to have been one of his favorite authors. Mikhail Bakhtin60-74). and his Rabelais book approaches that Renaissance writer through the mass of medieval folklore that supplied much of his invention. It is true that his first book (on Dostoevsky) contains a classification scheme that remained unchanged in revision more than thirty years later ( Todorov. "Dostoevsky's major heroes are. The revision. divergent world views . by the very nature of his creative design. From the other direction. significantly expanded. although contrasting Homer and Apuleius in some detail. So Bakhtin's ideas and terminology became at least potentially more applicable to other kinds of texts even as he remained preoccupied with novels and novelistic discourse. But the first book bearing his name was Problems of Dostoevsky's Art (Problemy tvorchestva Dostoevskogo). his attention shifted from an initial preoccupation with the nineteenth century to earlier periods. not only objects of authorial discourse but also subjects of their own directly signifying discourse" ( 6 . Despite his wide-ranging interests. Perhaps most important. Polyphony -. first published in 1929 and revised. but in that book Bakhtin remained focused on only one node of the diagram. Bakhtin is legitimately classified as a theorist of novelistic discourse. his literary studies moved their focus from specific -1novels to the kinds of discourse characteristic of the novel as a form. Why then should medieval studies concern itself with Bakhtin's theories? Of what value to medievalists are the analytical tools that he offers? The essays contained in this volume propose detailed answers. however much medieval culture and even medieval genres may have contributed to the development of the novel.the tools he developed -. he discusses the romance and epic traditions of the Middle Ages rarely and briefly.became less specifically oriented to analyzing novels and more concerned with classifying all sorts of discourse. they remain outside of the main line of those inquiries: most major scholars of Bakhtin have also been interested in nineteenth-century Russian literature or other topics addressed directly by him. He begins to explore other discursive territories in later essays and in the Rabelais book.
which therefore exist side-by-side. and the limitation of authority is one of the crucial features of any kind of heteroglossia. all human speakers are heteroglossic. without affecting one another significantly. & Future. But Bakhtin also describes a second.) As has been noted in many places. highlight the differences between them. a term attracting singular attention from scholars beginning with Holquist and therefore the one most often associated with Bakhtin.framing devices. if not wholly distinct. sees" illustrates well the kind of authority claimed by what Bakhtin calls the poetic voice. literary heteroglossia. Heteroglossia implies only coexistence. speech in dialect -. One form of the novel theorized by Bakhtin -. historically and socially constructed ways: Bakhtin mentions dialects of age. Reading that collec-2tion backwards is a valuable exercise in understanding the development of Bakhtin's thought. Bakhtin uses heteroglossia in both linguistic and literary senses that are. using language in different.is fundamentally heteroglossic. any language is therefore heteroglossic. Although it can share some of the duality of meaning found in heteroglossia ( Morson83-84). The Possessed. Polyphony is therefore something quite different from heteroglossia. consistently opposes the presence of heteroglossia in the novel to its absence from poetry. class. Such limits are absent from the vatic voice heard in much lyric poetry: Blake's "Hear the voice of the Bard! / Who Present. reversed the order of publication of the essays printed in The Dialogic Imagination. Emerging clearly with Rabelais and Cervantes. Literary heteroglossia is achieved through a number of now familiar techniques -.in heroic characters -. which is a less inevitable phenomenon.the First Stylistic Line -. its dialogic structure produces results ranging from subversive parody to the kind of polyphony embodied in Dostoevsky. and recent scholars add race and gender to the list. As that contrast makes clear. at least distinguishable. but insists that he alone created "genuine polyphony" ( 32 . and The Brothers Karamazov. comprising the different forms in which it is used. and contextualize each of them in a specific world view. dialogue occurs when the ideological assump- ." from 1934-35. "Discourse in the Novel. dialogue interanimation. Bakhtin recognizes precursors to Dostoevsky's poetics." ( Emerson and Holquist have. That context will mark the limits of each voice's authority. and profession. Past. it gives only "a sideways glance at others' languages" (376). "Discourse in the Novel" also makes it clear that not all heteroglossic works are dialogic.arises naturally from this multiplicity and interaction of genuine subjects: the authorial voice can claim no ultimate authority over the subject-heroes in Crime and Punishment. rather confusingly. dialogism remains in its essential meaning a fairly transparent term: it implies genuine exchange of ideas between different people or different kinds of ideas. the neologism discussed most fully in "Discourse in the Novel. a form characterized as monologic. incorporated narratives. First. But Bakhtin openly champions all dialogic forms of communication and favors the kind of confrontation of one language with another that characterizes the Second Stylistic Line.34 ).that bring varieties of speech into the novel.
characteristic of quite divergent literary forms constructed in various ages and cultures. we can erase the implicit "Here be monsters" with our efforts to develop Bakhtin's terms in ways that are meaningful to those texts. as several of the essays in this collection do. Moreover. Bakhtinian terminology is wider and more flexible than it is often thought to be. Bakhtinian terminology allows us to approach those texts much more nearly on their own terms. Bakhtin wrote about a wide array of literary forms and periods because his implicit project. that "[i]n the past. everything he writes is distinctly theoretical. is one kind of importance that Bakhtin has for medievalists. And even if his usual silence about the Middle Ages has left some large blank areas in the margins of his charts. something . When Bakhtin privileges the novel in this essay. the history of literature implicit in Bakhtin's theories of literary language and literary forms identifies the Middle Ages as a crucial but largely uninterrogated period of transition. But I have until now been discussing what might be thought of as the tools of analysis generated by his theories rather than the ideology behind them. and dialogism are distinct concepts. . The function of the novel (and of novelistic discourse generally) is to defrock the pretensions of sacredness attributed to the past by those currently in power. most often conducted in terms of classical or modern lists of possibilities. heteroglossia. the 'first' things) occur only in the past. But he makes the importance of questions like those clearer and offers to other scholars in this collection the means of answering them. The epic singer derives authority not so much from personal experience or inspiration (as the lyric poet claims -4to do) as from his role as the repository and spokesman for the accumulated history and wisdom of society. how medieval writers understood the task of translating from one language to another. then. . which redefines the earlier contrast between poetry and novel in terms that are more social than individual and therefore more attuned to the ideological weight of the contrast. demanded that kind of comprehensiveness.that is.-3tions of one language are challenged by (in parody) or engaged with (in polyphony) the different ideologies that make different kinds of language possible. everything is good: all the really good things (i. Here. . a kind of inventory of narrative discourse. The theoretical underpinnings of Bakhtin's thought emerge more clearly in "Epic and Novel" ( 1941). the frequent arguments about genre in medieval texts. Bakhtin does not tell us how the breakdown of Latin as a universal language and the rise of literary vernaculars worked as a case study in the awareness of heteroglossia. Because so much of Bakhtin's analysis is innovative. The forms of medieval literature have never been very susceptible to more familiar systems of classification. There is an undeniably political edge to this shift in emphasis: rather than just a dismissal of the poet's inspiration as "a vain belief of private revelation" ( Johnson's Dictionary166) -.e. he rejects the claim of epic discourse. Polyphony. the tradition of the past is sacred" ( 15 ). how the tradition of the epic changed radically in the medieval period. amply attest that fact..
and irrepressible. In the same year. had found a Chaucerian audience in Alfred David. who cited it in Strumpet Muse. In 1981. is carnival. he says. The changes my graduate department was belatedly awakening to had created a new kind of space for Bakhtin's ideas. was reborn as a postmodern thinker. their name for a collection of four crucial essays by Bakhtin. or at least -5one that underscores the need for medievalists and folklorists who can describe the folk culture of the Middle Ages more adequately. In 1981. Carnival. levers for interrogating official authority and parodic resistance to it. it was not even defended until 1947 and not published until 1965. the English department in which I was a graduate student was beginning to realize that its annual.the novel now comes into focus as a rejection of established social hierarchies maintained by the authority of the monologic voice or the voice uncontested by dialogue. and a new kind of audience for them. Michael Holquist and Caryl Emerson translated and published The Dialogic Imagination. unsublimated. existed in "an entirely different sphere" ( Rabelais 7 ) from the influence of Church and State. Holquist suggests that it serves Bakhtin's more immediate purpose of indirect resistance to his State: that the official medieval-Renaissance culture described as Rabelais's straw man acts as a kind of allegory for the Stalinist Soviet Union and that Bakhtin's emphasis on "grotesque realism" is a parodic attack on the recently promulgated canons of socialist realism (Prologue xvii). It is certainly true that the Rabelais book had difficulties with Soviet authorities. is in its utopianism typical of Bakhtin in one mood. The terms epic and novel have become. although perhaps also a particularly problematic. Written in the aftermath of its author's conviction for activities against the state. *** Bakhtin also stands as a liminal figure in discussions of theory during the last twenty-five years. but his presence in the room can be felt. its participants "built a second world and a second life outside officialdom. it embraces whatever is unofficial. concerted effort to hire theorists trained in structuralism might not be an entirely adequate response to changes occurring in the discipline. such a denial of the genuine intermingling of official and popular forms and life-styles ( Lindahl32-39). He is not often given the seat of honor. He was not unknown before this time: the Rabelais book. For Bakhtin. more than literary forms. unstratified. That move anticipates the glorification of the carnivalesque in Rabelais and His World. Carnival remains a familiar. unprogrammed. Bakhtinian term.individual and personal -. and submitted as a thesis in 1940. But 1981 was a more propitious time and The Dialogic Imagination a more potent book to make Bakhtin into a major figure in theoretical discussions of literature. uncensored. This essentially negative definition derives from Bakhtin's dichotomous view of the Middle Ages. We need to cross the threshold that Bakhtin never did. . But the depiction of an unhistorical medieval schizophrenia is a quite uncharacteristic lapse in scholarship that requires explanation. But Holquist's is a peculiar defense." Such a utopian premise. Whatever isn't officially right. six years dead. translated in 1968. Bakhtin.
or else it would not have stuck in the way that it has. In the simplest sense. He is not often given the seat of honor. was reborn as a postmodern thinker. or else it would not have stuck in the way that it has. has found his descriptions of other socially constituted groups a frequently useful ally in describing women's efforts to negotiate patriarchal systems. He was not unknown before this time: the Rabelais book. and a new kind of audience for them. His unremitting emphasis on the social nature of language and the social contexts of literary texts. The changes my graduate department was belatedly awakening to had created a new kind of space for Bakhtin's ideas. Bakhtin. In the simplest sense. Bakhtin's early work is poststructuralist in that it reacts against the structuralism of the Russian formalist movement. His recognition that the words we use can never be wholly our words. In 1981. Bakhtin's early work is poststructuralist in that it reacts against the structuralism of the Russian formalist movement. But it is also true that Bakhtin shows specific points of contact with the kind of thinking that has defined postmodern theory in the last couple of decades. their engagement in ideological conflicts and his location of ideological conflicts in language all bring him into contact with new forms of historicism. translated in 1968. In 1981. We need to cross the threshold that Bakhtin never did. a theoretical development that Bakhtin in no way anticipated. the English department in which I was a graduate student was beginning to realize that its annual. had found a Chaucerian audience in Alfred David. Like various -6one that underscores the need for medievalists and folklorists who can describe the folk culture of the Middle Ages more adequately.That label fits. His recognition that . but his presence in the room can be felt. That label fits. he had recognized some of the difficulties of formalist aesthetics and moved beyond them. six years dead. he had recognized some of the difficulties of formalist aesthetics and moved beyond them. His unremitting emphasis on the social nature of language and the social contexts of literary texts. Long before Western criticism did so. But it is also true that Bakhtin shows specific points of contact with the kind of thinking that has defined postmodern theory in the last couple of decades. their name for a collection of four crucial essays by Bakhtin. their engagement in ideological conflicts and his location of ideological conflicts in language all bring him into contact with new forms of historicism. Long before Western criticism did so. Michael Holquist and Caryl Emerson translated and published The Dialogic Imagination. of course. *** Bakhtin also stands as a liminal figure in discussions of theory during the last twenty-five years. In the same year. Even feminism. concerted effort to hire theorists trained in structuralism might not be an entirely adequate response to changes occurring in the discipline. who cited it in Strumpet Muse. of course. that they and the meanings they bear are "always already there" for any given speaker anticipates some of the basic insights of deconstruction. But 1981 was a more propitious time and The Dialogic Imagination a more potent book to make Bakhtin into a major figure in theoretical discussions of literature.
The language in which he wrote -." The Aesthetics of François Rabelais (to give a literal translation of Tvorchestvo Fransua Rable). while studded with innovative terminology. found in the life around them. social. Like various -6reception theories. has found his descriptions of other socially constituted groups a frequently useful ally in describing women's efforts to negotiate patriarchal systems. that it is grounded in a sophisticated awareness of the interplay of the personal and social. His two books are both author studies designed to show how Dostoevsky and Rabelais changed literature. economic dialects that he speaks and hears. This interest in authors is hardly an anomaly. On the other -7- . "AntiEssentialist Humanism"491). dealing with even the largest of issues in a methodical way and directed toward unmistakably traditional goals. purposes that may genuinely be his ( Engle. and the kinds of literary problems he tackled are also noteworthy. In his more linguistically oriented work. and created in their novels a language that could do new things. and literally dozens of others. are unfailingly prosaic and descriptive: Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. It would never have occurred to him to provide his own work with a romanticized or self-aggrandizing title like "The Dialogic Imagination. that they and the meanings they bear are "always already there" for any given speaker anticipates some of the basic insights of deconstruction. And as the example of feminists suggests.always more damning -. current psychoanalytical theories undoubtedly find his insistent invocation of concepts like authorship and intention off-putting. passage after passage is devoted to the idiosyncratic techniques of individual authors: Dante. "Forms of Time and Chronotope in the Novel. Dickens." His own titles. But in other ways Bakhtin sits uncomfortably among postmodern writers. a theoretical development that Bakhtin in no way anticipated. In his specifically literary work.have allowed him to be ruled out of their courts. several elements in Bakhtin's writing have been criticized by postmodern critics or -. however. Pushkin. undoubtedly inscribed in the national. weakens his argument when feminists point to women unable to escape from their inscription in gendered language systems. it is clear that Bakhtin considers every user of language at least potentially a viable agent. but not prescribed by them.remains overwhelmingly that of his own generation of scholarship: precise. always able to make use of those dialects for new purposes. Although Engle's argument is precisely that Bakhtin's notion of agency is not naïve. Bakhtin used innovative textual analysis to solve problems other methodologies could not solve. Bakhtin is interested in the role played by the imagined reader who shapes an author's rhetoric. The precise masculinity of those "generic" pronouns.the words we use can never be wholly our words.and that is always the object to which Bakhtin's attention would turn first -. Even feminism. and postmodern critics have often enough been uncomfortable with his work. tidy.
to deauthorize or deconstruct it. it has fallen utterly into the abyss. we may not always have the power -. Morson and Emerson start from a sense that "translators and reviewers have imposed radically different grids" (4) on his ideas. attributing revolutionary power to rituals that may instead have deflected historical social discontent into unproductive. they suggest that humanist interpretations have "blunted the most radical aspects of his thought" ( Hirschkop79) in -8order to make him "useful in the argument against recent advances in post-structuralism" ( 74 ). As I have argued. Wry history has enacted Bakhtin's theoretical principles: at levels even beyond what he described. *** Bakhtin's place on the threshold of current discussions of theory has another cause. sees in language both centrifugal and centripetal forces.a similar process in their own writings. The former give rise to parodic and other impulses akin to the free play of the deconstructionists. in contrast. There is finally not much more to say about language that has been deconstructed: the victim of an unrelenting gravity. the differences may seem more like a strength in Bakhtin. one does not need to be a Marxist to read Bakhtin as a poststructuralist. Bakhtin was always alert to the ways a voice anticipates the reactions of an audience and constructs its discourse in accordance with that anticipation. could not have anticipated the kinds of reactions those of us reading and working with his ideas inevitably bring to them today. the latter are the traditional and authoritative constraints that make continued communication possible. dialogue -.about 1981 -. Bakhtin speaks to us in different voices.often contentious . least meaningful sense.hand. The forces work each other into a balance that can only rarely be upset by any single speaker. it doesn't belong to any one of us.we sometimes lack the authority -. Because language is social. Strohm effectively describes carnival's susceptibility to appropriation by forces either radical or conservative [ 154 ]. when his ideas diverge from those of deconstructionist thinkers. (In a carefully nuanced argument. Kristeva. But he did not know about postmodernism as we do. and Clark and Holquist. As a "current" theorist who wrote mostly from the late 1920s to the early 1940s. Bakhtin. but one might also dispute that classification for purposes that are political in only the broadest. An ongoing debate surrounds the significance of Rabelais and His World and the broader concept of carnival. channels. or at least conservative. Bakhtin's own voice is now more familiar and more frequently heard. This recognition of how language really does work begins to look more like a virtue than a vice as deconstruction loses the cachet it once -.) When Marxists read Bakhtin. and would not deny -indeed as Bakhtinian thinkers cannot deny -.seized from structuralism. They mean that those translators and reviewers have blended their own purposes and ideologies with those of Bakhtin in rhetoric filled with what Bakhtin labeled "hybrid constructions": Morson and Emerson identify the ideologies brought to their tasks by such influential early commentators as Todorov. often described as overly optimistic. but disagreements about the nature and extent of his importance remain and cannot be eradicated.
1990) and the collections edited by Brownlee et al." Andrew Taylor. 1. In several recent. 65. ( The New Medievalism) and Paden ( The Future of the Middle Ages) -. *** There is one more threshold to be acknowledged: the one between medieval studies and theory writ large.dialogue -with Bakhtin's writings is the condition of their transmission and understanding. I am therefore more concerned to suggest their interanimation than any consistent program guiding them. whose essay in this collection reminds us that many important theorists have begun their careers as medievalists. and I am pleased to see how many of those doors have been opened in the essays. Engle.calls to reform medieval studies in light of various developments in theory continue to be met with some sense that theory (and the scholars of nineteenth. relatively open discussions of the general topic of theory and medieval studies -. For too long. declined to identify his work as either contemporary or traditional. hardly mutually exclusive. McClellan. we deliberately ventriloquize Mikhail Mikhailovich in quite disparate ways. The author. and those have spoken too univocally. -9The liminality that characterizes both Bakhtin and medieval studies implies that there are many doors by which one might enter upon a discussion of our subtitle. which asked its contributors to think as much about how the social and literary material they knew reflected on Bakhtin's ideas as to exercise Bakhtinian theories on those materials. *** The collection is divided into three parts. no. all writing on Chaucer's Clerk's Tale. Lisa .and twentieth-century literatures who conduct much of it) might benefit from more familiarity with medieval studies. a very few medievalists have employed Bakhtin's ideas. as "old or new thinking" ( Near 1178). but heuristically meaningful. there is a Peter Travis to point out that "[i]t is more than a slight understatement to assert that scholars of medieval English literature have not been centrally engaged in contemporary critical theoretical debate" ( 201 ). my own sense that their consensus needed disruption was the genesis of my essay.I am thinking particularly of the special issue of Speculum (vol. Such is the spirit of this volume. still form a critical core cited by about half the essays here. Knapp and Ganim. even to the point of being congregated around single texts. In describing the essays that follow. For everyone like Bob Sturges. an issue of PMLA came out with a letter congratulating a recent article for working within a more contemporary framework for Old English studies but chiding the author for not being contemporary enough ( Frantzen and Overing 1178). however. So there is no attempt in this volume to effect consensus: by editorial design as well as authorial serendipity. In the first. Perhaps it is symptomatic that while I was planning this introduction. "Carnival Voices in Medieval Texts. and in some sense the entire volume.
The continuing potential for social disruption that the comic provides is also a concern for Jody McQuillan. In his analysis. Carnivalized images abound in the German tale Meier Helmbrecht. and Latin. vocabulary. but it remained a two-edged sword. While consonant with Jordan's well-known earlier work on the Canterbury Tales. The sottie could be used to attack the French court's political opponents. English. the congruence of what at first seems incongruous. becomes apparent. is the arbitrariness of any attempt to interpret the relationships between different aspects of another culture. Guthrie analyzes the variety of ways in which French court poetry offered alternatives to Chaucer's native English: prosody. or rather the inevitability of our own investment in those attempts.Perfetti. the intrinsic connection between the carnivalesque and the canonical. "Multiple Voices in Medieval Texts. whose research demonstrates the longstanding and variable discomfort that French authorities -10felt toward a dramatic genre. The Man of Law's Tale is for Jordan not the incompetent narration that a long critical tradition has blamed on the intelligence or ideology of the nominal narrator of the tale. Guthrie explores the ways in which a dialogic spirit informs Chaucer's poetry. heteroglossia is a meaningful concept on a number of levels. Steve Guthrie addresses more literally the heteroglossic character of much of medieval Europe: the Englishman John Gower wrote major works in French. Taylor's focus is on the relationship of carnival to society's hierarchies as both are metonymously represented in the pages of the Smithfield Decretals. Her essay argues that the potentially revolutionary aspects of carnival in Helmbrecht are tamed into comic episodes that reinforce the tale's didactic support for a distinctively conservative social agenda. and Jody McQuillan address questions about the role of laughter and the risible as they appear in some of the more distinctive examples of medieval textuality. For writers who could choose which of "various tongues" in which to write (paralleled today in countries for which English serves as a lingua franca). and narrative content. Robert Jordan elucidates a notoriously difficult Chaucerian text with a strikingly relevant Bakhtinian category. . Focusing on these zones of contact. The second part. a compendium of canon law decorated with irreverent drawings. More central to his argument. however. It addresses the variety of ways in which medieval texts present us with some part of the extremely rich mixture of dialects alive throughout the medieval period. this essay explores the relationship of medieval rhetorical models and heteroglossia. but a typical example of the kind of stylistic diversity recommended in medieval rhetorical manuals. but it also suggests that the carnival never entirely disappears: the didactic cannot eradicate the comic that also continues to laugh at those atop the hierarchy. but Perfetti demonstrates that its relationship to the larger traditions of carnival is problematic. McQuillan supports his sense of the political power of carnival. closely connected to carnival and frequently inclined to ridicule those at the top of the hill. McQuillan shows. Even as she challenges Bakhtin's view that drama is inherently monologic. the sottie." is the one most concerned to fill in the gaps of Bakhtin's inventory of discursive forms.
areas where theoreticians have remained strikingly silent about the usual phenomena of medieval textuality. not metaphorical description of prose.that Bakhtin's ideas may need some stretching to cover the phenomena of medieval textuality -. or generically definitive image. a preacher might well need to engage his congregation where they were by acknowledging the kinds of unofficial belief systems preserved in popular-festive forms. and Daniel Pinti begins with a recognition that translation is for medieval writers more literally a dialogue than it is usually understood today: many readers of a translation in the Middle Ages were also conversant with the original.that we might expect to be neither popular nor festive. The translator has a purpose perhaps parallel to the original author's (in this case Virgil's) but distinguished. The third part of the volume takes the premise of the second -. In the commentary tradition that medievalists have begun to consider fully only in the last generation. available to our analysis through another key Bakhtinian literary term. we can pursue the dialogic interaction of popular and official in what must have been the daily intersection of their respective interests. In counterpoint to Jordan's essay on heteroglossia. Manuscript polyphony encourages us to recognize the different audiences and purposes for which texts and commentaries were composed. Nancy Bradbury reasserts the importance of dialogue as a way of understanding the presence of "popular-festive forms" in a sort of texts -preaching manuals -. to preach effectively. there are other undiscovered countries for theory. although Bakhtin collapses quite different conceptual fields in terms like popular-festive form and dichotomizes the Middle Ages in ways I have described above. The Clerk's Tale reveals important characteristics of monological texts. Chaucer's Clerk's Tale. polyphony is prosaic fact.one step further. the different possibilities of authorship that existed in medieval manuscript culture.If the analysis of style and prosody are regions where medieval literature has remained undertheorized. mine argues that the Middle Ages must have produced effective monological texts and then seeks to explore the characteristic forms of one. Robert Sturges expands the notion of "polyphony" with which Bakhtin so enriched our ability to analyze novelistic discourse. and differing historical contexts of the two -11authors. The most direct and serious dissent is provided by Mark Sherman. multiple purposes. Sturges shows us that medieval manuscript culture might well be thought of as the incubator of novelistic forms rather than the cradle of a monolithic medieval world. Each of the essays in "Dissenting Voices in Dialogue with Bakhtin" begins from a sense of inadequacy in some aspect of Bakhtin's work. Writing a translation is therefore a form of indirect discourse for writers like Gavin Douglas and can be analyzed in terms of the hybrid constructions. She argues that. as Pinti shows. Without denying the ultimate heteroglossic nature of language or the necessarily dialogic qualities of translation. Translation is another form of movement from one language to another. Next. by the different cultural and historical position he occupies. who points out the ways that Bakhtin's valorization of the novel and the novelistic force . I want to suggest that the category of the monologic is a useful and meaningful one. the chronotope. Robert Mannyng's Handlyng Synne reveals that.
. But the response to that advice is predictable. rather than as an already staked-out battle. and the solution he advocates is a more theoretical. *** We will mention one more chronotope. and is connected with the breaking point of a life. A threshold always opens in two directions. less philological brand of medieval studies. The problem that Patterson describes is the marginalization of medieval studies in the academy. the fear to step over the threshold). There is a clear need for more and continued interaction among Bakhtinians. I am struck by how many of them -. . particularly among Renaissance scholars. almost automatic: a defense of the native turf. Even as mere compilator. the decision that changes a life (or the indecisiveness that fails to change a life. but the terms in which that interaction is sought are important. . medieval studies as it is practiced today. has defined the medieval (and medievalists) as an Other to be reacted against ( "On the Margin"92-97). and by making time "essentially instantaneous" denies the chronological barriers that have been used to keep Bakhtin (sometimes) and medievalists (more often) out of theoretical discussions. ( "Time and Chronotope" 248) The characteristic optimism with which Bakhtin describes the image of the threshold has made it appropriate as the dominant metaphor in this essay. Bakhtin. Locating part of that divergence in the allegorical quality that Dante's poem shares with many later and earlier examples. and even from different sides of the same threshold. it is as if it has no duration and falls out of the normal course of biographical time. time is essentially instantaneous. they discuss. as an opportunity.-12him to a fallacious construction of epic as simply an inversion of the characteristics of novel. it can be combined with the motif of encounter. and other theoretical models. In this chronotope. Sherman demonstrates that they consistently do not work as Bakhtin argues that they should. which continues to have a vital. medievalists. the chronotope of threshold. Lee Patterson has shown how consistently New Historicism. Surveying a wide range of classical and medieval epic texts. The word "threshold" itself already has a metaphorical meaning in everyday usage (together with its literal meaning). but its most fundamental instance is as the chronotope of crisis and break in a life. Because the essays here start from different thresholds. Sherman works through the tension between history and text in the Comedìa and in the United States of the 1990s. Wenzel. The metaphor is consistent: if medievalists are on the margin. they can move to the center only by abandoning their current turf. and theorists in general. "Reflections"). -13The image of the threshold encourages us to think of these issues as an encounter. the moment of crisis. evolving role in scholarship ( Dembowski. the argument that current fashions misrepresent philology. the explanatory value of traditional medieval studies.surely half -- . and sometimes argue about. highly charged with emotion and value.
and I use Bakhtin in ways perhaps more familiar to medievalists. This is the first volume to address the complex of issues I have discussed. In articulating his ideas about carnival in Rabelais. to set out the regulations of ecclesiastical government. a massive legal compendium of the decretals of Pope Gregory IX. and epic are challenged and redefined. eventually arriving at the Augustinian Priory of St. A similar pattern is noticeable across the threshold of medieval studies and current theory: whereas Jordan. concepts Bakhtin developed with more of an eye to ancient or nineteenth-century texts. As a result. dialogism.we -. 1 ). but somehow instead it ended up in England. In the essays that follow. the overall shape of the volume enacts the sense of dialogue with Bakhtin that originally motivated it. the Smithfield Decretals. its elegant script. its purpose is clear: to distinguish the true faith from heresy and error. chronotope. Bartholomew in Smithfield. Bakhtin is speaking to the medievalists who wrote those essays. Both kinds of stances are appropriate. This volume brings us to the threshold of new questions about both medieval literature and Bakhtinian theory. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that our first several essays about the carnivalesque in other medieval forms generally find it easier to agree with him than those writing about heteroglossia. 1 According to Warner and Gilson. "De summa trinitate et fide catholica" (see fig. By the same token. Guthrie. but they -. elaborate code of abbreviations. What Bakhtinians (and other theorists) have to learn from better knowledge of medieval literature can balance what medievalists ought to learn from theory. Taylor. and bulk symbolic of its authority. This is British Library MS Royal 10 E. It was intended for the "doctoribus et scolaribus universis parisius. it sits ensconced on library shelves much as it has for more than half a millennium. and for the other theorists who continue to develop his ideas. the book was originally copied in Italy in the early fourteenth century (334).have a response to him." presumably for the law faculty (fol. There is no reason to take only one side in such debates. medieval texts usually considered marginal gain greater attention and familiar authors and texts look a little different.IV. to maintain order and bring harmony from dissonance. From the opening line. Bakhtinian terms such as folk laughter and chronotope are developed in new ways. Pinti. -14Part One Carnival Voices in Medieval Texts -15Playing on the Margins Bakhtin and the Smithfield Decretals Andrew Taylor Ponderous and ornate. polyphony. and Sherman direct their arguments more toward current issues in theory. 4).address an audience of Bakhtinians and other theorists as much as medievalists. Bakhtin worked more closely with medieval culture than in any of his other publications. and epic. On the first folio there is an .
was burnt for Lollardy in 1401. At this period many of the artisans involved in the book trade. errant knights. and this may well have been where the book was illustrated. and charlatans. Bernard's well-known fulmination against the -19- . no matter who its owner. 4. wild men and wild animals. including limners.IV. they constitute a program of illustrations added at some expense. Pauls ( Christianson. It is as if all the life and chaos of the adjoining fair had spilled out onto the book's pages. and above all on the strip that runs along the bottom. The illustrations have been dated to c. lecherous clergy. sometime priest of Lynne. pedlars. and the scandal requires explanation. It seems very likely that they were done in a London shop. probably ones accustomed to handling ecclesiastical commissions. How much earlier it had arrived at the priory we do not know.it is not always easy to distinguish the rabbits from the foxes -. 2. 7. "Liber domus sancti Bartholomei in Smithfylde. battling couples." in a current hand that Warner and Gilson date to the late fifteenth century (334). -182. hunting parties. British Library MS Royal 10 E. esp. beggars. These pictures were not put there by some casual scribbler. 1340 by Sandler (11-12). rogues and sinners (see figs. It is of course an old problem. iv. tumblers. that of the indecorous marginalia. fol.and they are frequently repetitive. who notes their similarity to the slightly earlier Taymouth Hours and characterizes both as works in an "unstylised" vernacular. worked independently in small quarters close together in the area immediately north of St. Nonetheless. 2 Around the pages of the Smithfield Decretals. The Smithfield marginalia are simple drawings crudely colored -. is more than a little scandalous. Here for centuries the crowds of London and the surrounding regions came to haggle and to gawk. Their presence in a canonical collection. William Sawtre. British Library MS Royal 10 E. as St. Here King Richard met the rebels in 1381. and 8 ). We do not know who owned the book when the illustrations were added. royal messengers.IV. On the fields where the fair was held each August there were cattle auctions and public executions. minstrels. ale sellers. 187r. fol. there flows a stream of disorderly life: -171. sword-dancers. Once there the book sat in safety while outside the walls swarmed great Bartholomew Fair.inscription. they are the work of professional English artists. 96-97). and Henry IV arranged jousts in 1408.
marginal on the page. fol. "The Decretals are a digest of canon law. In the words of a fifteenth-century French ars memorativa: "[O]ne best learns by studying from illuminated books. chosen for their colorful heterogeneity. a functional device serving within the greater institutional apparatus that generated the text. judges at the beginning of book 2 ( De iudiciis 2. They are. Carruthers tends to the same conclusion as Mile. British Library MS Royal 10 E. fol.39. that the arguments used to account for one form of marginalia can so easily be applied to another. There is. 4 ) have to do with the question of the office of the custodian ( De officio custodis 1.27. in most cases they have a value that is "purely decorative" ( 49 ). As Carruthers notes. the pictures in the Smithfield Decretals and in other learned compendiums were put there to help memorization.1.1) 3 or the man who is balancing a wand on his head (or possibly breathing fire) on folio 5 have to do with Christ's dual nature (1. However."deformis formositas ac formosa deformitas" of the decorative Romanesque capitals of the Cluniac cloisters reminds us ( Holt21). According to Mary Carruthers.IV. the . In her explanation. nor indeed do they bear any significant relation to it.62 ).2)? What has the man fighting a butterfly on folio 91 verso have to do with the question of -203. It is a feature of this problem. In neither reading do the margins pose any threat to the text. the pictures are merely mnemonic icons. fol. for the different colors bestow remembrance of the different lines and consequently of that thing which one wants to get by heart" ( Carruthers9). as well. 70)? What does the stipulation against the imposition of a new census have to do with the story of a blind beggar being cheated by the boy who guides him (3. in other words. 218v)? There is certainly some plausibility to Carruthers's suggestion that the only purpose of these marginal drawings is to make a specific page visually memorable.6. For Mile." which have "no apparent relationship to the material in the text which they accompany" ( 246 ). he finds no cause for alarm in the blending of human and animal forms in contemporary manuscripts: "It is obvious that such figures are in no way related to the Hours of the Virgin or to the penitential Psalms which they illustrate" ( 61 . the marginalia serve only to amuse or to express the wit and ingenuity of the artist. it is certainly hard to find any obvious pattern linking them to specific moments in the Decretals.1)? What does the battling couple depicted as hybrids have to do with the conferral of vacant benefices (1. they are contained within the official order of the book. they provide "grotesque incidents.7. Emile Mile sees in the hybrid creatures on the bas-relief of the doors of the cathedral at Rouen the marks "of a gay invention or good-humoured raillery" ( 59 ) and concludes that "[i]f ever works of art were innocent of ulterior motive surely these are" ( 60 ). a long tradition of discounting medieval marginalia as harmless decoration. and required memorizing in order to be fully useful" ( 246 ). If we examine the images one by one. to begin with. Similarly.30. But they may have also served a practical function.1. 188v. In this sense. What does the sword dancer on folio 58 (see fig.
They suggest a pattern that we have come to recognize and to name. parody. Certainly the illustrations make the book easier to memorize and easier -214. 58r. 5 ).frequent repetition of images. which will wind along the foot of the next three hundred and more folios. even if we would follow this path and minimize the symbolic import of the margins. laughter and the marketplace. crowded with jugglers. Here we see the Decretals themselves being delivered into the hands of trusted doctors and taken out to govern the people of the Universal Church (see fig. The illustrations at this point carry an obvious and moral symbolic value. the Pretender's nightmare. but this hardly seems to offer an adequate explanation for the entire diverting chaos. Above all. mermaids and mermen. and monsters. for on the first few pages the illustrations explicitly reinforce the book's authority. wild men. The road itself. a world of exotic animals. and the absence of any correspondence between textual and pictorial divisions all make these pictures less than ideally suitable for establishing a theater of memory (see fig. British Library MS Royal 10 E. a camel. Here certainly we have Bakhtin's famous list: grotesque realism. from Pope Gregory to Raymond of Penafort. that associated with the term carnivalesque. who first compiled the Decretals at the Pope's command. it is a topsy-turvy world. unicorns. 4 . and from theology to law and book to world. elephants. The picture offers a visual representation of the chain of authority that runs from Christ himself to the doctors of the Church. stilt-walkers. does it not remain symbolically significant ten folios later when it has become the road of swarming humanity? It is when we join this diverting crowd and begin to consider the illustrations as a group that they seem less innocuous. Besides. fol. and this might even have been offered as a justification by the artists or the clerics who paid for their work. first appears on these opening pages as the road of textual dissemination. centaurs. where animals mimic human actions and humans and animals mingle forms. and wrestlers. a world of metamorphosized grotesques. Should this not extend to the later illustrations? If we are truly invited to read the opening pictures with this high solemnity.IV. at what point are we simply to dismiss them as mnemonic aids or casual dissipations? If the road is first evoked as an image of authorized dissemination. when a monk sprinkles a lord and lady with urine instead of holy water or a miller catches his wife and a monk in flagrante delicto. It is a world of street theater. and of preaching foxes and hunting rabbits. 6 ). of deer hunts and boar hunts. of dirty jokes. the lower bodily strata. we cannot do so consistently. On the opening page we see Christ in Majesty and beneath him the varying degrees of ecclesiastical hierarchy. -22to navigate. the crowding of a variety of images on some pages. musicians.
Inspired by the novels of Rabelais. Bakhtin pays homage to the ability of the great writer to break from formal constrictions by incorporating as a deliberate artistic strategy the voices of the wider world. 3v. whether it is the deliberate but disguised rebellion of the people through carnival festivals or the deliberate opening of the novel to the voices of others or even his own deliberate subversion of Stalinism through the indirection of literary history. This redirection avoids what could be seen as a major limitation in Bakhtin's account of either carnival or heteroglossia.Taking a hint from this parodic inversion of natural and legal order.IV. attitudes and signs of the medieval unconscious" and argued that "the parodic marginal compositions challenge the authority of the text and deny its presentation of the whole truth. reading the -235. and Dostoevsky. . Cervantes. in his reading they are no longer merely casually decorative but reflect a fundamental opposition of values. Meyer Schapiro. Bakhtin's model has already undergone an important redirection in Camille's appeal to the unconscious. fol. [B]y subjecting the transcendental signifier to ridicule and relativism. a sustained rejection of the dominant message of the Fathers. even when they speak through the voice of the novelist.7 ). capable of standing alongside their creator. expressed through images that stir the senses and the profane imagination" ( 6 . Bakhtin's claim that Dostoevsky creates "free people. Although he described the pictures as "entirely independent of the accompanying text" ( 7 ). Bernard reflected "a pagan life-attitude which will ultimately compete with the Christian. 5 . This claim must now seem a romantic excess. British Library MS Royal 10 E. . Michael Camille has described the margins of Gothic manuscripts in general as "a repository of meanings. . his utopian assumption that the people can speak for themselves. He assumes full powers of expression in his account of subversion. it is possible to privilege the margins as a site of resistance.IV. fol. -25images as a subversion or escape from the authority of the text. the riotous blasphemy of Gothic marginal scenes is in the transgressive language of 'heteroglossia' whose plurality of meanings Bakhtin discusses in his great study of carnival imagery" ( "Book of Signs"142). an attitude of spontaneous enjoyment and curiosity about the world. More recently. in an article first published in 1941. for example. 217v. capable of not agreeing with him and even of rebelling against him" attributes a Godlike power to the author ( Dostoevsky6). British Library MS Royal 10 E. suggested that the Romanesque sculptures and decorated initials that so offended St. -246.
the margins are less a site of conscious resistance than a form of medieval dream work in which carnivalesque images may circulate freely. This opposition between the consciousness and unconsciousness may be too schematic. since the mnemonic function of the pictures is exactly the kind of rationalization that the artists might be expected to give if asked to justify their work at a conscious level. Even in this second model however.had with each other. In the first.each with its own languages and symbolic practices -. say. in Jacques Lacan's terms. as Gehl and Camille attempt to do. theology and the Court into relativizing dialogue with the low languages of the fair and the marketplace. ( 59 . . In his second model. to a single work such as the Smithfield Decretals. a book of fiction and a rural market fair as either an homology or as one of thematic reflection. It is not sufficient to think of the relationship between.There are obvious difficulties in applying the model of carnival. showing how Rabelais brings the "high" languages of classical learning. Bakhtin never sufficiently clarified the key issue of distinct discursive domains. the argument would begin to break down -27if one could find specific pages where a particular marginal illustration subverted a particular line. however. . . The problem is acutely summarized by Stallybrass and White: When Bakhtin came to consider the connection between the fair and "textualization" .different versions or embodiments of a common folk humour and folk culture. which is controlled at all stages by the agents of -26official control.60 ) For Camille. . he assumed that the carnival. Certainly. in the form of interventions in the text made up of interpolations of visual and verbal insertions which may be conceived. 36 ). Stephen Nichols proposes that "the manuscript matrix consists of gaps or interstices. sees the two- . by emphasizing the "dialogic" interrelation of different discourses. as 'pulsations of the unconscious' by which the 'subject reveals and conceals itself'" ( 8 ). medicine. he also moved uneasily between two distinct models. . This appeal to the unconscious resolves some of the difficulty of applying the model of carnival to an object produced under the direction not of a subversive satirist like Rabelais but of official agents. for example. in this case a group of English limners working on an ecclesiastical commission 6. based as it is on the conflict between social groups. and the connection which these domains -. the fair and the literary texts of the Renaissance which he termed "carnivalesque" were actually homologous -. Bakhtin avoids a misleading elision of "real" fairs and written literary texts. Camille. as Camille himself argues in his more recent Image on the Edge (esp. . A further consequence is that Camille's reading is not directly challenged by Carruthers's. . Similarly. . however. or indeed of applying the same model indiscriminately to both social festivals and their literary depictions.
could have followed much of the text. If we are to attempt a Bakhtinian reading of these particular marginalia. 4. but they seem to be an inevitable result of the juxtapositioning of the fallen. to begin with. quae principem potius oportet exterminare. and chaotic with the law. Just as their histrionics are a mockery of creation. cf. 8 . but banishes them from among the people of god. and sexual impurity. They are condemned for engaging in a blasphemous imitation of creation and their idle language is condemned as turpiloquium. quae quidem omnes abominantes istas. As John of Salisbury tells us. who figure prominently in the Smithfield margins. for example. non fuerat in lege mentio facienda. lenonibus. however. so their turpiloquium is a counterpoint to the Logos. but as a carnival of worldly vanity. 1. the question that appears on its own page ( De officio et potestatis iudicis delegatis 1. Ironies abound. The ape and the fox. Ogilvy. a term that links verbal and sexual license. one which gives full credit to their symbolic resonance without accepting them as an authentic voice or privileging their subversive bacchanalia. how many of the images are not merely grotesque or casually amusing but are already fully coded within official religious commentary. it would seem best not to ground it in any conscious intention on the part of the artists. buffoons and harlots. 229) [Concerning actors and mimes. even if they had some Latin. and 6). which indeed not only excludes such abominations from the court of the prince. The tournament depicted on folio 68 verso. the Smithfield Decretals do not lend themselves to Camille's more recent approach.] ( Statesman's Book 16 ) The mimi are truly and in several ways des marginaux. There is. minstrels or performers often become figures of disorder. doubtful that the artists. ( Policraticus bk. a radically different way of reading the margins. has too many words crammed too tightly together to allow for any single line to easily become the butt of a visual joke. non modo a principis aula excludit. sed eliminat a populo Dei. on fol. rather than jeux d'esprit at the expense of a specific line. in comparison to a Psalter. panders and like human monsters. which is heavily abbreviated and highly technical. who treats the condemnations as a direct reflection of contemporary practice). chaps. scurris et metricibus. loose language. which the prince ought rather to exterminate entirely than to foster. for example. and their disorder a counterpart to divine order ( Casagrande and Vecchio. and. bears an uneasy relation to the prohibition of tournaments that occurs more than two hundred folios later ( "Torneamenta fieri non debent" 5. inverted. Similarly. there need no mention to be made in law. 7 On the whole. chap. "iurisdictio delegati re integra mandantis exspirat"). 4.legged gryllus next to the line "legge domini" in the Bardolf-Vaux Psalter as a visual pun ( 40 ).13. p. 2. however. in patristic and clerical commentary. in case. It is.29. et hujusmodi prodigiis hominum. 278v) but seems to bear no relation at all to the selection of episcopal legates. commonly represent human folly and trickery ( Janson.30. quam fovere. they fall outside the law: -28Nam de histrionibus et mimis. esp. It is worth noting. Their spectacle might still be characterized as a carnival.1.
opposing the Logos to turpiloquium. fig. the authority of the book to the oral traditions of the people. in the Gothic period. is it the sacred Word that is ridiculed. their projecting tongues. 11). as visual embodiments of sins such as blasphemy and gluttony!" ( "Reflections"62). In contrast to a Bakhtinian reading. need simply point to John of Salisbury to show that for at least one ecclesiastical official a mimus is indeed a figure of subversion whose positioning within the manuscript is symbolically charged. the basic argument is the same. not because it is the principal material. as Camille suggests. Do the margins of the Smithfield Decretals ultimately confirm or subvert the authority of the one truth Faith and its Law? We should note. while diametrically opposed. Similarly. How appropriate are such obscenely two-faced creatures. on the other hand. In the words of one twelfth-century commentator on the psalms: "Material about contrary things. however. incorporates the marginal figures within an Augustinian theodicy of privative evil in which "disordered non-being contributes to the ordered beauty of the whole" ( 136 ). 73 for discussion of Haimo's identity). or Augustinian and Bakhtinian readings. When a group of monkeys pick up pens and imitate a scribe. that is. as happens in the margins of the fourteenthcentury Amiens -29Missal. but in order that it should serve the principal material. can strengthen his sense of the dangerous allure of cupidity by sifting through modern readings of the medieval margins. Whether it is a question of gargoyles. and current political implications. cited in Minnis55. or the pretensions and folly of monkeylike mankind? ( "Book of Signs"142-43. revivified by scholars such as D. The dark modernist reader of medieval culture. their spitting and vomiting actions. 196CD. the exegetical tradition. who wishes to find on the margins all that institutionalized rationality would deny. authority for the other). Lucy Sandler suggests that the hybrids "reflect a spiritual view which. cxvi. or carnal images in love poetry. are also mutually reinforcing. marginal grotesques. . is inserted. Both Bakhtinian and Augustinian readings have full explanatory power. Patrologia Latina. Both are capable of explaining all that they might encounter in the book. being mixed with right things" ( PseudoHaimo. scurrilous actors playing devils in mystery plays. for each creates in the other the opposing principle that will define its own moral struggle (sin for one. and the discipline of the cloister to the temptations of the road. Whichever side we take. ample historical justification. with their open mouths. Robertson. we can run down the same series of binary oppositions under the general headings of caritas and cupiditas. This appeal to a comprehensive exegetical code serves to reinscribe subversive energy within the word of the Fathers and the order of the text. which privileges the margin. W. see 240 n.This clerical commentary opens up a third possible reading of the marginal illustrations. pious silence to the innanibus verbis of minstrels and gossips. that what we might call charitable and carnivalesque readings. whether obscenity or legality. A Robertsonian. about impious demons. was highly consciousness of the sinfulness and evil that beset mankind.
and this was as true in the Middle Ages as it is today. which had a letter in gold and another in silver. 12 In contrast. We can argue that to joy in the pictures is sinful. It is in no sense anachronistic. to recognize that a certain reading struggles against worldly temptation toward the love of God implies that it will not be the norm. when the deposition of Richard II was justified by an appeal to canon law. the learned. As a legal code. Albans. la ou le dit Abbe navoit nulle tiel. austere moralists fulminated against those clerics who allowed themselves to be seduced by the facile delights of marginal illuminations. dount une lettre fuit dor. Albans in 1381 was to demand the abbot surrender certain charters. therefore. the weight that renders the book so static and requires the -30cloister and the desk. the pages that turn slowly and cannot be skimmed. but we cannot argue that this sin is a prerogative of modernity. But the rebels were not satisfied with those they received. Albans well understood the power of a document they had never seen. The commons of St. 11 Nor was a sense of the symbolic value of manuscripts limited to the literati. the Decretals govern the lives of all. as they called it. It is not so much the text. all these shaped the book's authority. The smell of leather that reminds us a book is flesh. the . It is an example of the inaccessible text reaching out to control the world outside its walls. In this respect the manuscript resembles the "great charter" so assiduously sought after by the commons of St. One of the first acts of those who rose against the Monastery of St. as transcendental signifier. when William Sawtre. or in 1401. Bernard on. burnt for reading Scripture and for demanding that others might be allowed to do so. just as the ubiquity and stability of the printed text shape our own cultural logic and are reflected in the metaphors we use for understanding and communication. com ilz dissoient. with which the Middle Ages had to deal. 10 Medieval people were acutely aware of the power and symbolic value of the book. 9 From St. et une autre dasor. The material book is continually available for the misappropriation of the carnal reader. including those who cannot read their pages. To see one properly is to recognize the danger of the other. to read the Smithfield Decretals as a site of ideological conflict between the authority of the book and the vitality of the world. the Lollard. burnt in accordance with canon law. as it did in 1399. although the Abbot had no such charter and there never was any such charter] ( Walsingham 291). a document no less powerful because it may never even have existed. This is not to say that the authority of the text and the force of its subversion presented themselves in the same way in the fourteenth century as they do today. was burnt on the fields nearby. but the parchment manuscript.Nor can we privilege one side of this opposition as historically authentic and denigrate the other as anachronistic. they wanted one in particular and "demanderent del dit Abbe un Chartre de lours libertez. as in-carnation of the Logos. In fact. unques nulle tiel fuist" [demanded of the said Abbot a Charter of their liberties. or the wealthy. its physical enactment of the central truth that in the beginning was the Word and that the Word was made flesh.
Bakhtin tells us that by incorporating spoken dialogue. where the common people swear. 14 Hovering on the edges of the text in this way." "the lie directed to liars. out once more to the marketplace. and spit: . can be seen as one between the order of the written text and the oral world of the people. freeing them again and again from shame. In these illustrations of the miracles of the Virgin and the lives of the saints. they played out a scene that had already been drawn in the Smithfield margins ( Walsingham303). It is determined equally by whose word it is and for whom it is meant. and stories about the tricks of a blind beggar's boy (see fig. 5 ). Just as the text reaches out into the wider world. of well-known romances such as Guy of Warwick. and punishment. 13 When the peasants of St. we have a record of oral narrative that is otherwise lost. ( "Discourse"276) But Bakhtin's dialogic principle leads not into the Derridean textual vortex of endless supplementarity but rather. then. street songs and jokes. any speech act is already a tissue of quotations: No living word relates to its object in a singular way: between the word and its object. there exists an elastic environment of other. where the Virgin has the guilty monk and nun freed and replaced by devils ). subverting the true course of the law in a fantasy world of reprieve (see fig. The conflict. Each and every word expresses the "one" in relation to the "other. of episodes not found in the Legenda Aurea or the Roman de Renart or Caesarius of Esterbach or the Noveau Recueil des Fabliaux or anywhere else. addresser and addressee. and lie. 3. Albans fastened a rabbit on a pillory. ( Voloshinov86. As Bakhtin/ Voloshinov notes: Word is a two-sided act.favored story of the margins is of the mercy that the Virgin extends to sinners. in a theoretical insight that in some ways anticipates Derrida's concept of différance. discussed in Aers3) Thus for Bakhtin. Thus the margins evoke the broader world of the storyteller and the common memory. through its stress on human interaction. it is precisely the product of the reciprocal relationship between speaker and listener. I have recourse once more to Bakhtin. the same theme. a writer may break the constraints of traditional forms and create a multivoiced work that is fluid and open to the world. despair. the pictures bring this world spilling back onto the edges of -31the text." all of which are rooted in the dialogic situation ( "Discourse in the Novel"401). between the word and the speaking subject. and this is an environment that is often difficult to penetrate. alien words about the same object. As word. and the "language of the merry rogue." I give myself verbal shape from another's point of view ultimately from the point of view of the community to which I belong. Now skas includes slang. skas.
that devices were first worked out for constructing images of a language. 15 Bakhtin is not the only one who would do this. But this is something more than just a vulgar methodological error. follows a common urge. cannibalizing the Smithfield Decretals for illustrations of the king's messengers. 288. Jusserand uses visual evidence without regard for its manuscript context. [but] bony beings . to invoke "the whole innumerable tribe of tale-tellers. ita qui creaturis utuntur ad voluptatem.in the minor low genres. 7. devices for an objective exhibiting of discourse together with a specific kind of person and not as an expression in some depersonalized language understood by all in the same way. devices for coupling discourse with the image of a particular kind of speaker. on the itinerant stage. quia sicut in libro materiali." those people "who are neither fanciful nor 7. dancing bears. . 8.It is precisely here. hunters. nunquam erunt boni clerici. but there is a medieval one. 16 I know of no modern term for this dream of escaping from the world of books. Jusserand's English Wayfaring Life. & curiositatem. Jusserand allows them to tell the story that he wants. in surface rather than substance. it is curiositas. ( "Discourse"400-401) Heteroglossia thus is an openness. nec sic Dei. wayfarers. Jusserand. vel sui cognitionem acquirent. and a roadside hermit tempted by a devil (see fig. with strong muscles and alert tongues. on whose pages the carnival of the Smithfield Decretals first entered the stream of popular medievalism (see figs. Jusserand. nunquam per eas ad Dei perfectam ducentur visionem. J. (Part 1. highway beggars. qui solum respiciunt literas crassas. privileging the pictures while ignoring the text. . an escaped prisoner fleeing to sanctuary." cap. nec eas ordinant. on a small scale -. 4. Bromyard. "Liber. and adventure seekers. in street songs and -32jokes -. for example. -33dreamy things. quam ad utilitatem. quod pulchrum & delictabile est oculis. Curiositas delights in color and incident. vel eis utuntur ad Dei cognitionem & amorem. in public squares on market day. English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages. one which can be seen in the naïve empiricism of the social history picture book. fols. the endless fascination of naïve readers with what the characters might do if they stepped off the page. as if it were a direct report on an outside world. tells us that secundo. wood cutters. that of J. minstrels. & capitales ad ludum. it opens literary form to the carnival of the world and perhaps textualism itself to the world outside the text. and the dust of the road to Rome or the East on their feet" ( 220 -21). 444v-45) . Let us consider one last approach to the margins. qui solum respic[i]unt illud. and 9 ). pedlars. 9 ). & curiositatem potius. By cutting the images from the text.
a desire that all our learning cannot entirely kill. Its interest in real people might be stigmatized as no more than a variation of the demand to know "how many children had Lady MacBeth" or whether Alisoun of Bath murdered her first husbands. Alternatively. nor use these things for the love and knowledge of God. to some degree they are events. they are nevertheless a part of the social world. finished Chaucer's story so that we could find out what happened when the pilgrims got to Canterbury (texts in Bowers). the unemployed and.prostitutes. English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages. will never be good clerics. pimps. 152). has argued that even if we accept that it is impossible "to get past texts in order to apprehend 'real history' directly. human life. so those who only acquire knowledge in the book of God for the sake of pleasure and curiosity and only have regard for that which is beautiful and delectable to the eyes. . one to be expected of the laity who cannot follow the abstractions of logic and need concrete exempla. Edward Said. The Margins of Society in Late Medieval Paris. Here as surely . More humbly. curiositas might be dismissed as a logocentric dream of recapturing lost presence. No one has been more critical of the desire to use the pretty pictures in medieval books as a window into medieval life than Michael Camille. most visibly. break from a depoliticized and precious world of endless textual play. which deals with those men and women existing on the fringes of society -. It is an idle taste. Yet even in his own work the desire peeps out. In our own critical idiom. and of course the historical moments in which they are located and interpreted. dissatisfied with the austerity of the Parson's homily. texts are worldly. the cloister of wallto-wall textuality. it might be praised as a move to -348. curiositas might be defended as a persistent desire to move beyond books and find out about people. beggars?" and says of the Smithfield collection that it "sensationalizes the capital's low-life as much as any current tabloid " ( Image on the Edge130-31. for example. Camille asks. Jusserand. and of a later and anonymous monk of Canterbury who. "Can we find in pictures the same kinds of relations between social centres and margins that are explored in Bronislaw Geremek's important study. and we find traces of that recurring fascination with what it was really like on the streets of medieval London.5 ).] Curiositas is a vulgar taste.[Just as those who in physical books only have regard for thick letters and capitals for play and curiosity. 90. the taste of Chaucer's monk. who loves not to pore over a book in the cloister but will be out hunting. . . petty criminals. and. for one. even when they appear to deny it. ( 4 ) For Said this offers a break from the "precious jargon" of literary criticism and a return to "the existential actualities of human life" ( 4 ." this need not also eliminate interest in the events and circumstances entailed by and expressed in the texts themselves. will never be led through them to the perfect vision of God.
it has already read us. The carnival of the Smithfield margins speaks with as many voices as the great fair outside the priory walls. 18 It is an object that permits no mastery. To read either the text or its margins requires an emotional investment. -37Taking Laughter Seriously The Comic and Didactic Functions of Helmbrecht Lisa R.-359. aspects of medieval carnival rituals and the carnivalesque texts that follow . English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages. Even before we have read it. 139. It is in this desire that we may perhaps most easily glimpse our own psychological investment in the construction of the manuscript. for no single scholar can fully pursue such conflicting desires or do justice to such conflicting orders. rather than sexual mockery and misogyny. as in Jusserand's work the margins become a means of access to the lost medieval street life. then it is not well chosen. as objective witnesses to a conflict that precedes us. reflects a masculinist perspective that sees in the marginalia images of sexual licence and comedy. Jusserand. But if the metaphor implies. Our access to this guarded treasure is no more immediate or neutral now than it was in the fourteenth century. whether it is in a vision of a unified Age of Faith rising above sublunary disorders and bringing harmony from dissonance or in a vision of human resistance and freedom. I have referred above to the Smithfield Decretals as a site of ideological conflict. without situating ourselves within a particular institutional apparatus and undergoing its disciplines. that this is a location we regard from on high. has often been criticized as naïve for its glorification of medieval laughter as a subversive weapon liberating those on the bottom rung of feudal hierarchy from the chains of political and religious oppression. through the officially sanctioned dissemination of the canons that is figured in the opening illustrations of the doctors receiving the book. rather than liberating. And even to set the debate in these terms. Using a characteristic recent idiom. inscribing us within its order. and this may help explain the lack of any proper commentary on a book so regularly plundered for its pictures. as I think it does. the conflict within these pages is one we half create while it half creates us. elaborated in Rabelais and His World. We cannot approach a book without desire or without history. 17 However we envisage it. Increasingly. scholars have pointed to the conservative. as I have done. Perfetti Bakhtin's theory of carnival. we do not approach it innocently or from an absolute without. or through the web of oral narrative -36evoked on the later folios.
Michael André Bernstein has devoted a book to revealing the "negative and bitter strand at the core" of carnival. could be used to promote altogether conservative ends. Scholars of medieval literature have long followed a tendency to separate comic from serious genres. leads a life atypical of his station. In the end. 2 Helmbrecht. Helmbrecht does not belong to the body of literature (for example. It is. dialogues in which it becomes clear that the entire family has strange notions of courtly etiquette. a farmer's son. the tale follows an overall carnivalesque pattern. the accepted author of the tale. the tale shows how Bakhtin's view of literature as a spectrum of dialogue between various ideologies encourages us to become aware of the medieval text's ambivalence and to listen carefully to how its contrasting voices may be working together. The story begins with the picture of Helmbrecht. Most of all. moving from a world upside-down to a restoration of social order at the end. The tale furthermore reveals the shortcomings of Bakhtin's utopian model by illustrating how medieval laughter. Ironically. by engaging in a dialogue with official seriousness. The thirteenth-century German tale Helmbrecht provides us with an excellent example of the problematic medieval comic text that may better be understood by using carnival as an approach. although it might grant a sort of liberation to normally suppressed voices. the Fastnachtsspiele) created for performance during carnival festivals. Although Bakhtin acknowledges that carnival is essentially conservative because it is only a temporary respite from the official ideology of Church and feudal hierarchy. conservative values of medieval society. to further complicate the picture.from them (Booth. Helmbrecht is apprehended by the sheriff. we may see medieval laughter not as a superficial outer coating but as the very core of the comic work's thematic and artistic structure. First of all. 1 Recently. in which peasants dressed as nobles and (ineptly) imitated courtly behavior. are robber knights devoid of courtly ideals of knighthood. a motif Wernher der Gartenaere. however. too. so that comic elements in a "serious" work are seen either as an aesthetic flaw incompatible with the work's overall purpose. dressed in elaborate noble's clothing. his carnival model may best help to understand comic texts that have traditionally been seen as representing official. Stallybrass and White). Bakhtin's theory of carnival can suggest how the comic moments in a work. Thus. for he decides to leave his family in order to join up with a band of knights who. or as a mere sugar coating covering the work's kernel of meaning. actually reinforce conservative ideology while simultaneously providing a safe -38vent for the anxiety this ideology could engender. the lawlessness that results in violence or "abjection" ( 17 ). a tale that can be understood more fully when we use Bakhtin's ideas about carnival as an interpretive model. There are many comic dialogues between Helmbrecht and his family concerning his aberrant life-style. his discussion of the folk origins of medieval laughter does betray an overly optimistic view of laughter as a vehicle for popular liberation. optimism that probably results more from his own eagerness to legitimize popular culture than from a misunderstanding of medieval culture. blinded. however. and then . borrowed from the highly carnivalesque poems of Neidhart von Reuenthal.
3 The story assuredly does not end on a very festive note. whom he has robbed and assaulted. 4 Carnival shows how the text can be both a humorous bit of fun and a didactic tale at the same time. Helmbrecht's sister. and hospitality. fish-wielding Lent. Helmbrecht. Helmbrecht carnivalizes conventions of chivalry by transferring them to a peasant milieu. It is this carnivalesque delight in incongruity and the comfortable intermingling of voices that have most troubled readers of the text. Although Helmbrecht is clearly (and brutally) -39punished for this transgression by the conservative forces of law and order. exemplified by the preachy voice of the father. Gotelint. like the fools of the medieval stage and like Neidhart's peasant buffoons. with moments of outright silliness. the tale may be understood as a carnivalesque text in its continual juxtaposition of incongruous elements. Many parts do not seem to fit together. Carnival underlines the interplay between serious and comic and thrives on the energy generated by the alternation of contrasting voices -. transgresses the rigid hierarchy that ruled his society. Her presence in the story is only marginal to the moral message of the story. Social order has been restored. Furthermore. jolly. such as the farcical wedding ceremony between Gotelint and Lemberslint. Bakhtin first developed his idea of carnival in order to counter the narrow-sighted critical views of his contemporaries. and in doing so. In addition. Indeed. but the tale does exemplify the models of inversion common to carnival rituals and texts. who insisted on seeing Rabelais's work as entirely satirical and serious or as entirely gay and fanciful. and the narrator who tells his tale so earnestly are transposed to the bumbling of Helmbrecht and his band of brigands. the wooing of the lady. others have insisted that the tale is a serious exemplum preaching against the dangers of stepping out of one's station. his comic quest to transcend his social limitations could be seen as a sort of subversive fantasy challenging the status quo. plays at being something he is not. Most of all. The tale juxtaposes moments of extreme gravity. it is not only the foolish antics of Helmbrecht and the naïveté of his sister that are targets of the tale but also the stylistic conventions of literature itself. Whereas some readers have seen the tale as a delightful comic romp. as a parody of courtly literature. a polarization Bakhtin sought to undo by . the burlesque marriage between Gotelint and Lemberslint. marriage. Thus. The familiar conventions of the knight errant. the tale frequently plays with social conventions. sausage-eating Carnival jousting merrily with mean. leading some to view the story as artistically flawed.beaten and hung by his fellow peasants. lean. but it is vital to the story's playfulness. inverting the relationship between father and son and twisting the rules of etiquette related to courtship.fat. and the facetious quipping of the elusive narrator. has an important function to play in the tale in terms of her comic misunderstanding of social conventions. although she ultimately ends up the victim of Helmbrecht's foolish ideas. which are deflated and made relative through laughter. which is made clear by the narrator's comment that wagon traffic could resume once Helmbrecht had been killed ( 1919-22).
/ Dîn ordenunge ist der pfluoc" [No one is ever successful who struggles against his station in life. scenes from famous epics.is continually reaffirmed by the comic instances of Helmbrecht's inept imitation of courtly behavior. Your station is at the plow] (289-91). / der wider sînen orden ringet. In fact. W. Bernhard Sowinski adds that the surcoat is hung with bells. The cap. is entirely consistent with the "sermon" pronounced by the father. and thus reinforce the impression of incongruity and grotesqueness that is so characteristic of Helmbrecht" ( Best Novellas17). gaudy garb of Helmbrecht. The didactic themes of Helmbrecht that scholars are so fond of discussing are. "The object which had initially marked the hero as a comic figure is therefore ultimately seen as a symbol of that which caused his tragic death" ( 20 ). Thomas states that the cap and its association with the Neidhart tradition are important. also marks the intersection of social realms that normally do not mix. emblematic of its simultaneous comic and didactic function.one must not transgress class boundaries -. his cap. and portraits of courtly life. for -41his true peasant identity prevents him from successfully imitating noble attire. particularly his surcoat. by the comic elements of the text. is destroyed at the end of the story. described at length. especially considering he is dressed and advised not by a seasoned knight but by his sister. As Thomas notes. which is overly ornamented. which . story. and a wayward nun. The most prominent element of Helmbrecht's clothing. the most frequently cited didactic message of Helmbrecht -. rather than a tragic. mother. For example. The very beginning of the story. portraying the outrageous. Explicit passages in the text make clear that the author is concerned with the dangers of straying from class norms. J. so that the overall effect of his lavish costume betrays his lack of true noble taste. it. Significantly. his fancy clothes are a bit too fancy. although it is incongruous in its depiction of a peasant dressing as a noble. Helmbrecht's appearance is ambivalent. is embroidered with birds. Bakhtin's attention to the interplay between contrasting voices encourages us to examine such passages not in isolation but in the context of the laughing voices that surround them. Thus. Furthermore.-40revealing Rabelais's "ambivalence" ( 12 ). But the cap has also been taken quite seriously by many as a symbol of Helmbrecht's superbia. the voices that assert the status quo. like Helmbrecht. the cap conveys both the comic "incongruity" of the depiction of a peasant in noble's clothing and the cautionary symbol of the upstart peasant's pride. reaffirmed. offers a perfect example of how Helmbrecht's incongruous dress can function simultaneously on a serious and a comic level. not denied. for they "set the stage for a satirical and humorous. carnival helps us to see that it is often the laughing voices that make us more aware of the serious voices. as when Father Helmbrecht warns his son not to abandon his farmer's role: "wan selten im gelinget. in fact. But the incongruity of Helmbrecht's appearance. In dressing as a noble. Helmbrecht becomes even more of a farmer's son. with his cap and gaudy clothing.
but the comic scenes add to that message by showing how Helmbrecht. but the image of bells and the use of terms applied to the fool (narr and gouch) would probably have resonated with images of the festive fool. the gifts he chooses to bring to his family after his first year at "court": Jâ zewâre. und brâhte im ein bîle. that one cannot stray from one's class. No mower ever bound one finer into its case. Although the overt moral of the Helmbrecht is that one should not stray from one's preordained class. Consider. (ir lachtet der mære)! Er brâhte einen wezestein dem vater. and a hatchet with it. And a scythe. une eine hacken dâ mit. laughter that will be examined more closely later in the discussion. und ein segens. und wester waz ez allez waere. whom Bakhtin saw as "the accredited representative of the carnival spirit in everyday life out of carnival season" ( 8 ). an interpretation that neglects the ambivalence of the medieval fool.the idiot who tries to overstep his place in society -.could be suggestive of a typical court fool ( "Helmbrecht der Narr"229). Within a medieval context. Helmbrecht would have been an ambivalent figure who could be used both as a moral example -. He brought a whetstone for his father. depite his attempts. (Hey! what a farmer's treasure that was!) And he brought him an ax better than any smithy has forged for a good. (1055-66) [Yes indeed. It is important to recognize Helmbrecht's place within the rich tradition of "Narrenliteratur" because without an awareness of this tradition. in fact. The narrator does indeed ask his audience to laugh at Helmbrecht's foolish behavior. Helmbrecht is indeed punished for his arrogance. daz nie mâder dehein in kumph bezzern gebant. for example. and if only he had known what those things were (it will make you smile [or laugh]).and as the festive fool who represents a deeper laughing at the world itself. daz nie hant -42sô guote gezôch durch daz gras (hey welch gebûrkleinât daz was!). Never has a hand drawn such a good one through the grass. we are likely to miss the symbolic imagery perceived by medieval audiences. cannot escape the class to which he so obviously belongs. long while. daz in maneger wîle gesmit sô guotez nie dehein smit.] . Sowinski assumes that the portrayal of Helmbrecht as a fool is evidence of the author's criticism of him. the comic scenes of incongruity show.
Helmbrecht gives presents a supposed noble as himself would not give (whetstone, mower, and ax) or gives gifts unsuited to the needs of his family (fox pelt and silk hair ribbons, mentioned a few lines later). The narrator clearly anticipates that his audience will laugh at Helmbrecht's pretensions to nobility, and his use of the superlatives to describe farmer's tools rather than the typical knight's horse or armor are surely intended to remind the audience that Helmbrecht is far from a courtly knight. Helmbrecht's attempts at noble speech, like his clothing, reveal his peasant colors. For example, his incongruous use of a cliché common to Minnesang poetry ("Ich wil mich nicht durch wîp verligen" ) to refuse to marry the neighboring farmer's daughter makes us more aware, through our laughter, that we are dealing with a peasant, not courtly, lover. Furthermore, when Helmbrecht greets his family with a mixture of several foreign tongues he has apparently picked up during his year abroad he undercuts his intention to be taken seriously, for no one recognizes this stranger with garbled speech: "Dô sprach er zuo der swester: / 'Gratia vester!'" (721-22) and "Zem vater sprach er: 'Dê ûs sal!' / Zuo der muoter sprach er sâ / bêheimisch: 'Dobraytrâ!'" (726-28). Friedrich Panzer has pointed out that the story of a farmer's son returning home speaking foreign languages is a common theme in Schwank literature (393). Wernher's particular use of this comic motif shows that peasants should not even try to be nobles, for as Parshall has pointed out, Helmbrecht may have succeeded in confusing his family by his use of foreign languages, but his usage is incorrect or inappropriate ( 142 ). Helmbrecht, in trying to be noble, has shown his lack of nobility -- if not to his family, at least to the probably educated audience of Wernher's -43poem, who undoubtedly would have laughed at such mistakes. More important, Helmbrecht's parents claim they do not recognize their son because his speech is incomprehensible. Helmbrecht finally speaks to them in (insulting) German, but the father demands as proof that Helmbrecht name all four of his oxen. Helmbrecht, yielding only because of the tempting food he stands to gain, responds that he will do so gladly: [D]er eine heizet Ouwer; ez wart nie gebouwer sô rîche noch sô wacker, er zaeme ûf sînem acker. Der ander der hiez Raeme: nie rint sô genaeme wart geweten under joch. (819-25) [That one is called Brooks. There's never been a farmer so rich and able that Brooks wouldn't have done right by his field. The second one was called Rusty. No finer ox has ever been put under a yoke.] Helmbrecht not only names his oxen but also includes loving details about them, again using the superlatives common to descriptions one expects for a knight's horses. As
though Helmbrecht cannot help himself, he reveals his class affiliation, and it is the comic juxtaposition of courtly formulas with the farmer's realm that makes this clear. Readers of Helmbrecht have also argued that the story warns against violating the Fourth Commandment that one must honor one's mother and father. The narrator indicates explicitly that Helmbrecht is punished for his impertinent greetings to his parents ( 16921702). The theme of Helmbrecht's lack of respect is reinforced by the comic role reversal with his father. In the dialogue in which the father tries to convince his son to stay at home and be content with the honorable farming profession, Helmbrecht speaks with authority while his father speaks submissively. He tells his father to shut up, saying, "swic und lâ die rede sîn!" (260). Interjections such as this would likely have reminded the audience of Neidhart's dialogues, where the daughter chastized the mother. Ultimately, this unnatural situation is reversed upon Helmbrecht's second homecoming, when the father refuses to feed and lodge his wayward son. Moreover, later in the story, the father takes Helmbrecht's own conflated speech and uses it, word for word, against him, thereby reas-44serting patriarchal authority. Similarly, in the scene where Helmbrecht speaks in foreign languages in a condescending manner to his parents, his father beats him at his own game by asserting his right as a host not to feed and house him so that Helmbrecht is forced to reassume his role as son, not noble visitor. The comic situation of Helmbrecht being forced to speak "ein wort tiutischen" (759) and then to renounce his "nobility" by naming oxen emphasizes that Helmbrecht must return to his proper role as obedient son. The third didactic message of the work that has been proposed is that the poem is a lamentation on the decline of feudal society and an exhortation to return to the values of better days. The presentation of Helmbrecht's companion "knights" surely differs from the picture of knigthood one finds in Parzival or Erec. The names of his comrades all convey the devouring character of the knights who are interested in nothing but material gain: Helmbrecht himself is Slintezgeu (Swallowthe-Land), and some of his friends are Lemberslint (Lamb-Devourer), Hellesac (Hell-Sack), Rütelschrin (Shake-Open-theCoffer), Küefraz (CowEater), and Mîschenkelch (Chalice-Crusher) (translations from J. W. Thomas 91 ). The names are indeed gruesome, yet, as Bernhard Sowinski suggests, the parody of heroic names makes the names comic and silly, lessening their menace ( Wernher35). But this very silliness brings to our attention the fact that these "knights" are perversions of knighthood; by means of laughter the absent ideals of knighthood are thus evoked. The comic names illustrate the concept that Bakhtin called "grotesque degradation": "the lowering of all that is high, spiritual, ideal, abstract; it is a transfer to the material level, to the sphere of earth and body in their indissoluble unity" ( 19 - 20 ). The comic degradation of the ideal realm, usually through parody of official discourse, is, according to Bakhtin, the regenerative process that restores wholeness to the onesided and petrified discourse of seriousness. Although the regenerative power of Helmbrecht's parody is
questionable, it is certain that the parody of courtly ideals proves to be a highly effective process for reaffirming them, by inviting a comparison between true courtliness and superficial/false courtliness. Helmbrecht's carnivalesque description of his experience of court life, which directly follows his father's reminiscence on the good old days of fine knights and ladies dancing and knights jousting, certainly portrays a society of lost ideals: Daz sint nû hovelîchiu dinc: "Trinkâ, herre, trinkâ trinc! -45Trinc daz ûz, sô trinc ich daz! Wie möcht uns immer werden baz?" Vernim was ich bediute: ê vant man werde liute bî den schoenen frouwen, nû muoz man si schouwen bî dem veilen wîne. .......... Daz sint nû ir brieve von minne: "Vil sûeziu lîtgebinne, ir sult füllen uns den maser!" (985-93, 1001-3) [These are the courtly customs now: "Drink, sir, drink drink! Drink that up, and I'll drink this! How could it ever go better for us?" Listen to what I'm saying. It used to be that you found worthy people wherever there were beautiful ladies; now you can find them wherever wine is for sale. . . . Nowadays declarations of love go like this: "Dear, sweet barmaid, do fill up our cups!"] In this passage ideal minne, "courtly love," has been replaced by the bodily pleasure of drink, which figured prominently, of course, in Rabelais. This replacement is made vivid with the address to the "vil süeziu lîtgebinne," for the barmaid has replaced the distant lady of love poetry. It is also evident that Wernher uses formulaic speech from courtly literature to highlight the distance between past and present. One could, in fact, see the conflict between Helmbrecht and his father as not only a familial conflict but also a generational conflict. The parodic portrait of Helmbrecht and his companions is measured explicitly against the idealized portrait in courtly literature and thus presents the opposition of old and new social standards. Thus, although the parody would amuse an audience familiar with courtly literature, it could also have suggested a decline from a better period. That the grotesque degradation of courtly ideals was a technique used by Wernher is strengthened by the observation by some that the tale shows structural similarities with the Arthurian romance, with two parts, each rising to a crisis point with a healing scene between them and resolution at the end. The transposition of the courtly model to a peasant setting may be seen as carnivalesque in itself, a playing with literary forms.
the freedom to play with literary genres and motifs. therefore. The freedom and license. that is. That Bakhtin wanted to see in carnival and carnivalesque -47- . filled with the atmosphere of freedom and license" ( 83 ). In other words. particularly as the persecution of widows and orphans contradicts the knight's obligation to protect helpless members of society. die auf ein Antiziel. Thus. to respect one's parents. but it appears to have been much more conservative than Bakhtin's model would suggest. the parody of Arthurian ideals proposes in its place an absence of ideals: "Der Helmbrecht ist die Darstellung einer ritterlichen -46Antibewährung. (1463-69) [Now hear about terrible atrocities! Many widows and orphans had been robbed of their possessions and reduced to despair by the time the heroic Lemberslint and his bride Gotelint sat down on the bridal throne. the laughter in the text serves an important function. in using the structure of the Arthurian romance without the presence of a positive goal. den Tod.] The incongruous juxtaposition of elevated words such as helt. whether it be not to cross class boundaries. in this text at least. Manec witewe und weise an guote wart geletzet und riuwec gesetzet. It is. The notion of carnival as a confrontation between two dialogically opposed realms and the inversion of the ideal to the material helps to show the serious function of the moments of comic "incongruity" or inversion as a way to reinforce the didactic messages. or to return to lost ideals. But in none of these scenarios does laughter appear as a vehicle for peasant liberation. Additionally. hin tranzendiert" ( Reusner 114). Wernher's explicit comparison between King Arthur and Guinevere's wedding (1478-79) and that of Lemberslint and Gotelint makes all too apparent the decay of courtly ideals: Nû hoert von grôzer freise. appear to be purely literary. Wernher makes clear the lack of positive values in the society portrayed in his story. and briutestuol with the crimes committed emphasizes the theme of moral decay. gemahel. and the heavily didactic nature of the text should lead us to question Bakhtin's assertion that "all medieval parodical literature is recreative. it was composed for festive leisure and was to be read on feast days. dô der helt Lemberslint und sîn gemahel Gotelint den briutestuol besâzen.Moreover.
When Helmbrecht brings his family inappropriate presents. for it is likely that those who laughed most at the tale would have been educated nobility (or at least rising bourgeoisie) familiar with courtly literature.texts a liberation of the lower classes is clear in his assertion that "festive folk laughter presents an element of victory not only over supernatural awe. one that is truly universal. Helmbrecht challenges this notion of folk laughter. of the past. over death. Consequently. By bringing attention to these codes and playing with them. despite his or her intentions. Only it is a much more subtle liberation. of prohibitions. surely members of more privileged classes suffered from various prohibitions. an image that suggests that laughter was the domain of the small common folk and that the members of the official. tightlipped official world of bishops and kings and a laughing. The narrator indicates to his audience the importance of social knowledge. but rather his lack of understanding of appropriate circumstances for the convention. does not challenge medieval conceptions of class hierarchy. But we may still find a place for the liberating power of medieval laughter in Helmbrecht. popular truth" ( 94 ). Most of the humor in the text specifically works to show Helmbrecht's foolishness in trying to become a courtly knight. and censure. bakers. throughout his work runs the image of a Middle Ages divided between a serious. not just for expressing "an antifeudal. Clearly. it is not simply his gift giving that is at issue. it also means the defeat of power. a kind of liberation from the anxiety they could produce might be achieved. his failure to perceive that his gifts do not suit his supposed social status or that of his family renders his act comic. The scene confirms Helmbrecht's arrogance at pretending to be noble. It unveils the material bodily principle in its true meaning" ( 94 ). Although Bakhtin acknowledges that medieval laughter is universal. Helmbrecht. but it also shows how knowledge about conventions and rituals defines a person's social identity. of all that oppresses and restricts" ( 92 ). commenting on Helmbrecht's choice of . Despite his perhaps good intentions. and shoemakers may have had more to fear from rigid social structures. despite its carnivalesque inversions and playing with forms. of earthly kings. of power. Close attention to Helmbrecht reveals that the comic elements show to what extent arbitrary social -48codes control and restrict an individual's behavior in his or her social community. restrictions. powerful world were incapable of it. Although medieval farmers. over the sacred. Helmbrecht and his companions are expected to stay in their station and are punished for not doing so. laughing at the whole world. which he claimed arose because of their exclusion from the official seriousness of feudal and Church hierarchy. and it is almost always the peasant who is the victim of their laughter. laughter "liberates from the fear that developed in man during thousands of years: fear of the sacred. of the earthly upper classes. jolly world of the marketplace and fair. We should clarify that the power of laughter to temporarily relieve anxieties about social prohibitions must work for all levels of society. despite its comic degradation of courtly models. Helmbrecht would not be a text chosen by Bakhtin to illustrate the spirit of carnival laughter. According to Bakhtin. a term that he applies to all forms of humorous discourse. the tale makes clear the problematic nature of Bakhtin's term folk laughter. for all levels of society including "hierarchs and learned theologians" ( 13 ).
and if only he had known what those things were (it will make you smile)] (1054-56). It is also clear that Helmbrecht is not entirely to blame for his inept behavior. As Bakhtin says. Helmbrecht is not Parzival. The narrator's comment invites the audience to smile (or laugh) at Helmbrecht's failure to see what appropriate presents might be. Indeed. Although the audience surely laughs at Helmbrecht.points to Helmbrecht's youth and underlines the importance of apprenticeship in learning about appropriate social behavior. but rather simply serves as a traditional comic figure (272). so that one can laugh at how seriously a society takes itself. Unlike the noble young knight who simply has much to learn. Yet Helmbrecht is in a bind. It is perhaps significant that Helmbrecht brings gifts that compromise both his peasant and his nobleman's role. however. What did medieval audiences find so amusing in the peasant who played at being a knight? Bakhtin might answer that the peasant offers an effective means of counterpoint to the norms of "serious" courtly literature. In the initial description of Helmbrecht's ridiculous clothing. for this double compromise indicates the powerful control social conventions have over behavior. it is not so -49much Helmbrecht's ineptness that is highlighted as the whole notion of proper behavior as a set of rules that must be learned. KarlHeinz Schirmer. why the peasant is a traditional comic figure. he is a peasant who has exceeded his station. for he has merely followed the teachings of his "tutors" Lemberslint and Slickenwider (1185-87). carnival laughter "is directed at all and everyone. If he gives presents befitting his new nobleman's identity. The entire world is seen in its droll aspect. Helmbrecht has behaved like a typical fledgling knight under the tutelage of a more experienced knight ( Parshall 134 ). / der im daz hêt gerâten" [Whoever gave him advice about this understood how to teach him knightly virtue and how to win high praise] (175-77). scholars have viewed the comic representation of such upstart peasants as a conservative attack on those who disturbed social harmony by trying to take power not meant for them. including the carnival's participants. If he gives only practical gifts suited to farm life. The narrator's ironic comment -. they will be inappropriate for his family.particularly the words lêren and gerâten -. und wester / waz ez allez waere / (ir lachet der maere)!" [Yes indeed. We might ask."some amusing (gämelîcher) things" for his family: "Jâ zewâre. The peasant helps to show that courtly norms are not universal but relative. "Er kunde in tugende lêren / und hôhen lop gemêren. however. Traditionally. and it is perhaps for this reason that the peasant figure proved such an effective means of eliciting laughter from noble audiences. his nobleman's role will be compromised. the narrator quips. Thus. . has argued that the motif of the silly peasant such as one finds in Helmbrecht does not necessarily represent an attack on the peasant class. Of course. in its gay relativity" ( 11 ). for any present he gives will compromise his identity. they perhaps laugh with him as well in an unconscious response to Helmbrecht's dilemma as a person responsible to not only one social code but two.
for example. diu ander her. for example." "Nemt ir in gerne?. ein schar hin. the other that. rather than symbolic.The peasant characters in Helmbrecht. if God will let me have him. through their comic mistakes. material level: Dô sprach er ze Gotelinde: "Welt ir Lemberslinde gerne nemen zeinem man?" "Jâ. His description of the life he saw at court in his youth shows that he understands them on the physical. more literally than symbolically. The . give him to me!" For the third time: "Do you want him?""Of my own free will. each man rode as if he wanted to run another down. Gotelint's response on the literal material level brings attention to the formulaic level of the ritual she has not learned. "Gerne herre. ob mir sîn got gan. Even Father Helmbrecht. considered by many an ideal figure. is portrayed as naïve concerning ritual. The formulaic level of the rituals we take so seriously shines through in all its absurdity."sprach aber er. level. A modern example might be an American football game described as men running back and forth on a field chasing a ball and running into each other. Sir. wise and honorable. its "droll aspect. (931-35) [The knights rode as if they were raving mad (I heard them praised for it). "Do you wish. to take Lemberslint as your husband?""Yes. herre. Gotelint understands the formal ritual on a strictly physical. one group this way. ez fuor dirre unde der als et enen wolde stôzen. nû gebt mirn her!" (1521-28) [Next Gotelint was asked. help to show how societies arbitrarily invest physical objects or events with symbolic significance. Here." "Do you take him of your own free will?" he repeated. herre. sir.] Father Helmbrecht understands only the physical level of the courtly ritual." In the wedding scene between Gotelint and Lemberslint. gebt mirn her!" Zem dritten mâle: "Welt irn?" "Gerne. of your own free will. and his comic misunderstanding highlights the arbitrariness of how societies invest events with symbolic meaning. "Of my own free -50will. demanding that he "give" him to her. Sir. is how he describes knights jousting: Si fuoren sam si wolden toben (dar umbe hôrte ich si loben). now give him to me!"] Gotelint understands the priest's "nemen" in a very physcial sense.
Father Helmbrecht shows such misunderstanding of the cultural value of courtly literature. One of the most popular works in medieval Germany. -51The "gay relativity" or arbitrariness of social codes is further strengthened in the tale by the continual inversion of inner and outer value. Helmbrecht continually resorts to his physical appearance in order to justify his courtly aspirations. Scholars have generally missed this playful element of Father Helmbrecht's speech. Indeed. and it is for this reason that he has "such lofty ideals" ("mînen muot hôhe") (1374-82). Helmbrecht's comic effectiveness relies greatly on his inverted sense of what comprises courtliness. the farmer's description of only the outer appearance of courtly life would have been amusing. Whether these lines are a play on the medieval notion that a fetus could be altered when someone other than the father slept with the mother ( Parshall152). (271-78) [That really wouldn't suit my long blond hair and my curly locks and my beautifully cut coat and my splendid cap and the silken doves that were embroidered there by ladies.] ." by physical. For an audience who accepted the conventions of court life and literature. Parshall 1 53)). Ich hilf dir nimmer bouwen. not character. preferring to see in it a straightforward ubi sunt lamentation over the lost ideals of the past. traits.interview with the quarterback on television would also be meaningless without an understanding of the cultural value placed in the game. Yet his description is not wrong. concludes that this is why she is also of such noble character: "des stât ouch mir min muot sô hôch" (1384-92). claiming her mother was raped by a knight while pregnant and. To his father's urging that he stay on at the farm he responds: Daz zæme niht zewâre mînem langen valwen hâre und mîmen reidem locke und mînem wol stânden rocke und mîner waehen hûben und den sîdînen tûben die dar ûf nâten frouwen. it simply is only partially right. "nobility. like Helmbrecht. it is clear that Helmbrecht defines hôhe muot. the audience might actually become more aware of the formal level of courtly ritual they normally took for granted. which would further accentuate the degradation of noblility and courtly wooing to a very physical level. He explains to Gotelint that he is truly noble because "a very dashing courtier" slept with his mother while pregnant with him. Some have seen in this scene a parody of the pastoral love scene (for example. Gotelint echoes Helmbrecht's dubious claim to nobility. Through Father Helmbrecht's amusing naïveté. Herzog Ernst. and the adulterous nature of the explicitly physical act is hardly cause to inspire lofty character. is for him simply a story about "some guy named Ernst" (957). I'll never again help you farm.
although Helmbrecht appears ridiculous in his attempt to be courtly. by giving him dirty hands. The use of the poetic formula to lament not unrequited love but a simple breach of table manners certainly brings the exalted realm down to the most basic level of food and drink. The substitution of petty breaches of etiquette for breaking moral codes of honor makes Helmbrecht look ridiculous but at the same time mocks the rules societies establish to govern behavior. it will prevent him from dancing with the ladies (568-76). Critical debate on this question has not been resolved. / Rich ich daz niht. Still others discern a consistently anti-courtly attitude" (xxxiii). The half-line "sô bin ich tôt" recalls Reinmar's "stirbet si. MS. Wernher's attention to social codes brings us back to the question of the text's didactic function. And Helmbrecht swears that he will be forever dishonored in front of the ladies if he doesn't repay this insult: "Der biles in einen becher / den schûm von dem biere " [The man blew the foam from his beer right out of his cup] (116667).Helmbrecht claims that farming is not suited to his hairstyle and clothes. Others find Wernher merely disturbed by the rising power of the peasants. are quite curious. E). for as Parshall notes. These wrongs. So. Helmbrecht also uses inverted logic in his -52refusal to farm. 73. One rich man committed this offense: "der âz zuo den krâphen brôt. Although it is clear that Wernher is interested in contrasting and confronting different social realms. for the next insult he must correct is a man's unbuckling his belt at the table (1152-53). sô bin ich tôt" ( Minnesangs Friihling 158. Indeed. stating that. however. sô bin ich tôt" [he ate bread along with his fritters. particularly for an audience in a time of strict dress codes. it is less clear whether Wernher takes sides. whereas the tale's audience would certainly have thought that it was his brightly colored dress that was not suited to his farmer's station. even down to the clothes one could wear.16. ed. The scene parodies the chivalric convention of seeking satisfaction for insults -. The audience would probably hear echoes of the Minnesang poetry of Walther and Reinmar. upsets social harmony -. The passage that best shows a carnivalization of social conventions occurs when Helmbrecht announces to his father that he must return to court to redress some wrongs done to him. as any self-respecting knight would do. May I die if I don't avenge this] (1143-44).28) and Walther's reply "stirbe ab ich.he also victimizes his fellow -53- . "Some see the text as an unwavering condemnation of the peasantry and its disruption of the status quo. in leaving his station. a change for which he finds no political solution. Because Helmbrecht.with a double result. his inverted sense of social codes might indicate Wernher's desire to relativize and laugh at the arbitrary restrictions that control behavior. so ist si tôt" ( Lachmann. peasants in thirteenth-century Germany were prohibited from wearing certain colors such as blue ( Parshall 1 33)). Helmbrecht appears obsessed with dining etiquette.
(567-69) -54[Listen to what I'm trying to tell you: if the peasants work their hardest tilling the field they only gobble up that much more. The tale might then be a call to the nobility to live up to the standards of their privileged station. Yet the work also could be seen as anticourtly because it makes fun of courtly conventions and raises questions about the defining characteristics of true nobility. sie ezzent wol deste mê. Swie halt mir mîn dinc ergê. he was interested not in blaming one social class but in exploring the dynamics of social conflict itself. as Bakhtin's model suggests. Whereas Father Helmbrecht represents an idealizing point of view. but the clash of world views may also be represented by the voices of Father Helmbrecht and his son. his point is perhaps well taken. " Wernher is consciously pointing out the difference between an idealizing and non-idealizing view of the world" ( 60 ). 5 When Father Helmbrecht tries to persuade his son to live the good farmer's life and thus provide sustenance to kings and fine ladies. Margetts has in mind Wernher's parodying the models of courtly literature. who are more like Helmbrecht's thieving pals than the fine knights and ladies of Father Helmbrecht's reminiscences.the poem could be interpreted as an attack on a rising third estate that threatened to destabilize the feudal system. yet simultaneously neither. In other words.and pronobility. Indeed. Helmbrecht responds in a line of uncharacteristic seriousness: Vernim was ich dir sagen wil: bûwent die gebûren vil. laughter might relieve anxieties about social conflict without actually providing a solution for it. However things may go for me. ich wil dem phluoge widersagen. Thus. another way to approach this problem is to explore the text as a sort of dialogue between different world views. when peasants were peasants and there was always a fine and merry feast to attend. Helmbrecht himself is emblematic of the ambivalence in Wernher's portrayal of medieval society because he is neither fully peasant nor fully noble.] Helmbrecht reminds his father that life is hard. Although Helmbrecht's adamant demand for a career change would probably have raised smiles in a medieval audience. Wernher's attitude seems thus to be both anti. Perhaps the tale was aimed at the contemporary nobility. And perhaps. The ambivalence of Wernher's message suggests that although he was probably criticizing social ills. he was equally interested in the social tensions responsible for them.peasants -. that idealism does not put food on the table. I mean to give up the plow. As John Margetts has suggested. Wernher . A noble audience might be invited to join in Father Helmbrecht's lamentation over the lost idealism of earlier days. and that peasants are made to suffer in the service of the rich and powerful. Helmbrecht's comic degradation of formal ritual to the material level might serve as a sort of corrective to literary or social ideals that do not take into account real social pressures.
following the literary tradition of dream interpretation. Wernher's interest in contrasting world views is made more explicit by the way in which Helmbrecht argues with his father. With the juxtaposition of êren and geligest Wernher might be winking at the audience as if to say that. then beer will be brewed for me and grain finely ground for me. political stability. just as -55Neidhart had done with his portrayal of "Niedere Minne. daz mir Lemberslint werde gegeben ze manne. challenges the overidealized model of courtly love. Gotelint.frequently uses food imagery to play out the tension between ideal and material concerns. then my frying pan will sizzle. reproduction. sô schrîet mir mîn phanne. (1396-1401) [See to it that Lemberslint is given to me as my husband. "dû geligest Lemberslinde bî / wol nâch dînen êren" [You will lie beside Lemberslint as befits your fine reputation (or honor)] (1438-39). When Father Helmbrecht. although comic in the context of the formal wedding arrangement. his son presents subjective ones ( Wernher29). for neither seems really to listen to what the other has said. And Gotelint's reasoning. Parodic scenes such as this put into question the idealized view of love. in a sense. all of the outer trappings of wooing are really based on the desire for sexual gratification. an argument that centers almost entirely on food and drink. approach more closely the reality of marriage in the Middle Ages: economic gain. as when father and son argue over the relative merits of farming life or courtly life. Wernher's preoccupation with food also suggests the relevance of carnival with its emphasis on food and drink as a reaffirmation of the material body. Helmbrecht offers a counterinterpretation to all four.] Again. The dialogue is. As Sowinski has noted. when it comes down to it. and Helmbrecht appears most interested in criticizing his father's preachy mode of discourse. the ideal of marriage has been brought down to the level of food. for her part. asking her brother to arrange the marriage with the "knight" Lemberslint: Schaffe. Helmbrecht's retorts serve to deflate his father's idealizing speech. is not preposterous given her poverty. Gotelint's reasons for marriage. whereas the father presents objective. sô ist gelesen mir der wîn und sint gefüllet mir diu schîin." Wernher debunks the myth of a spiritualized love when he has Helmbrecht promise to Gotelint. generalizing arguments. as opposed to courtly literature's idealization of love. sô ist gebrûwen mir daz bier und ist wol gemalen mir. then grapes will be harvested for my wine and my cupboards will be full. Moreover. presented as a nondialogue. interprets Helmbrecht's four dreams as omens of his downfall. .
Vater, dîner predige got mich schier erledige. Ob ûz dir worden waere ein rehter predigaere, dû braehtest liute wol ein her mit dîner predige über mer. (561-66) [Father, may God deliver me from your sermon this very moment! If you had become a real preacher you might well have drawn a whole army of people over the sea with your preaching.] Father Helmbrecht's dreams, however, prove to be true, and when Helmbrecht is blinded and mutilated as punishment for his crimes, he returns to seek pity from his father. He now assumes his father's preachy style: durch die gotes êre sult ir dem tiuvel an gesigen: lât mich als einen dürftigen in iuwerm hüse kriechen. (1764-67) -56[For the glory of God, overcome the devil by letting me stay in your house as a beggar.] His father's reaction is to laugh with scorn (hônlachte), for Helmbrecht's new mode of discourse has come too late. He turns Helmbrecht away and uses Helmbrecht's own insolent discourse, calling him "her blindekîn" (1717), a response to Helmbrecht's deprecating "gebûrekîn" spoken earlier. He also deflates Helmbrecht's earlier boast that he could eat iron: "he waz ir îsens âzet" (1749). The exchange both of specific words and of modes of discourse suggests Wernher is interested in not only what is said but also how it is said and how speech represents different world views. As for the narrator, far from sorting out and clarifying the different points of view in the text, he contributes to the textual ambivalence. His playfulness should lead us to question the apparently transparent didactic messages in the text, or at least to explore levels of meaning beyond these messages. Bakhtin's discussion of the carnival mask, which he connected with "the playful element of life" ( 40 ) and with "gay relativity and with the merry negation of uniformity and similarity" ( 39 ), suggests the importance of the playful narrator, who crafts a role for himself and wears it throughout his story. Like Neidhart's narrators, he inserts himself into his own story, such as when he comments that next to Helmbrecht, he would have been less successful with women (208-10). He even compares himself explicitly with Neidhart, whom he claimed could have described Helmbrecht's splendor better than he has (21720). The narrator's apparent modesty should perhaps be taken as playfulness, a desire to change roles, to be a character in his own story. And by playing with his audience, he is able to assert his power as the teller of the tale. At times the narrator seems to take such delight in his controlling role over the story that he gets "carried away" with his own narrative. His extremely lengthy description of Helmbrecht's cap is a good example.
Scholars have criticized Wernher for a lack of artistic sense in the description. W. T. H. Jackson explains that " Wernher's enthusiasm for his cap has swept him away, but we are amused and the description is after all significant for the story" ( 48 ). Although Jackson rightly points to the exaggeration, it is not Wernher who gets swept away, but his narrator! Might not Wernher have created a narrator who is playing with his own role? The seemingly insignificant details about the cap's -57makers, the nun, and the seven weavers who ran away before finishing the job might reflect the narrator's pleasure at narrative digression in defiance of his duty to get to the point and tell his "true" story. Indeed, the narrator claims five times in the first one hundred lines that his story is literally true, surely an exaggeration of a common medieval topos. In cases in which the tale was read aloud before an audience, we might imagine a particular performer using exaggerated gestures or tone of voice to convey an ironic attitude toward this notion of truth in fiction. The narrator, in fact, undercuts his narrative authority by later admitting his insufficient knowledge, as when he says, "Ob erz roubte oder staele? / vil ungerne ich daz haele, / waer ich sîn an ein ende komen" [Did he rob or steal things? If I knew the details myself, I'd be the first to tell you] (1071-72). Likewise, he holds out on his audience in the details of Gotelint's fate, saying, "Der sage ez der daz saehe" [Whoever witnessed it can tell you] (1638). The narrator who previously affirmed so adamantly that he witnessed everything with his own eyes now gives up responsibility for the story to other (potential) narrators. We might even say, with Bakhtin, that he obscures the "footlights" of his storytelling and does not "acknowledge any distinction between actors and spectators" ( 7 ). Wernher's narrator, rather than a reliable narrator who lays out the moral messages of the story, is an ambivalent narrator who continually plays with his own role and with his listeners' expectations of him. The narrator's ambivalence indicates that one should not, as has been done, take his words at face value to represent the viewpoint of the author. J. W. Thomas explicitly warns that the narrator "is basically a comic figure who has his own role to play and cannot be trusted to speak for the author" ( 19 ). And, as Bernhard Sowinski has shown, the narrator's praise of Helmbrecht's clothing is somewhat suspect because his description actually makes us doubt whether he wears noble's clothing at all ( Wernher29; Prasse 165-68). Consequently, we hesitate to take seriously the narrator's other terms of praise or judgment. In fact, the narrator often seems to undercut his own moralizing statements when he plays with his role. For example, he relates the destruction of the cap with emotion and in detail: Daz was ein griulîch dinc: sô breit als ein phenninc -58beleip ir niht bî einander. Siteche und galander,
sparwaere und turteltûben, die genâten ûf der hûben, die wurden gestreut ûf den wec. (1883-89) [It was a gruesome scene. Nothing so big as a penny was left in one piece. Parrots and larks, sparrow hawks and turtle-doves, the ones sewn on the cap, they were strewn all over the path.] The narrator then mentions in passing Helmbrecht's death, so that it is trivialized next to the destruction of the cap, as though the narrator himself has an inverted sense of narrative importance. Using Bakhtin's theory of carnival has helped to explore the dynamic relationship between the comic and didactic functions of Helmbrecht. By seeing comic moments in the story as a way to elicit and reinforce serious themes, we may understand the comic in the text not as a superficial outer coating to the didactic message but as the very process through which these didactic messages may be expressed. The degrading function of the work's comic scenes relies on the several didactic themes, thereby reaffirming the work's conservative ideology. Yet, although Helmbrecht is unlikely to have fostered revolutionary desires in the downtrodden peasantry, carnival does make us more aware of the other voices that speak within the text. Although the peasant does not fare very well in the tale, there is, at least, a presentation of the material concerns of the peasant community, concerns largely ignored by the idealizing courtly literature of the time. Moreover, carnival's attention to conflicting or contrasting voices enables us to acknowledge the ambivalence of the medieval comic text. By seeing that Helmbrecht's didactic messages work through a carnivalization of both the courtly and the peasant realm, we discover the author's interest in the very control that social codes exercise on both those realms. Bakhtin's emphasis on the playfulness of the carnivalesque text also helps us to recognize the playfulness of the tale's narrator, an elusive teller who, despite his sometimes grim and gruesome moralizing, eludes finite pronouncements, so that the tale may be read as a celebration of the ambivalence that makes the medieval text such an intriguing interpretive challenge. And if we ask why medieval audiences laughed at this sometimes gruesome story, we might answer that laughter provided an outlet for the anxiety produced by social restrictions and -59by the rigidity of formal rituals. And perhaps, as Bakhtin thought, laughter really did enrich and regenerate seriousness so that it would not "atrophy" and "be torn away from the one being, forever incomplete" ( 123 ). Whether or not we share Bakhtin's great faith in attributing to laughter such power, we have surely learned to appreciate the comic underside of seriousness and to listen carefully for the serious things it has to tell us. -60-
mystery plays. comments within the plays themselves show that restrictions nonetheless existed. "A ces jours sy y fault tout dyre.that flourished in France between 1450 and 1560 and virtually disappeared by 1600. 2 When the Badin declares. privilege the public square and the streets for their productions. I will always be candid and clear like on the day of Mardi Gras] ( 180 -81). And later in the play.as well as the larger carnival season.the day of this play's performance -. -61the entire theatrical life of the Middle Ages was carnivalistic" ( Dostoevsky 129). / Se qu'on sayt. on le prent a bien" [At this time of the year. his ironic and revealing comment alludes to the freedom of speech generally associated with Mardi Gras -. sotties and so forth. H. promote freedom of speech and action.Dangerous Dialogues The Sottie as a Threat to Authority Jody L. "Je le diroys bien. . groups organized by profession. 1 The 1536 Mardi Gras celebrations in Rouen entertained crowds with the Farce moralle et joyeusse des sobres sots. 3 Moreoer. one must say everything one knows for it is well-taken] (288-89). and a badin. mais je n'ose.generally no longer than five hundred lines -. that is. on the performance days of miracle plays. reiterating the censors' use of physical torture to silence potential critics of such established authorities as the Church and State: "Sy je n'avoys peur / Qu'on me serast trop fort les doys. the Badin refers to the continued threat of censorship. and one group comprising law clerks called themselves the basochiens and proved quite adept at playing sotties. / Je seray tousjours franc et quicte. These plays were written and performed by members of sociétés joyeuses. he suggests that the language that emerges during these celebrations can be quite truthful ("candid and clear"). and thus provides a valuable lens for understanding Bakhtin's model of carnival and his view of drama. Later in the play a sot adds. for instance. / Car le parler m'est deffendu" [I would say it. when one sot is on the verge of assailling another. A study of the sottie reveals similarities and differences between carnival and the sottie. McQuillan The sottie is a short comic play -. carnival and feast days often served as a backdrop for performances of sotties. an agile acrobat. It thus seems that linguistic freedoms also exist during this time of social license. Despite these references to the license accorded carnival and the sottie. Bakhtin links carnival and the sottie in writing that a "carnival atmosphere reigned during the days of a fair . a sottie depicting a discussion among three sots. he restrains himself. for instance. explaining. but I dare not for I am forbidden to speak] ( 13 . / En .14 ). / Comme le jour du mardi gras" [If my words seem vexing. and many plays include references to Mardi Gras and the carnival season. and disrupt such generally accepted borders as the distinction between actors and audience. In his work on poetics. In the Farce des sobres sots. Both constructs. foster images of a world upside-down. or clever fools. "Que sy ma parole est despite. Historically. .
These comments signal a critical difference in the reception of carnival and that of the sottie. but rather proclaims the joyful relativity of everything. The characters come together dialogically in the unified field of vision of author. for instance. and they had clearly delineated temporal limits that were generally adhered to. In contrast. so to speak. . the very process of replaceability. as that which resolves all dialogic oppositions. to limit performances of the sottie because. Moreover. The whole concept of a dramatic action. a study of the sottie raises issue with Bakhtin's conception of both carnival and drama. contain the possibility of violent outbursts. director. 4 Before they could confront the nobles. it is impossible to combine several integral fields of vision in a unity that . The carnival in Romans in 1580 thus reveals that carnival shares a further similarity with the sottie. and audience. . that being its potential to disrupt social order. . paradoxically. and not the precise item that is replaced. Carnivals were generally tolerated by those in power for various possible reasons -they served as safety valves to release pent-up social tensions. ( Dostoevsky 125) In light of similarities and differences between the sottie and carnival. I suggest that carnival may not always be the joyful celebration Bakhtin claims: it possesses the potential to erupt at any moment into an event both dangerous and threatening. because dramatic action.peu de mos je vous diroys / Des choses qui vous feroyent rire" [If I weren't so scared that they might torture me. Given this point of view. against the clearly defined background of a single-tiered world. could not link those levels together or resolve them. In terms of carnival. as the sots' comments show. Bakhtin's reading of drama appears univocal and monologic. functional -62and not substantive. these plays might promote dangerous dialogues. on closer examination. In 1580. In his words: In drama the world must be made from a single piece. the nobles anticipated the mutinous plan and killed many artisans in order to. It absolutizes nothing. in a few words I would tell you things that would make you laugh] (285-87). is purely monologic. the annual carnival in the village of Romans evolved into a bloody massacre when local artisans decided to use the carnival as a backdrop to attack nobles in protest of taxes and the ever-escalating price of bread. dialogues whose language threatens the power of the Church and State. or bans. Carnival is. A true multiplicity of levels would destroy drama. Bakhtin articulates a utopian conception of this construct by focusing only on its creative and generative attributes: Carnival celebrates the shift itself. they were simply too large to contain. the decrees also reveal that authorities of Church and State perceived the sottie as threatening and dangerous to their continued rule and that their authority allowed them to take action to censor these productions. relying as it does upon the unity of the world. Parliament issued numerous arrêts. In drama. In so doing.
for instance. instead. a study of the sottie not -63only lauds Bakhtin's insights into the workings of carnival and reveals parallels with the sottie but also exposes theoretical shortcomings in his conception of carnival and his view of drama. Bakhtin calls the "transposition of carnival into the language of literature the carnivalization of literature" ( Dostoevsky122) and he writes of the "carnivalistic atmosphere" surrounding medieval plays. and combines the sacred with the profane. . assigning them inferior and marginal positions while simultaneously conferring power to those heretofore on the margins of society. unifies. thereby reiterating the classical definition of dramatic action as comprised of beginning." to borrow Bakhtin's term. and end. he does not specifically address parallels between his model of carnival and the sottie. The king. weds. open in promoting interaction and dialogue atypical of normal life. . Carnival brings together. In fact. no longer occupies the position of power. One of the more prominent features of both the Bakhtinian carnival and the sottie involves turning traditional social structures upside down. the wise with the stupid" ( Dostoevsky123). These festivities dethrone powerful officials. middle. Carnival. it was precisely these elements that the authorities of Church and State found threatening -because these plays that showed how language could be manipulated by those with power to deceive and oppress others threatened the integrity and authority of ruling authorities and caused Parliament to issue decrees restricting theatrical performances. to be carried over into the higher sphere of the spirit and the intellect. typically depicts a world upside-down in which nothing and no one resist the festive freedom from social norms -. . he posits an "open structure" present in the processes of carnivalization. however. the lofty with the low. ( Dostoevsky 17) Bakhtin views drama as a unified entity embedding a single message. the great with the insignificant. Here." the sottie in effect promotes multiplicity and dialogue. because the structure of drama offers no support for such a unity. "made possible the creation of the open structure of the great dialogue. Parallels Between the Sottie and Carnival Carnivalization. parallels that yield valuable insights into both constructs.encompasses and stands above them all. the suspension of established norms encourages abundant "carnivalistic mésalliances. Whereas Bakhtin claims that "a true multiplicity of levels would destroy drama. which earlier had always been primarily the sphere of a single and unified monologic consciousness" ( Dostoevsky177). Thus. This backdrop enhances a vision of the world of the sottie as a world in which one sot stands . the fool sits atop the royal throne wielding a scepter. The world of carnival becomes a world wherein social rules are abandoned and disorder prevails. to devour vast quantities of meat and wash it down with equally large amounts of drink. . for example. and permitted social interaction . as a "free and familiar attitude spreads over everything. as Bakhtin writes.everyone abandons daily routines to dance and sing in the streets. . Consequently.
the Roy des sotz. a new mode of interrelationship between individuals.center stage and plays king to his court of sots while depriving "rational men" of voices and casting them from court. Parce que sotz des gens de grand renom Et de petits jouent les grandes follies Sur escaffaux en parolles polis. 5 In line with the conception of carnival as a world turned upside down. to hold court here and now and make my sots come bow before me. the sottie was most frequently played on scaffoldings constructed in the square or in the streets. in a concretely sensuous. Similarly. these lines show that within the world of the sottie a sot reigns over court. and the official culture can blend with the unofficial folk culture: "People who in life are separated by impenetrable hierarchical barriers enter into free and familiar contact on the carnival square" ( 123 ). . Moreover. . . the public square is identified by Bakhtin as the ideal locus for carnival. half-real and half-play-acted form. Maintenant cy ma court tenir Et tous mes sotz faire venir Pour me faire la reverence. Pourtant je vueil . the public square allows carnival "a place for working out. Although carnival's celebrations are most visible in the streets and concentrated in the public square. 6 -65- . ( 1 . thereby overturning familiar hierarchies and perpetuating the world upside-down generally associated with carnival. Moreover. Bakhtin recognizes that carnival was not limited to public spaces but that the festive spirit also went beyond boundaries of the square and in effect "invaded the home" ( Rabelais 128). and the royal court no longer consists of courtiers but of sots and fools. The public square and this mingling of high and low highlight the "free and familiar contact" afforded people in this location. I wish . counterposed to the all-powerful sociohierarchical relationships of noncarnival life" ( Dostoevsky123). when the Roy declares to his sottish court: -64Je suis des sotz seigneur et roy. In the public square people mingle. for by its very idea carnival belongs to the whole people" ( Dostoevsky128).] These opening lines typify the sottie in replacing the King of France with a foolish counterpart.5 ) [I am master and king of sots. A typical example appears in the Sottie nouvelle du Roy des sotz. as a poem written in 1545 by Jehan Bouchet indicates: En France elle a de sottie le nom. nonetheless. He emphasizes that "the central arena could only be the square. .
"Je n'oseroye. / Car je me deshonnoreroye / Devant ces gens icy d'honneur" [I dare not for I will dishonor myself in front of these honorable people] ( 99 . From this perspective. Car fol qui cuyde estre saige. as evidenced in the players' comments directed to actors and spectators alike. the Roy creates one group of sots comprised of both actors and audience.39 ). 50 . In addition to pervading multiple social spaces. Throughout Rabelais.he who thinks he is wise is a fool. . as well as on the famed marble table in the Palais de Justice. "Veez en cy qui nous regardent. in royal suites. and everyone participates because its very idea embraces all the people" ( 7 ). ou sept. both carnival and the sottie disrupt the generally accepted distinction between actors and spectators. Might they not come quickly there. For instance. Le Roy des sotz: I see six or seven or nine of them over there who have never paid me homage. the sottie was not only performed in the streets but also at Châtelet and les Halles. thereby furthering the parallel with carnival ( Fabre132. they live in it. As carnival encourages people to play along in its games of temporal excess. Bakhtin insists on the popular nature of carnival as well as on its collective participation: "Carnival is not a spectacle seen by the people. Sottinet looks at the audience and says to the Roy des sotz.] Yet due to its growing popularity. Sottinet then explains: Sottinet. it is called the sottie because sots or people of great reknown. .[In France. and Triboulet exclaims. to the assembly of sots?] ( 38 . the sottie also attempts to involve everyone. Par cela les peult on congnoistre. they ultimately transcend spatial constraints and pervade entire cities and towns with their play. the sottie theatricalizes real-world spaces during its performances. Le Roy des sotz: J'en voy la six. in the Sottie nouvelle du Roy des sotz. recognizing "six or seven or nine" sots among the spectators. in a similar fashion. . Later in this same play Sottinet and the Roy ask the self-declared gentleman Triboulet to undress to verify that he sports no sottish garb. Because it is unclear if he refers to the audience as honorable people. ( 42 .101 ). / Que n'y viennent ils vistement?" [You see some sots here looking at us. they maintain that it is precisely this belief -66that renders them sots. ou neuf Qui oncq ne me firent hommaige. play foolish games on scaffoldings using elegant words. and those relatively unknown. 231-32.] Although Sottinet and the Roy des sotz acknowledge the spectators' belief that they are not fools. . 275. . although both carnival and the sottie are concentrated in public spaces. also see Petit de Julleville 160 and Enders128-61). to fellow players as honorable men. or . .51 ) [Sottinet: This is how one can recognize them -.45. One could thus say that as carnival carnivalizes real-world space during its festivities. Furthermore.
he is using an ambiguous response to blur the distinction between actors and spectators. stage directions indicate that he is "ad populum irridendo" [among the people laughing] ( 132 ). they nonetheless reveal an underlying fear of the power that could be derived from dramatic performances. By its very nature. drama in-67volves dialogues on many levels -. A discussion of the sottie reveals similarities with the Bakhtinian carnival and its relation to the "open structure of the great dialogue" ( Dostoevsky177): images of the world upside-down mesh the high with the low. and complements Bakhtin's insights into the workings of carnival. These parallels expose elements of "the great dialogue" present in both the sottie and carnival. Abuz finds himself "admirando illum et irridendo" [marveling at him and laughing] ( 148 ). Parliament continued to censor and silence the sottie until the end of the sixteenth century. and when Sot Glorieux arrives. and even in anticipation of audience response. And in the Sotise a huit personnaiges. Faced with these popular and potentially threatening theatrical productions. and the collective nature of both constructs blurs the traditional distinction between actors and spectators. a threat put into motion by its dialogues. when the main character Abuz seeks potential members for a new society. Arden views these satirical plays as ultimately conserving established norms and disempowering any threat to existing social structures ( 74 . Such dialogues emphasize the potential for multiple interpretations inherent in language. Yet the sottie goes one step further in promoting discussions that otherwise might not be allowed by the authorities of Church and State: they mesh dramatic performance with critiques of these same authorities to create what I term dangerous dialogues.75 ). the sottie also intertwines actors and audience. productions in the public square and in the streets force the unofficial and the official to mingle. As carnival includes everyone in its celebrations. Dangerous Dialogues within the Sottie Despite parallels between the sottie and carnival. . the sottie frequently exceeded socially acceptable boundaries.among the characters. Various sots begin to assemble. but why would Parliament outlaw and banish plays that engendered support for the continued reign of these same authorities? Increasing censorship of these plays reflected the all-too-real threat inherent in the sottie. And although the numerous parliamentary bans expose continually shifting opinions about the theater. as evident by the fact that Parliament issued numerous decrees to censor and control these plays. thereby showing how language can be elusive and ultimately allowing the sottie to address controversial topics. thereby placing Abuz the actor in the position of a spectator watching the performance and laughing at it. between the director and actors.perhaps to both actors and audience at the same time. This stage indication directs Abuz to look at the most recent arrival with wonder and to laugh or mock him.
Recall the opening lines of the Sottie nouvelle du Roy des sotz: Je suis des sotz seigneur et roy. In response to the potential for attacks such as these. . Petit de Julleville. a decree issued on August 14 condemned the actors to several days in prison with only bread and water] ( 100). although these lines imply heterosexual tendencies. denounces the hermits' behavior and their flagrant disregard for their vows of chastity: "Vous avez voué chasteté. ( 1 . Furthermore. You are miserable ruses and you want to ravage these two girls with your dirty and disgusting actions] ( 224. 226 -28). / Mais aulx champs droictz demy liepars / A pousuyvir filles et femmes" [we appear to be righteous monks. for example. I wish . For instance.Dangerous dialogues surface in many sotties as these plays question the authority of both the Church and State. "[n]ous faisons les freres frapars. Vous estes de cautelles plainctz / Et voulès ravir ses deulx filles / Par vos actes ordes et villes" [You took vows of chastity. . and his use of court suggests parallels between the court of the king of France and his court of sots. hints at an element of sottise in the king's court. La Vielle Bru. but in the fields outside town we act like wild beasts in pursuing girls and women] ( 230 -32).5 ) -68[I am master and king of sots. Le Premier Hermite responds that when in towns and cities. the term frapars also has homosexual connotations and thus presents another possible interpretation of these lines and another potential threat to clergy. . . This sottie attacks the clergy by creating an image of hermits pretending to be pious and chaste yet revelling in sexual impropriety. consider the Farce nouvelle a cinq personnages. Maintenant cy ma court tenir Et tous mes sotz faire venir Pour me faire la reverence. . a play presenting two hermits persistently making sexual advances on two younger women. . avant qu'elle n'ait été approuvée par un censeur" [it is forbidden for clerks to ever perform a . but Parliament immediately declared that "[i]l est défendu aux clercs de jamais jouer une satire. au pain et à l'eau" [in 1442.] The Roy summons his loyal followers to gather at court and to praise him. remarks that "[e]n 1442. Pourtant je vueil . and conversely. Not only were players imprisoned. . . to hold court here and now and make my sots come bow before me. authorities in the first half of the fifteenth century actively sought to censor performances of the sottie. . too. Such a parallel lends an element of rationality to the sottish court. un arrêt du 14 août condamna les acteurs U+00EO quelques jours de prison. . thus undermining the supposed rationality of the court of France. nonetheless. after the basochiens performed despite a parliamentary interdiction. les Basochiens ayant joué. malgré la défense du Parliament. The women's chaperone. These two examples typify the sottie in suggesting that authorities. may be deceiving people to serve their own ends -a revelation that ultimately implies that authorities may manipulate language to mandate interpretations favorable to their continued rule.
en demandent congé à ladite Cour.Dabot8). rocks. And on May 15. elle y pourvoira ainsi qu'elle avisera être expedient ou necessaire" [If they (the law clerks) want to play games or frolic. whereas in 1443 Parliament ordered actors to request permission for all performances. racines. the king immediately threw Baude and four actors into prison. this time making it difficult to even ask permission to perform a play without being banished. Although Parliament did not develop a consistent approach to these popular plays. thus ushering in a new attitude toward the theater. 8 During the reign of Charles VIII. they must ask the Court and the Court will provide for the games as it deems expedient or necessary] ( Fabre 1 36)). Harvey227-28). As the king and several courtiers took offense at the implications of this representation. Harvey227. Petit de Julleville101). they did continue to censor these theatrical performances until the death of Louis XI. the parliamentary decrees grew increasingly stringent as the basochiens refused to abide by them ( Hallays. Although this image does not explicitly attack the king. solicitors of the Court and of Châtelet to perform: "[Q]u'ilz ne jouent ne fassent farces ne -69moralitez publicquement ne aultrement le premier mai sans le congé et license de la Cour" [Let them neither perform nor produce farces or morality plays either publicly or otherwise on May 1 without the Court's permission] ( Harvey226. another order was issued. threatening those who disobeyed with beatings as well as banishment ( Fabre137. Petit de Julleville101). Parliament disallowed clerks of magistrates. pierre. Petit de Julleville102). It was during his reign that plays such as the farce and the sottie flourished. roots. Parliament forbade performances of farces or morality plays. the play depicted the fountain as obstructed: "Herbes. the basochiens represented "l'autorité royale sous la figure d'une fontaine d'eau vive. For instance. 1476.satirical play before it has been approved by a censor] ( Hallays. One year later. / Roche. Louis XII reinstated theatrical spectacles and encouraged freedom in their play. stones. mud and gravel many times stop fountains from flowing] ( 102 -5) ( Fabre141. 7 In 1477. for he especially liked political . Toward the end of the fifteenth century. 1443. image de la pureté des intentions du monarque" [the royal authority as a fountain of moving water to symbolize the purity of the monarch's intentions] ( Petit de Julleville 102). Hallays-Dabot 8. boue et gravois / La course de fontaines vives / Empeschent bien souvantes fois" [Grasses. Led by the poet Henri Baude. Parliament declared that these actors could not cease performances without permission ( Fabre137. a second ruling stated: "Que s'ils (les Clercs) veulent faire jeux ou esbatements. In April 1474. comic plays reappeared and the basochiens decided to perform a sottie and a morality play on May 1. Harvey226-27. The sotties remained a threat to existing norms and familiar hierarchies despite heightened censorship.Dabot8). Soon after his coronation. This remains the earliest decree issued by Parliament to control farces and sotties. on May 12. 1486. These orders were repeated in 1475. 1473. on August 17.
in a discussion with a courtier complaining of the satirical edge apparent in many plays. a contemporary of Louis XII. Mère Sotte then arrives and announces her plan to undermine the prince's power: -71- . il leur abandonne Jules II" [The king allows the basochiens to play himself and his courtiers. summons his loyal subjects to assemble and numerous sots arrive in response to his call. actors might freely represent the injustices being committed in his court and his entire kingdom. personifying Louis XII. puisque les confesseurs et autres qui sont les sages. n'en veulent rien dire" [I wish that the actors might perform freely and that the young people might name the abuses occurring in my court -70since the confessors and other wise persons do not want to say anything about that] ( Petit de Julleville106). on jouast librement les abus qui se commettoient. however. tant en sa cour comme en tout son royaume. the Prince des sots. rather than fearing the problems such power might engender. For instance. Guillaume Bouchet. Such a strategic use of the sottie was especially apparent in 1512. Dressed in pontifical robes. he encourages them to represent Pope Jules II] ( Hallays-Dabot10). And to fight his battles.February 13. and May 14. et que les jeunes gens declairent les abus qu'on fait en ma Court. they had access to an alternative means of propaganda: the theater] ( 107 ). In addition. Although Louis XII lifted the bans of the fifteenth century. when Louis XII found himself warring with Italy. ils eurent recours U+00EO un moyen de propagande plus actif: le théâtre" [The press did not provide sufficient means for Louis XII and his ministers to fight the pope. he used the Sottie contre le Pape Jules II as a means of attack: "[L]e roi livre route sa cour et luimême au roi de la basoche et au prince des sots. Not only did Louis XII promote freedom in theatrical productions. In this sottie. 1510 -"trente livres parisis" were paid to the basochiens to defray production costs ( Fabre 143). Louis XII explained his strategy of using theater as a means for dialogue: "Je veux qu'on joue en liberté. his actions still acknowledged the power of these theatrical performances. et voulut que sur iceux. he did this thinking that would learn and know many things from these performances that otherwise would be impossible for him to know] ( Petit de Julleville 107). pensant par la apprendre et sçavoir beaucoup de choses lesquelles autrement il lui estoit impossible d'entendre" [he [ Louis XII] allowed freedom of expression in the theaters and wished that in these theaters. Instead of publishing pamphlets to justify his position and to denounce that of the Italians. praised the king's desire to hear popular opinion of his reign and explained that "il [ Louis XII] permit les theatres libres. 1508. he sought to harness it for his own ends ( Petit de Julleville107-8). Pour combattre l'ennemi. Picot reiterates the use of this play to expose alleged abuses of Pope Jules II: "La presse ne suffit pas à Louis XII et à ses ministres pour combattre le pape.satire and he understood the power derived from a dialogue intertwining politics and theater ( Petit de Julleville105). but documents show that on two occasions during his reign -.
In addition to assailing the pope's faith. Ha! brief. (343-48. a claim that seems far from Christian. pour ma devise. entendez la substance" [Mother Folly will give you material goods. . Mais soubz l'habit. vela mon entreprise.] Her accomplices wholeheartedly support her and volunteer to solicit support from others in whatever way possible.Le temporel vueil acquerir Et faire mon renom florir. 9 This sottie is complex because it provided the means for Louis XII to criticize Pope Jules II without directly incurring blame. She then explains her plans for a new game driven by power and greed. attempts to persuade clergymen and princes to side with Mère Sotte by promising them much wealth -. Thus. I am wearing foolish garb typical of Mother Folly. ducatz. ilz le feront.I want everyone to notice that I am calling myself the Holy Mother Church . a game intended to make her both spiritual and political leader of the world: "Mon filz la temporalité / Entretient . / Mais je veuil . . Mère Sotte. for example."La Mere sotte vous fera / Des biens. the State supported these attacks on Pope Jules II ( Picot107). . Je me dis Mere Saincte Eglise. The play first suggests a lack of faith on the part of the pope as Mère Sotte declares to her accomplices. "Veuillent ou non. in accordance with my plan. as evident in Sotte Fiance's comments: "Je promettray escus.and many freedoms -. / Mais qu'ilz soyent de vostre aliance" [I will promise financial rewards so that they might join your side] (371-72) and "On dit que n'avez point de honte / De rompre vostre foy promise" [It is said that you have little shame in violating your avowed faith] (374-75). . Sotte -72Fiance. . . Je veuil bien que chascun le note. dressed as the leader of the Catholic world and a symbol of Christianity. . or they will battle with me] (439-40). if you know what I mean] (44546) -. . but I wish . . . this sottie presents the accomplices of Mère Sotte trying to gain support for her through bribery. . to rule over him] (429-32). 350-51) [I wish to govern the earthly world and make my name reknown. they will do it. Mère Sotte appears indifferent to these arguments and firmly replies. He not only promises them wealth but . "La Bonne Foy? C'est le viel jeu" [Good faith? That's the old game] (406)."El vous dispencera / De faire ce qu'il vous plaira" [She will allow you to do whatever pleases you] (447-48). . but under these ecclesiastic clothes. that is. Although her accomplices argue that " [j]amais ilz ne consentiront / Que gouvernez le temporel " [they will never agree that you rule the earthly world] (43738). / Ou grande guerre a moy avront" [Whether they want it or not. Ha! This is my plan -. . claims she will go to war to attain her goal of supreme power and dominance. Porte l'habit de Mere sotte. Avoir sur luy l'auctorité" [My son presently presides over earthly matters .
however. Pour en parler reallement. Louis XII is in effect using this sottie to level charges against Pope Jules II and his insatiable desire for power. it is Mother Folly] (616). Toward the end of the play. the Prince ponders the actions of Mère Sotte and wonders if this is truly his mother: Esse l'Eglise proprement? . D'eglise porte vestement. He then discovers the foolish garb of Mère Sotte beneath her pontifical robes and exclaims. Ce n'est que nostre Mere sotte" [it is not the Holy Mother Church that fights with us. The play ends with the revelation that "[c]e n'est pas Mere saincte Eglise / Qui nous fait guerre . . While the royal . although never directly questioning the Church's doctrine. for instance. Finally. This is a complex moment because while Mère Sotte attacks the Prince and his followers on stage. it does denigrate loyal supporters of Pope Jules II and thereby discuss a delicate topic. the possibility for multiple meanings to coexist. Je vueil bien que chascun le notte. Early in his reign. I want everyone to notice that this person wears ecclesiastic robes. As fights break out. this sottie employs numerous word games and costume games. At this moment.] Still unsure. quite literally. a performance given by a Maître Cruche moved the enraged king to order his men to search for this actor and beat him. (605. infuriated because she and her accomplices have not succeeded in inciting a revolt against the Prince. . but she dons clothing appropriate of a warrior to further her attacks on Pope Jules II. How could these assaults be so overt and indiscreet? In addition to the privileged space of the theater and the support of Louis XII. for I wish to gain fame and glory] (582-83). one sot observes. this sottie cultivates ambiguities of language and dress to challenge the authority of Jules II. . thereby rendering definite meaning elusive. This layering of clothing throws into question many of Mère Sotte's earlier statements. "C'est Mere sotte. The coronation of François I witnessed a return to severe censorship of the theater. These promises convince only one abbot to support Mère Sotte in her endeavors. par ma foy" [My word. in the spring of 1515. not only does Mère Sotte clothe herself in pontifical robes. and shows. "El trouvera moyens / Vous deslyer de tous lyens / Et vous assouldra pardons" [She will find the means to free you from the ties that bond you and she will pardon you of your sins] (504-6). Mère Sotte declares: "Que l'assault aux princes on donne. To be frank. / Car je vueil bruit et gloire acquerre" [Let us attack the princes. . . it our Mother Folly] (650-52). "L'Eglise nous veult faire guerre" [The Church wants to go to war with us] (586-87). . he asks himself if "[p]eult estre que c'est Mere sotte / Qui d'Eglise a vestu la cotte" [perhaps this is Mother Folly who dressed -73herself partially in ecclesiastic garb] (612-13). 607-9) [Is this truly the Church? .adds. Thus.
Harvey 229-30.] This event is extraordinary because the men successfully concealed their identities by wearing green hoods and riding on mules. les sages le celent. he saw no value to such dramatic performances as had his predecessor Louis XII. On dit que c'estoient des clerz de la Bazoche du Palais. et par especial en la grande cour du Palais. however. cited by Harvey230) [There were five or six men who. thereby seemingly playing games but denying any such play. they were able to play their games in the streets and even in the Palais de Justice. François I ordered the actors arrested and imprisoned for two months ( Fabre146. mais les folz le revelent. shouted in the streets of the city especially in front of the famed marble table in the great court of the Palais.servants were preparing to throw Maître Cruche into the river. And in 1538. while riding on mules and wearing green hats. . . 10 As this event shows. he viewed comic plays as threatening and dangerous to his rule. showed proof to this effect. . and thus saved himself. affublez de chapperons de drap vert. Petit de Julleville114-15). However. ( Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris268. when a play assailed courtiers and insulted the king's mother. but nothing more was ever determined. François I understood the power to be derived from intertwining politics and theater. mais a la fin rien n'en fut plus. And how did actors and authors react to the restrictions continually placed on dramatic productions? Did they simply stop writing and performing? Despite the ever-increasing surveillance of theatrical performances. In 1516. law clerks tried other means to circumvent these rulings: instead of naming the subject of their satire. writers and players continued to invent ways to circumvent parliamentary bans. et toutesfois ilz ne le vouloient faire. Furthermore. read many silly things from a scroll. . this development was hastily greeted with a decree banning any such props. Et entre autres paroles disoient: le roy est mort. for instance. It is said that these men were basochiens from the Palais. yet they escaped both prison and punishment by denying that this display was a performance ( Harvey 130). As Parliament placed more restrictions on theatrical performances. in an attempt to reduce the number of spontaneous performances. From this point on. . . Instead. devant la pierre de marbre. he sceamed that he was a priest. they turned to the classical tradition of using masks and posters to identify specific persons. Parliament issued another order requiring theatrical troupes to ask permission to publicize their plays and to turn in . for instance. tenans un roolle ou ilz disoient plusieurs choses joyeuses. both king and Parliament showed little tolerance for critiques of the royal and religious authorities and continued forays into these forbidden territories explain the parliamentary decrees issued well into the sixteenth century. -74faisans maniere qu'ilz vouloient jouer quelques jeux. qui firent des cris par les carrefours de la ville. there occurred "une chose de merveilleuse folye": C'est qu'il y eust cinq ou six hommes estans montez sur des asnes. In 1525.
a critical difference in the reception of carnival and the sottie signals an important parallel between these two constructs. distinct from the year before. Despite similar components. The Bakhtinian model of carnival focuses on the freedoms generated during carnival and thus downplays the possibility for violence. as Harvey notes. carnivals were . an interdiction in 1561 forbade any additions to censored manuscripts and ordered "la copie laissé au greffe pour y avoir recours s'il y a echet" [a copy of the play left at the records office in case of failure to abide by said decree] ( Harvey231. Like the street spectacles of the sots. I suggest a further parallel. thereby highlighting Bakhtin's utopian conception of this phenomenon. Second. she presents herself. the parliamentary decrees directed toward the sottie intimate the potential for danger inherent in carnival. a possibility that questions Bakhtin's optimistic faith in a "carnival sense of the world [that] possesses a mighty life-creating and transforming force. for it is this multiplicity that in effect empowers the sottie and produces dialogues dangerous to the authority of both Church and State. It was in this way that sots were ultimately silenced and sent from their stages. for example. examining the sottie and the parliamentary bans aimed at restricting its performance raises issue with Bakhtin in two separate but related domains. and the carnival in Romans in 1580 serves as a reminder of the fine line between laughter and violence. between funny and fatal festivities. Petit de Julleville122). All of these orders intended to eliminate satire of any person or group of persons as well as to abolish all spontaneous playing. -75Summary This examination of the rigorous censorship imposed on the sottie provides valuable insights into Bakhtin's theories of carnival and drama. that the Roy des sotz plays with the term court to designate his court as well as the royal court. quite literally. the sottie plays with linguistic and sartorial codes and reveals a multiplicity of possible meanings in these codes.manuscripts fifteen days prior to performances. For instance. the number of performances dwindled and." blending opposing poles and fusing multiple elements into a single celebration called carnival ( Dostoevsky122). thereby suggesting multiple interpretations of this term. an indestructible vitality. Performances of the sottie continued until 1600. every carnival is different. carnival possesses the potential to be an alltoo-real threat to ruling authorities. as multiple personae. potential sources of "dangerous dialogues" for ruling authorities. In line with this thinking. this multiplicity does not destroy dramatic works. Compounding the severity of this action. Whereas Bakhtin claims that a "multiplicity would destroy drama" ( Dostoevsky 17). Furthermore. In sum. And as another example. as Bakhtin maintains. Recall. in terms of the Bakhtinian carnival. when Mère Sotte wears multiple layers of clothes. First. First. in addition to the parallels discussed earlier between the Bakhtinian carnival and the sottie. the theater of the basochiens "quickly perished for lack of the freedom that was essential to it" ( 232 ). however. examining parliamentary bans concerning the sottie questions Bakhtin's claim that drama is univocal and monologic.
Bakhtin's conception of "novelistic discourse. As an alternative to such tendentious strategies I wish to propose a mode of analysis based on M. but he also insists that all language is laden with the ideologies .never banned because they never could be banned. The Dialogic Imagination. Yet the sottie -76was banned because the government could censor its performances as they involved limited numbers of participants. Jordan In memory of Robert O. Bakhtin apparently overlooks the linguistic multiplicity present in this dramatic genre. To conclude. we may assume at the outset that the exclusion has nothing to do with the fact that Chaucer wrote in verse. Bakhtin's method is rigorously text-centered." as outlined in his magisterial study of Western narrative. although formal reaction differed. a similarly extended and equally implausible narrative about an oppressed and afflicted female protagonist. Bakhtinian theory seems an especially appropriate framework for analyzing Chaucerian texts because it offers a means of reconciling the competing claims of formalist and historicist theoretical models. They were too much a part of the existing social fabric and involved too many people. Although Chaucer is one of the few major authors Bakhtin does not consider. Thus. Precisely this linguistic multiplicity. The Man of Law's Tale has never attracted the kind of admiration accorded the Clerk's Tale. -77Part Two Multiple Voices in Medieval Texts -79Heteroglossia and Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale Robert M. It tends either to keep criticism at bay or to draw it into extravagant interpretations intended to smooth out its many rough spots. a strategy deemed dangerous by Parliament as evident in the many decrees directed at the sottie. a study of the sottie and its dangerous dialogues as reflected in parliamentary bans not only lauds Bakhtin's insights into carnival but also ultimately exposes limits to Bakhtin's insistance on joyful closure for both carnival and dramatic works. Second. Because of his insistence on language as the central fact of narrative. empowers this dramatic genre and questions Bakhtin's theory of drama as monologic. because Bakhtin uses Pushkin's long poem Evgenij Onegin as one of his illustrative texts. Payne and in tribute to his pioneering studies in Chaucerian rhetoric and poetics. both carnival and the sottie nonetheless possessed the potential to promote violence and to disrupt social order. despite several references to the sottie in his writing. M. reinforced by a layering of costumes in the sottie.
As Bakhtin sees it. For the analysis of narrative as overtly multivocal and self-reflexive as Chaucer's. As a "system" of languages the novel achieves a "dialogic" authenticity not present in such "monologic" forms as lyric.of sociopolitical classes and strata. professional. of authorities and counterauthorities. postmedieval examples of the genre. he stresses the significance of social and professional . It is impossible to describe and analyze it as a unitary language" ("Prehistory" 47). of the fact that "language in the novel not only represents. Bakhtin exercises great subtlety in analyzing novels. Chaucerian texts differ from Bakhtinian models in another respect. that is. When heteroglossia enters the novel. . or that of a literary trend) becomes the object of a re-processing. They are ideologically laden social phenomena. but these materials are processed formally and artistically. the discourse "not only represents but is itself represented. Although Bakhtin recognizes the presence of literary languages among the mixed languages of novelistic discourse. and as such they are at once the language of the author and the languages of others. Bakhtinian analysis of the Man of Law's Tale raises interesting questions about such a traditional concern as characterization as well as the newly prominent issue of sexist language. Bakhtin provides the critical framework for assessing it within the "system of languages" that constitutes the narrative. epic. according to dialogic principles. languages of generations and age groups. and they are also created objects or images. In the matter of sexist language in the tale. Regarding characterization. literary writing is both realistic and rhetorical. and ode. Bakhtinian analysis supports a skeptical attitude toward the critical practice of attributing personal and generative qualities to the Man of Law. For Bakhtin. though my point here may be debatable. The heteroglot languages of the novel are images of the vital and hybrid nature of society. reformulation and artistic transformation that is free and oriented toward art: typical aspects of language are selected as characteristic of or symbolically crucial to the language" ( Discourse 336). but itself serves as the object of representation" ( Prehistory49). allusive literary and generic languages. the validity and utility of Bakhtin's approach would appear to be much more self-evident and require less critical subtlety to demonstrate. and by extension to Chaucer's pilgrimsas-narrators in general. enables Bakhtin to overcome "the divorce between an abstract 'formal' approach and an equally abstract 'ideological' approach" ( Discourse259). because the text contains no linguistic basis for the traditional interpreta-81tion of the teller as a lawyer. "[T]he language of the novel is a system of languages that mutually and ideologically interanimate each other. social language . states Bakhtin. The languages of the novel are images of social languages. The indispensable prerequisite of the novel as a genre is the heteroglot stratification of any national language into social dialects. Recognition of this doubleness of novelistic discourse. Its materials are the multifold "languages" of the author's sociopolitical and literary milieu. . professional jargons. (whether generic.
As a modern version of medieval secular poetics Bakhtinian theory provides an appropriate framework for a modern reading of a mixed text like the Man of Law's Tale. and indeed more so than other versions of the Constance story.-82languages. Reflecting a widespread modern antipathy to rhetorical and textual inconsistencies. is its heteroglossia. was not a beneficiary of the modern realist movement. Reading it in this way we can recognize that what makes the Man of Law's Tale more memorable and aesthetically satisfying than many other moralistic tales. which obviously influenced Bakhtin's thought. Although the General Prologue establishes the illusion of a gathering of autonomous speakers. as we shall note. I think it will be more fruitful to approach it in Bakhtinian fashion as a "system" of languages that "interanimate" one another. but the medieval writer. Rather than regard the text as a gathering of obstacles to be overcome by interpretive ingenuity. especially the many highly charged apostrophes that disrupt the narrative flow. For this reason I am proposing that the balance in the heteroglot mix of languages and styles in the Man of Law's Tale is more heavily weighted toward literary languages. dominant literary language and the extraliterary languages that know heteroglossia" ( Prehistory67). is . I think Derek Pearsall is right to regard such interpretive efforts to rescue the tale for modern tastes as "extremely far fetched" (259). much of it in the form of extrapolating the character of the Man of Law and ironizing it in order to satirize him as an inadequate narrator. In view of the ongoing debate about the Man of Law and his relation to the tale. he does not enjoy a privileged status outside the text of which he is a part. Such a speaker is text and no more. the contradiction between the Man of Law's stated intention to speak in prose and the rhyme royal stanza form of his tale. And the discourse attributed to the Man of Law. Bakhtin's view of novelistic discourse as a heteroglot mix of languages from many different social and literary realms relates closely to the compositional practices prescribed by medieval rhetoricians such as Geoffrey of Vinsauf. the incongruous screed against poverty in the Prologue. a language-centered analysis begins with the proposition that the status of such a speaker is contingent upon the fact that he is spoken. commentators have sought to resolve the many dissonances in this text: for example. it is clear that they did not disapprove of approaching a poem as an object fashioned of many forms and styles of verbal discourse. located as the novel is "on the border between the completed. For Chaucerian texts I think the general principle holds. including a Man of Law. Much critical ingenuity has been exercised in the effort to resolve these dissonances. the first question to address in a language-oriented analysis is -83whether such a persona can be legitimately posited as the source of the tale's language. which are always undergoing change and whose presence assures the radical nature of the novel. thoroughly cosmopolitan though he was. Whether or not medieval rhetoricians would have embraced such terminology. and the many abrupt transitions and shifts of style.
( "Discourse"263) Moreover. the author mediates the doubleness of words. and of Babilan Tesbee. Chaucer casts it in the form of an amusing parody of his own literary career. or part of it. who orchestrates the system of the novel's languages. As for the Man of Law's direct discourse in the Introduction. The Host's own language. which are always "half someone else's. 1 As does any user of language. because "the style of a novel is to be found in the combination of its styles" (262). Bakhtin recognizes the problem of finding unity in a work whose essence is heteroglossia. a language that has somehow more or less materialized. adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention" ( Discourse293). 2 Here are some representative lines: Ther may be seen the large woundes wyde Of Lucresse. almost random. to the extent that unusual interpretive effort is required of those who wish to personify a unified speaking consciousness as its source. is -84cast in scientific jargon adapted from the Kalendarium of Nicholas of Lynn. when he appropriates the word. as reported by the general narrator.unusually decentered. "does not speak in a given language . though interspersed with traces of everyday speech. ." populated with the intentions of others. his own accent. the speech of characters are merely those fundamental compositional unities with whose help heteroglossia can enter the novel. its language is mainly literary. The Host's "reading" of the heavens to tell the date and time. become objectivized. The Introduction The Introduction and the Prologue to the Man of Law's Tale offer an unmistakably heteroglot mix of languages. as "orchestrator" of the system of languages in his work. Neither the author nor his narrator nor the other characters speaks a "unified" language: Authorial speech. inveighing against idleness and loss of time. . inserted genres. the speeches of narrators. is a colorful gathering of literary and proverbial commonplaces whose range of allusion spans the considerable distance from Senecan philosophy to Malkyn's maidenhead. Language "becomes 'one's own' only when the speaker populates it with his own intention. represented in the enumeration of heroes and heroines from classical legend ( 57 . The unifying center is in the mind and motivation of the author. but he speaks. through language. Bakhtin's observation about the relation of a speaker to language applies not only to the narrator but also to the author. the author. .76 ). as it were. each of them permits a multiplicity of social voices and a wide variety of their links and interrelationships. that he merely ventriloquates" ( Discourse299).
(62-67) The language is interchangeable with similar erudite lists of classical figures that occur throughout Chaucer's works. a master of many forms of speech.social and professional as well as literary. / In o book. he hath seyd hem in another" ( 51 52 ) and "I reche noght a bene / Though I come after hym with hawebake" ( 94 . Chaucer is appropriating directly.literary jargon. It matters little." and they fail to acknowledge the controlling force of the real person behind this literary representation of speech. The pleinte of Dianire and of Hermyon. That he chooses to do so. or as Bakhtin would insist. and proceeds to condemn that condi-85tion in a form of speech best described as an image of moralistic pulpit oratory. and of Isiphilee-. The tree of Phillis for hire Demophon. Moving abruptly from the Introduction. as Bakhtin describes that of the novelistic author as orchestrator. that we are addressed here not by a fictional lawyer but by a real writer. The absence of lawyerly jargon in a passage like this does not diminish the pleasure and intensity of our reading experience. The problem with such interpretations is that they are misplaced. as Bakhtin would term it. Of Adriane. the language of Pope Innocent III's De miseraria condicionis humane.The swerd of Dido for the false Enee. the language is essentially the same -. is a matter of authorial prerogative. leve brother. They depend too much on the existence of a persona behind the designation "Man of Law. It begins without plausible transition: "O hateful harm. we are encountering the language of Chaucer representing "the speech of others." By the speech . and that he chooses to cast this language in rhyme royal rather than in the prose promised three lines earlier at the close of the Introduction. Though the contexts differ. condicion of poverte!" ( 99 ). Chaucer's unique style. is evident in the manner in which he selects. Those critics who presuppose a narrating lawyer persona as the source of such a contradiction are led to draw ironic inferences about that persona's incompetence as a storyteller or his supposedly lawyerly love of riches.95 ). The effect of the clash of languages so distant from one another in style and social strata is to neutralize opposing ideological fields. As Bakhtin would put it. where languages play against one another in ever varying ways. In the Prologue. The effect is often a comic self-mockery. the Prologue introduces the subject of poverty. and nuances the images of different kinds of speech -. By resisting ideological commitment the text affirms the primacy of its verbal surface. I would propose. in translation. but the implication is a serious skepticism about the validity of any language as a vehicle of truth. combines. 3 Interanimating the literary jargon are traces of everyday speech. images of everyday speech: "And if he have noght seyd hem. The Prologue The language of the Prologue is even less unitary than that of the Introduction as a representation of the speech of an individual consciousness.
4 At any rate. The last phrase indicates the "dramatic" nature of Dinshaw's approach to these difficulties." it is fitting enough that a merchant is the stated source of the ensuing tale -"a merchant.) The praise of riches has been interpreted -. I think most readers will allow that subtle transitions are not a prominent feature of Chaucerian narrative. not the language of particular individuals. Dinshaw applies a new ideological twist. and natural whole" and that "the Man of Law has a profound stake in suppressing threats to the patriarchal order" ( 90 ). "Alle the dayes of povre men been wikke" ( 118 ). coherent. that writer's language is itself inevitably appropriated from existing forms. I think the matter is less subtle and more pragmatic. gaps. and goes on to praise the acquisitiveness and wealth of merchants. 1. as Chaucer in turn does in appropriating Innocent's language and orchestrating it for the Prologue. or literary types of speech. The more important consideration for Chaucer at this point was a narrative transition. and seemingly endless. visible seams in the narrative. and he imparts to his appropriations his own rhythms and accents. namely through reifying the Man of Law as a professional practitioner who has a "perfect knowledge of family law" ( 90 ). Apart from the tendentious generalization that seamlessness and coherence are . I would say -.) The Chaucerian passage begins with a condemnation of poverty. professional. Bakhtin means social. ("The rich man is debauched by his own abundance. Chaucer concludes the Prologue with praise of riches.of others. dame Custance" ( 150 -51) The Tale The tale of Constance is not a favorite among Chaucer's modern readers." says Innocent. a direct inversion of Innocent's condemnation of it. for although the language of the Prologue is an adaptation of a specific authorial source. (The shift from Innocent's text to Proverbs is another instance of Chaucer's freely ranging heteroglossia. / Me taughte a tale" ( 132 -33) -. The thematically unmotivated praise of the wealth of merchants and their adventurous spirit is better understood as a narrative device arbitrarily introduced at the expense of moral consistency and in defiance of Innocent's moral sentiments. Pope Innocent III.and that being so it is plausible that the action of the tale be initiated by a company of voyaging merchants who report to the Sultan "th'excellent renoun / Of the Emperoures doghter. goon is many a yeere. less concerned with character and morality than with rhetoric and Chaucer's particular narrative motivation. She argues that the gaps and disjunctions in the Man of Law's "performance" threaten the "patriarchal ideology's construction of itself as a seemingly seamless. disorienting.15. To the old notion that the tales express the character and personality of their tellers. Though this device may seem contrived.overinterpreted. as merchants are "fadres of tidynges and tales.as an allusion to the proverbial greed of lawyers and thus a subtly ironic dig at the narrating -86Man of Law. and sudden shifts in tone punctuate the Man of Law's performance" ( 88 ). Carolyn Dinshaw describes the difficulties: "The text is bewildering. Numerous contradictions. Innocent III is of course a fervent forager among the Scriptures.
both his adaptations of sources' language and his "original" additions that are not directly attributable to written sources. for a mingled fragrance."patriarchal. one might say. that the narrator "falls into the role simply of a person who has to tell a story. Many ideologies interanimate one another in the Man of Law's Tale. namely." the problem with Dinshaw's interpretation is the enormous weight of psychological and sociological presence it places upon a persona who is scarcely there. blending adornment of both kinds. the highly charged language of Christian homiletics. The rhetorician Geoffrey of Vinsauf suggests this kind of variety in his description of the poet's art: The poet brings together flowers of diction and thought.028 lines of the tale. ( 72 ) The soil in which Chaucer plants his rhetorical garden is the episodic romance of Constance and her trials. perhaps. Readers whose primary interest is the progress of the heroine or the thematic or moral implications of her trials will be likely . but certainly in characterization. of this popular tale. or the Prologue. that the field of discourse may blossom with both sorts of flowers. rises and spreads its sweetness. They are inherent in the many languages that Chaucer gathers into the composition of this rhetorically varied and often disjunct narrative. The extreme range of tonal intensity. the elegant and erudite language of pagan humanism. and even Gower's. as well as the plain language of narration. but as many commentators have noted. thwarted expectation is a regular feature of Chaucer's art. Scholars' estimates of Chaucer's "original" additions to his sources vary from one-third to two-thirds of the 1. The portrait in the General Prologue does set up -87expectations. contributes to the discordant effect of the tale's heteroglot mix of discourses. . and there is nothing that can be discerned in . including the homely metaphorical language of proverbial lore. we shall view the text as Chaucer's orchestration of materials of discourse that came to his hand as a speaker and reader. particularly in the characterization of narrators. . Derek Pearsall's less extravagant reading seems closer to the mark. Chaucer's is a virtuoso display of rhetorical art. the moral solemnity of philosophical discourse. the Introduction. such as Trivet and (probably) Gower has been amply documented and is well summarized in Patricia Eberle's notes in the Riverside Chaucer. but because the Bakhtinian model discounts originality and addresses the life of language independent of individual speakers. but such ideology would be multiform and more complex than a preconceived notion of patriarchy and the legal mind. or the Tale. that has specifically to do with a lawyer" (257). That is why critics should be cautious about personifying narratorial voicings. Thwarted expectation is expected. from oratorical thunder to quiet pathos. not so much in plotting. Compared to Trivet's version. Chaucer's indebtedness to particular sources. 5 One might draw inferences about imbedded ideology from the text of the tale of Constance.
and of Socrates The deeth. Is writen. Thou wolt fordoon this Cristen mariage. the interanimation of . Of Sampson. clerer than is glas. No doubt Chaucer was attracted to the story. (365-71) -89In both of these instances the language is both related to the story and detachable from it as self-contained rhetorical parcels. and apparent prolixity (though it is much more compact than Trivet's version). That he for love sholde han his deeth. and of Ercules. which it resembles in many obvious respects. whan that he his birthe took. many a wynter therbiforn. Wel knowestow to wommen the olde way! Thou madest Eva brynge us in servage. but it also affords him the opportunity to craft a rhetorically exciting and diversified text. Turnus.-88to dismiss or disparage the Man of Law's Tale for its gaps. as for sustained concern for the heroine's plight and its emotional and psychological implications. er they were born. whoso koude it rede. the pagan-tinged language of learned theology. The strif of Thebes. but mennes wittes ben so dulle That no wight kan wel rede it atte fulle. Julius. envious syn thilke day That thou were chaced from oure heritage. what thou wolt bigile. Was writen the deeth of Ector. but even this takes the form of differing "dialects. allas! For in the sterres.weylawey the while! -Makestow of wommen. Thyn instrument so -. and in his hands it remains "an extended exemplum of God's grace granted to patience and constant faith" ( Pearsall262). Here. The dominant language of the Man of Law's Tale is that of Christian apologetics. Of Pompei. In sterres. and typically in Chaucer. disjunctions. or nuggets of rhetoric. Unlike the Clerk's Tale. The deeth of every man. God woot. ( 190 .203 ) This contrasts sharply with the language of pulpit homiletics: O Sathan. Achilles. withouten drede. the Man of Law's Tale is memorable as much for the eloquence of individual passages. which Chaucer adapted from Bernardus Sylvester: Paraventure in thilke large book Which that men clepe the hevene ywriten was With sterres." For example.
in conclusioun. Me fro the feend and fro his clawes kepe. (451-62) Further enriching the mixture of theological languages. That oonly worthy were for to here The Kyng of Hevene with his woundes newe. for example. the essence is divine miracle. than the more subtly integrated play of languages that Bakhtin analyzes.languages is more overt. ." "no wight but Crist" in response to rhetorical questions about miraculous preservations (470-504). The kyng -. the tight little narration of Constance's survival at sea for "thre yeer and moore" is a hybrid of biblical lore. one can say that rhetorical play overshadows the Christian message. And for this miracle. as I suggested earlier. "no wight but God. and yif me myght my lyf t'amenden. both singly and by the score: Greet was the drede and eek the repentance Of hem that hadden wrong suspecioun Upon this sely innocent." "no wight but -90he." all culminating rhetorically as well as thematically in the conversion of heathen. with the threefold varied refrain. Much of Constance's story is told in the language of saints' lives. It is cast in a popular question-and-response style. Reed of the Lambes blood ful of pitee. Victorious tree. a further variation on the dominant theological strain. such as the miraculous restoration of sight to the blind man and the hand from heaven smiting the villainous knight "upon the nekke-boon. Me kepe. That day that I shal drenchen in the depe. As in saints' lives. Custance. that hurt was with a spere. That wessh the world fro the olde iniquitee. hooly croys. in Dickens ( "Discourse"302-25). The white Lamb.and many another in that place -Converted was. To the extent that rhythmic repetition combined with lexical variation in this passage draws attention to the play of language. Flemere of feendes out of hym and here On which thy lymes feithfully extenden. proteccioun of trewe. o welful auter. thanked be Cristes grace! (680-86) Constance's moving prayer to the cross is set in the language of Christian hymnology: O cleere. And by Custances mediacioun.
or which cours goth biforn. wher-so she wepe or synge. Who bloweth in a trumpe or in an horn? The fruyt of every tale is for to seye: They ete. for the harm thurgh Hanybal That Romayns hath venquysshed tymes thre. "natural" storyteller: Me list nat of the chaf. (288-94) This foray into pagan legendary history is followed immediately by an elevated apostrophe to Mars. N'at Rome. as it was skile and right. and synge. As for the tyme -. Maken so long a tale as of the corn. and drynke. And leye a lite hir hoolynesse aside. For thogh that wyves be ful hooly thynges. What sholde I tellen of the roialtee At mariage. Nas herd swich tendre wepyng for pitee As in the chambre was for hire departynge. With thy diurnal sweigh that crowdest ay And huriest al from est til occident That naturelly wolde holde another way. Chaucer can descend. and pleye. They moste take in pacience at nyght Swiche manere necessaries as been plesynges To folk that han ywedded hem with rynges. in a subtly artful passage. such as the language of medieval humanism. which begins with the simple statement. to the language of the unlettered.Other memorable islands of rhetoric are entirely non-Christian and plainly pagan in character. Thy crowdyng set the hevene in swich array At the bigynnyng of this fiers viage. at Thebes the citee. ne of the stree. (708-14) .it may no bet bitide. "They goon to bedde. But forth she moot. cast in the scientific jargon of the Ptolemaic system of the heavens: O firste moevyng! Crueel firmament. whan Pirrus brak the wal Or Ilion brende. (701-7) -91Gender issues arise in the next stanza. That crueel Mars hath slayn this mariage." and proceeds to explain the obligations of wives to their husbands: They goon to bedde. employed hyperbolically to describe the sorrowful scene of Constance's departure: I trowe at Troye. (295-301) As if in mockery of such jargon of the higher learning. and daunce.
To attempt to elicit from this arresting moment in the narrative flux a univalent ideology attributable to a speaking subject -whether character or author -. professional. as singularly free of the kind of ideological markers that Bakhtin would associate with particular social. the multivalent play of attitudes takes place along the verbal surface. But it is equally apparent that Chaucer is playing with the language. lyvynge in prosperitee" with a passage that strikes me. as they also invalidate the idea of a unified narratorial consciousness. Rather than attempt to interpret the tale into something it is not. The Man of Law." we can locate the unity of such a "novelistic" text as the Man of Law's Tale only in the mind and intention of its author. this kind of language occurs relatively infrequently in so heterodox and literarily selfconscious a writer as Chaucer. both Christian and pagan. so obviously different in style and tone from the passage just discussed. the language of the dominant theme of Christian apologetics sorts very uneasily with the quite prominent language of pagan legendary history and romance." Recalling Bakhtin's observation that "the style of a novel is to be found in the combination of its styles. Finally. we can contemplate with pleasure Chaucer's exemplary heteroglossia. Lacking obvious literary or ideological congeners. but I also think that a theoretical presupposition does not invalidate the evidence of observation. the celebrated passage comparing the doomed Constance to a condemned prisoner (645-58). or literary types. Such biases do exist in the universe of discourse. On the broadest level. In any event. Such clashes of languages invalidate the possiblity of a univalent theme. For just this reason the stanza beginning "Have ye nat seyn somtyme a pale face" stands out so prominently in the text. In this two-stanza compositional segment Chaucer fashions a striking combination of uninflected and highly inflected languages. Though the nominal designations I have given to the types of discourse in this text may well be subject to dispute.The language is sexist and likely to irritate readers who have been sensitized to gender biases. Nor do the varied theological dialects. And that the wife is obliged to lay aside her holiness only "for the tyme" suggests reasonable empowerment over the situation and a "matronizing" attitude toward the husband. The stereotype of the lustful husband is as parodic as that of the "hooly" wife. is a rhetorical parcel that combines the conventional language of advice to rulers in the apostrophe beginning "O queenes. nuancing it in such a way that it is unclear who is patronizing whom in this generalized encounter between the sexes. is not a persona whose consciousness unifies (with the critic's help) the mixed discourse nominally attributed to him. form a stylistically or ideologically consistent discourse.would seem an inappropriate pursuit. pace Dinshaw. I think the distinguishing differences among them are unmistakable. -92I realize that the taxonomy of "languages" that I have proposed here is not innocent of theoretical (or "ideological") bias. and I think most readers. Rather. and it is that patriarchal language that Chaucer appropriates here. -93- . he is a textual element in the diversity of languages we unify only and simply by virtue of the closure imposed by their "orchestrator.
Jakobson's energeia corresponds in Bakhtin's terms to the centrifugal. not apart from the wide political implications of dialogic analysis but fundamental to them. dialogic theory offers a more elegant way than we have had before now of talking about the problem of voice and persona in Chaucer's narratives. Bakhtin seems to have the added advantage of a userfriendly elasticity of mind. second. the authoritative. Practical Chaucer criticism using Bakhtin's dialogics has tended to focus on the heteroglossia of voices within the monolingual text and on the dramatic. It is based in part on a dialogic reading of French and English elements in The Book of the Duchess and also in part on a metrical study of the -94pentameter lines of Chaucer. and as William McClellan has shown. first. and that the difference between the two. in contemporary bodies of work. the irreverent. Hoccleve.Dialogics and Prosody in Chaucer Steve Guthrie Bakhtin's dialogics has recently joined his carnival theory in the methodhoard of Chaucerians. My argument is that poetry in which ergon rules tends toward monoglossiadiglossia. The first is Bakhtin's that polyglossia is a cure for bilingualism as well as for monolingualism (the argument of "From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse"). but it is also true. that Chaucer's world was a polyglot world and. that Bakhtin's theory is built on a very concrete linguistic and stylistic analysis that may offer insights to scholars in and of itself. dialogics offers a compatible and needed supplement to medieval theory by restoring the affective element to the discussion of rhetorical process. and its presentation here focuses on the contrast between Chaucer and Gower. . or animating rhythmic impulse. a matter of brutal linguistic necesssity. 1 I will begin with three statements about language that seem to be mutually illuminating. and Lydgate and of Gower's decasyliabe. The third statement is James Baldwin's that "a language comes into existence by means of brutal necessity. This is fair use. and ergon. and his writings open lines of communication between structuralist and poststructuratist thought and among contextualists and close readers of many kinds. As Lars Engle has shown. and poetry in which energeia rules tends toward heteroglossiapolyglossia. thematic. or sociopolitical aspects and implications of their discourse. is in a broad sense political. The metrical study focuses on the linguistic rhythmic contours of the verse line. and the rules of the language are dictated by what the language must convey" (539). Knapp). Gower. and the addition has been useful despite Bakhtin's own doubts about the presence of true novelistic discourse before the Renaissance. or enforced metrical template (446). This chapter takes the phrase "Interanimation of languages" literally. The second is Roman Jakobson's that a specific prosodic system tends toward one of two principles: energela. and ergon to the centripetal. and its results can be enlightening (for example.
and the tendency is stronger in some poets than in others. The following passages from Troilus and Criseyde contain rhythmic variations that are central to Chaucer's metrical system and characteristic of medieval pentameter: Were it for my suster.some tendency away from the binary pattern -but compared to Machaut's verse it is not really French at all. -96Table of stressed syllables. al thy sorwe. In addition to different frequencies of variation from the metrical pattern. In their overall rhythmic contours (the actual linguistic stress patterns as distinct from the abstract metrical pattern). Figure 10 shows average levels of linguistic stress per one hundred lines at each metrical position. "Though I praunce al byforn.The results of the metrical study can be summarized as follows. selected authors. with an average of three linguistic stresses per hundred lines at the weak (oddnumbered) metrical positions.860-61) As proude Bayard gynneth for to skyppe Out of the wey. First yn the trays ful fat and newe shorn. In Gower's English verse as well the tendency toward binary recurrence is extremely strong. Stressed syllables by metrical position. Each metrical system except Machaut's tends toward the binary recurrence of stress throughout the line. selected authors. (1. it seems to have been composed by fitting French words to an English template. including Gower's French line. compared to eleven for Chaucer. 2 The most striking result is for Gower's French verse. all five systems. so priketh hym his corn Til he a lasshe have of the longe whyppe. the stress contour of Machaut's decasyllabe appears as a broken line. are comprehensible as English pentameter. Than thenketh he. for comparison. the accompanying table (page 97 ) gives the numerical values plotted for each line. and twenty-four for Hoccleve. Stress contours for the English poets appear as solid lines and. In this respect Gower's practice resembles neither Chaucer's nor Shakespeare's but that of strict Tudor poets like George Gascoigne and Barnabe Googe. and for the sake of clarity. with no fundamental difference from the system of Shakespeare's sonnets. -9510. Compared to his English verse it shows some awareness of the difference in language -. the lines are difficult to distinguish in a graph. eighteen for Lydgate. By my wil she sholde al be thyn tomorwe. by metrical positon Metrical position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Chaucer 2 54 2 73 2 63 4 Hoccleve 3 48 7 73 5 59 9 8 51 46 9 10 1 100 1 100 . Except for Machaut's. there are important differences in the kinds of variation allowed by different metrical systems.
Again. either at a major phrase boundary (1.861) or at a minor phrase boundary within a major phrase (1. however. . rather than displacing. ten times more in worth"). such a phrase is displaced from the binary pattern. however. small phrases like to skyppe. more accurately they are evidence of a zone of dialogic contact between the English and French lines. although Hoccleve permits rhythmic variations at higher frequencies than Chaucer does. Gower avoids both kinds of variation. Occasionally.221). but Lydgate's is an extremely idiosyncratic form of medieval pentameter. Shakespeare. embodied in proclitic groups. his corn. I have argued elsewhere that these triple rhythms in Chaucer's line reflect the influence of the Middle French decasyllabe ( "Prosody and the Study of Chaucer").Lydgate Gower (Eng) Gower (Fr) Shakespeare Machaut 7 0 3 9 7 53 51 38 51 27 4 1 7 4 16 91 84 91 87 81 2 1 1 5 8 57 68 54 65 37 5 1 9 3 42 31 58 43 66 38 0 0 3 4 4 100 100 100 100 100 Yet am I but an hors. by adding. and horses lawe I moot endure. It resembles the practice of many mid. and so on. These phrases tend strongly to appear in harmony with the metrical pattern. Hoccleve's rhythmic practice resembles Chaucer's. and with my feres drawe. What makes it pentameter and not decasyllabe is its iambic foot." (1. creates rhythmic variety in another way.to late-sixteenth-century poets. and in fact his line is so strict that it avoids even the initial trochee that is a standard variation in nearly -97all pentameter systems. with its rest syllable after the caesura but. whereas Gower's practice represents a countercurrent in metrical thought.) For now the important point is that these three lines represent the central rhythmic tendencies of late Middle English pentameter. Lydgate's practice also resembles Chaucer's overall. (Its chief idiosyncracy. a lasshe. however. its strongest resemblance is to the line of strict Renaissance nativists such as Gascoigne and Googe. In each line the English foot is used to create a French cadence that plays against the overall English metrical pattern. is not the "broken-backed" or "Lydgate" line. This kind of variation is extremely rare in Gower. and in that respect his line resembles Shakespeare's. a tendency to add extrametrical syllables in the middle of the line. its stressed syllable occupies a weak metrical position and creates a triple rhythmic prominence. the wey.21824) Chaucer's meter is extremely concrete. possibly in conscious imitation of the Old French epic caesura. stresses ("Be thou the tenth muse. as in each instance above. just the opposite. and in fact the metrical pattern is abstracted from them. but it also differs from late Tudor practice in that it responds to very different external linguistic circumstances. producing the effect of extreme compression and increasing the overall weight of the line.
the submission of linguistic material to the authority of an abstract metrical system.000 are French. with a trochaic word. Gower favors French pronunciation within the line. 45-46)." Its faith is in the ultimate vitality of words. múrmour). but there are actually good reasons for it. and the totality of his poetic language is one that requires not just the presence but the interanimation of both natural languages. Chaucer stamps his appropriations as both English and French. "no ideas but in things. and he introduced between 200 and 250 French words into written English ( Mersand40. The presence of French words in either his English or his French line makes it a bilingual ergon. and of these he introduced between 1.may seem circular at first. Chaucer's line is ruled by energela. 2. (Lines like the hypothetically constructed *As of hire estaat was she bounteous do not appear.100 and 1. because such loanwords appear freely in lines like "And al th'onour that men may don yow have" ( Troilus and Criseyde 1. Chaucer's total vocabulary is about 8. The vocabularies of Chaucer and Gower are both half-French.One good test of dialogic contact between French and English in Middle English verse is the metrical treatment of disyllabic French loanwords like honour and nature. already naturalized loanwords appear freely with both French and English stress. he also uses new borrowings freely in rhyme where their Frenchness is highly conspicuous. Gower has about 4. Gower's line is ruled by ergon.that stress is cued by metrical placement -. new or old. which behave as stress doublets. Its metrical complexity is rooted in its linguistic complexity and its capacity for polyglossic perspective and laughter. We can be sure that honour in even-odd metrical position ("As to hire honour nede was to holde" [ Troilus and Criseyde 1."on the boundary line between cultures and languages" ( Prehistory50) -.200 into written English.500 words. In Chaucer.120).128]) receives English stress because of a universal metrical constraint against the similar placement of iambic words. The phonology of such words in Middle English has been controversial.where the unpowerful .000 words. when they appear within the verse line he prefers the English pronunciation (fátal. but essentially it is no different from a monolingual one. at the fluid or ragged edges of established power -. Chaucer's loanwords are resonantly polyglossic. however. As a result. and the argument for dual stressing -. of which about 4.) And we can be reasonably sure that the same word in odd-even position receives French stress. in the same position in the line. Its faith is in the ultimate tractability of words. the two prerequisites of what Bakhtin calls novelistic discourse ( "Prehistory"50). but he avoids placing loanwords. but for new borrow-98ings. Centrifugal poetic strategies are efforts not merely to disrupt but to create ad hoc alternative power bases.000 of them French. whereas there is a strong constraint against cadences like * And al th'akynge thy wounde may don the haue. the animation of linguistic material in tension with a concrete metrical system based in the material itself. within (rather than at the beginning of) a phrase. in rhyme position. and Gower's are more like undigested quotations from a foreign tongue.
there are stresses not displaced from the pattern and not omitted precisely but deferred. buhBUMP) but a rising rhythm in an entire major phrase. which has no strong linguistic stress at all before the sixth syllable. represents precisely the kind of authority the Wife sees as dangerous because it is authority for its own sake only. but the way the words are cut to fit it. the great hall. not doggerel. In Chaucer's verse such phrases serve partly to maintain an energizing. They are also characteristic of Machaut.223). Gower's stanza is rhythmically dull by comparison because its only real voice is that of the metrical template. And doth the lawe his reules overpasse. The werre makth the grete Citee lasse. unresponsive to circumstance. Yet am I but an hors. Chaucer's metrical line belongs more to the tavern. y trowe. "And preyeth for . It sleth the prest in holi chirche at masse. just as important. Gower's more to the council chamber and the sacristy. and horses lawe I moot endure. Forlith the maide and doth hire flour to falle. By simultaneously disputing and tapping the power and prestige of French verse. interanimating contact between the two languages and metrical systems. But this remains a fluid. The problem is not the meter itself.in both poets monosyllables account for 75 percent of all words -. First yn the trays ful fat and newe shorn. empty of life.but that Chaucer's strings of monosyllables tend to increase metrical tension ("Yet am I but an hors". based in the real word shapes of English. to strong metrical positions later in the line. it provides its own kind of poetic authority.218-24) The werre is modir of the wronges alle. from Gower's "In Praise of Peace": As proude Bayard gynneth for to skyppe Out of the wey. "Though I praunce al byforn." on the other hand. It is not that Gower is more monosyllabic than Chaucer -. There is no thing wherof meschef mai growe Which is noght caused of the werre. whose practice both reflects and abets the progressive effacement of word stress in Middle French. and the rear pews." (1. There are stresses added to or displaced from the metrical pattern. experiential authority like the Wife of Bath's. and with my feres drawe. Than thenketh he. Chaucer's meter is still strictly measured (he is much stricter with syllable count than either Lydgate or Hoccleve). and. as in "Yet am I but an hors" (1. Lines like this one are crucial to Chaucer's metrical system. of course. they create not a binary rhythm (huh-BUMP. in "Til he a lasshe have" and in "though I praunce al byforn". and it is a real rhythmic system. Compare the Proude Bayard stanza already quoted from Troilus andCriseyde -99Criseyde with another rhyme royal stanza.have an advantage. The meter of "Moral Gower. an authority whose discipline consists of its own governing impulse responding to circumstance. capable of laughter. (106-12) Chaucer's lines achieve metrical complexity in two main ways. so priketh hym his corn Til he a lasshe have of the longe whyppe.
Donne but not Herbert. In the end Gower's approach limits meaning as well. often applied sentimentally. does not really explain anything. and Chaucer's use of the string of monosyllabic particles to create rhythmic and semantic tension is characteristic of him. Frost but not Wilbur. in the stress patterns of words and phrases. but even if we grant Gower the use of his metaphor. the phrase "doth hire flour to falle" is so vague and impersonal as to trivialize the crime he means to lament.) On the other hand. as opposed to simple recurrence at the level of foot or line. however. in the poets of the Grand Chant Courtois (189-143). Frye's insight is quite useful. but not as regular as Gower's. In Chaucer. the line "Forlith the maide and doth hire flour to falle" is especially telling. Linguistic rhythm is based in syntax. or even the polysyllabic word. Northrop Frye has argued that cumulative rhythm. as in Machaut and. The prurience of the moralist's euphemism for battlefield rape is one problem. The term musical. and so on. Doth is extremely abstract by the end of the fourteenth century. as Zumthor shows in detail. there are narrative and even lyric passages in Chaucer that are equally strict as far as constraints on stress placement but much more articulate rhythmically because of the freer deferral of stress. Gower's line is noteworthy as the first rigid pentameter in English. that Chaucer was simply a better poet. Wyatt but not Surrey. does his reading of Anglo-French poetry. with any consistency because he can only think in units of two syllables at a time. and one reason for the awkwardness and rhythmic monotony of his verse may be that he had no real models in the language. The usage is characteristic of Gower.29-30]). which does tend to be somewhat more regular than contemporary continental French verse. whereas Gower's tend to reinforce the monovocality of the metrical -100template ("It sleth the prest in holi chirche at masse"). and the reflex answer. incidentally. explain the monotony of his French verse. Dickinson but not Longfellow. (This does not. Gower is unable to work at the level of the major phrase. Browning but not Tennyson. and neither. even function words function not primarily as metrical or grammatical filler but as key elements of poetic register ( Guthrie. as Eliot . and I suspect that an extended list of his musical poets would resemble a list of poets of energeia: Chaucer but -101not Gower. "Shall and Will").hem that ben in the cas / Of Troilus" [1. It appears in this line because the poet is both thinking abstractly and looking for a notional monosyllable to fill a strong metrical position. is a central principle of what he calls "musical" poetry (255-58). Milton but not Dryden. In any case Gower's literary models were mainly continental. The point is not that his thinking would improve if his rhythms improved but that his rhythms are dull and his language is awkward because his focus on the authority of the metrical template blocks his access to the experiential reality of his basic rhythmic-linguistic resources. a sort of generic causative.
applied it, to smooth-scanning poetry, is better suited, he argues, to the more complex rhythms of a poet like Browning, whose metrical practice is more nearly analogous to real music. My object here is not to raise the elusive question of a specific relationship between musical structure and the rhythmic structure of metrical verse; nor do I think that is even the real issue raised by Frye's comment. What Frye has in focus, I think, is the connection between our perceptions of what makes interesting music and our perceptions of what makes interesting poetry. In both cases the answer is not variety itself -- there is plenty of that in Handlyng Synne -- but sustained tension. The metrical template itself is analogous only to musical beat; metrical tension is created syntactically, by playing the rhythms of concrete language against the norm of the iambic phrase from which the template is derived (to skyppe, the wey). In Chaucer, the key to the metrical system is the polyglossia of these rhythms. Additional tension is created phonologically and semantically, and in the outcome the three forces are not entirely separable. Chaucer's prosody, like that of Frye's musical poet, is characterized by rhythmic syncopation, phonological complexity (not necessarily the same as dissonance), control of tempo (the deferred stresses are a good example), and, especially, cumulative rhythm. Chaucer's tetrameter line offers less room than his pentameter line for rhythmic variety, but it makes instructive use of its other prosodic resources. His first English narrative, The Book of the Duchess, is a good illustration, partly for its technical experiments and partly because it catches Chaucer at the manifesto stage, highly conscious of the linguistic, poetic, and political implications of his project. Froissart's Paradys d'Amour, from which Chaucer took the beginning of the Duchess, opens with these lines: Je sui de moi en grant merveille Comment je vifs quant tant je veille Et on ne poroit en veillant Trouver de moi plus traveillant Car bien sacies que par veillier Me viennent souvent travillier -102Pensees et meracolies Qui me sont ens au coer liies Et pas ne les puis desleyer. . . Which Chaucer renders be this way: I have gret wonder be this lyghte How that I lyve for the day ne nyghte I may nat slepe wel nyhg noght I have so many an ydel thoght Purely for defaute of slepe That by my trouthe I take no kepe Of nothing how hyt cometh or goothe Nr me nys nothyng leve nor looth. . .
This is a manifesto, but of a very interesting kind. Froissart had been the unofficial laureate of the English court; his work was popular there and we can assume the evoked presence of his lines beside Chaucer's own. Chaucer's opening does not simply appropriate the French material for native verse but also characterizes the appropriator: here is an Englishman reworking French material, and this is how he writes like an Englishman, rough and Saxon. Froissart's near monorhyme of vowels and semivowels is framed, in the presence of Chaucer's poem, as the genius of French prosody, and Chaucer's monosyllabism and Germanic consonance are framed as the genius of English. But the characterization is also part of a more complex interaction. The strict eightsyllable line of the English poem, and its very use of end rhyme, are French; Froissart's merancolies, dropped from Chaucer's opening for the sake of the characterization, appears in rhyme almost immediately afterward, in line 23 of the Duchess; and after the first few lines, French loanwords in general, whether from source texts or not, begin to appear at higher levels. The Duchess opens with a juxtaposition of linguistic-poetic registers: Bakhtin's "zones" ( "Prehistory"45). By advertizing itself as English, it calls attention to its Frenchness as well. As the narrative develops, the poem moves first toward the French register and then back toward the English again, and this stylistic movement is an integral part of its thematic structure. The poem moves deeper into French poetically and thematically as Chaucer describes the dreamer's movement into the grove and his encounter with the Black Knight, using material from the Roman de laRose -103Rose and Machaut's Jugement dou Roy de Behaingne; and the movement continues as the Knight spins the tale of his courtship of Lady White, drawing heavily on the Behaingne and Machaut's Remede de Fortune. 3 The poem's Frenchward linguistic movement, in terms of the density of French loanwords in the English poem, parallels its poetic movement toward Machaut, and although this seems intuitively obvious (naturally there would be more word borrowing where there are more line correspondences), it is actually very interesting. Only about 20 percent of French loanwords in borrowed lines correspond directly with words in the source passages (for example, joye-joie); the rest are Chaucer's insertions (synonyms, parallel examples, amplifications, and so forth), simultaneously tapping and resisting the source. 4 The French zone of the Duchess, in other words, is a whole linguistic atmosphere, not merely the byproduct of adaptation and not merely an assortment of spare parts remanufactured for use on a new machine. For Chaucer's dreamer, the central experience of the poem is cultural, his vicarious initiation into the mysteries of love and romance. For Chaucer the young poet, the central poetic and linguistic experience, also cultural, is the investigation of the French love dit and at the same time of the English language as a suitable vehicle for courtly narrative. As those experiences take place, the Duchess enters deeper into the French world, and that world affects the way in which the dreamer's story is told. Where the opening lines portrayed a stubborn Anglicism, now there are frequent French words, especially noticeable in rhyme, and an indulgence in French devices like rime riche, whose point is
to create perspective through the semantic or grammatic twisting of a word or stem (hert [verb]: hert [noun], 883-84); halte [holds]: halte [limps], 621-22). There is one use of the device to line 396, thirteen between lines 397 and 932, and, as the poem moves back toward the English register, one from line 933 to the end. The dreamer, although interested, remains largely outside the cult of romance, but the Knight is an adept, and he gives the dreamer an object lesson in a member's education. His first attempt at a love song, which he recites to the dreamer, belongs to the same prosodic register (especially in the rhyme words) as the dreamer's opening lines from Froissart: Lord hyt maketh myn herte lyght Whan I thenke on that swete wyght That is so semely on to see -104And wisshe to God hit myghte so be That she wolde holde me for hir knyght My lady that is so fair and bryght. (1175-80) The lines characterize an untutored composer, uninitiate in love and poetry and fine language. There is a noticeable difference in register between this early song and the Knight's present lament overheard by the dreamer: I haue of sorwe so grete wone That joye I nuer none Now that I see my lady bryth, Which I haue loued with al my myght, Is fro me ded, and ys agoon. Allas, dethe, what eyleth the That thou noldest haue taken me, Whan thou toke my lady freshe, so fre, So goode, that men may wel se Of al goodnesse she had no mete? (475-86) The characterized speech of the lament is more English than Chaucer's surrounding narrative, but it is distinctly more fluid than the Knight's first effort. Although that first effort has no apparent French source, this song has a direct source in the Behaingne; four of its lines correspond closely to the source, and three French loanwords appear in it. The rhyme scheme is somewhat more complex, and although there is still only the mildest enjambment, the more complex syntax of the lament and its relative rhythmic complexity ("Allas, dethe, what ayleth the") make it seem much more fluent than the earlier song. The improvement lies in the interanimation of registers. The message seems to be that in some way the romance world has been efficacious in the Knight's life, notwithstanding his present grief, and that it may yet prove valuable to the dreamer's life as well.
If Chaucer exposes Machaut's portrait as a telling emblem of knightly fantasy. then we are halfway to solving them. like the lines from Froissart's Paradys.The end of the middle section of the poem. Machaut himself has already started the job. Chaucer's changes are systematic: Lady White has "Ryght faire shuldres" (952). heavy with nostalgia. The description in the Duchess. (The English ded occurs eight times from the beginning of the poem to line 500. the French lady's breasts are given three lines. The English feet are not mentioned. but line correspondences are less direct and less frequent. But their reading assumes a poet who shares his narrator's perspectives and prejudices on language and culture. for Machaut's image too is dialogic. whereas Machaut's lady has none at all worth mentioning. and the narrator awakens. that is. Lady White's are -105simply "Rounde" (956). drawn chiefly from Behaingne. echoing Seys-Morpheus's "I nam but ded" in line 204. and a thorough discussion of Chaucer's poetic dialogue with Machaut -. say. On the surface the poem's conclusion may seem to validate the nononsense English register and reject the idealism of the French register: if we can only face our troubles." The description in the Behaingne is an emblem of French romance. it and the accompanying spiritual description drawn from Machaut's Remede de Fortune are central to the poem's elegiac occasion and to the Knight's effort to satisfy the dreamer's curiosity. because White's portrait brings into focus an apparently irreducible distance between the two linguistic and cultural registers of the poem.) The dreamer sympathizes. comes with the portrait of Lady White in lines 939-60. and the beginning of its movement away from the French register. put them in plain English. The reverberations reach further. This is the answer for Huppé and Robertson (98). through the trials of courtship and. juxtaposed with Machaut's image. the bliss of union. is an emblem of English realism. once more to line 1186. and five times in the last 147 lines of the poem. of the anxiety of influence -. but the spell of romance begins to break here. where good means "ample. The return to the (characterized) English register is complete with the Black Knight's "She ys ded" (1309). among other readers. the French hips are "tres bien tailliez" ( Behaingne 376). and feet. but there is "a streight flat bakke" (957) and the hips are "of good brede" (956). the Knight leaves for his home in French-and-English punland. a bell rings. as are the French thighs. lines 336400.would also have to deal with the air of conspiracy that permeates it. The use of Machaut continues. Lady White's physical decription is the heart of the Black Knight's memoir. fleetingly or evasively. and the incidence of French loanwords in Chaucer's poem declines. and it -106- . with his dream still hovering over him. toward whom the clerkish narrator is ambivalent. legs.in terms. It is painted not by the Behaingne narrator (who is also characterized to a degree) but by a characterized knightly voice. That effort continues for another three hundred lines.
Its vitality. The illumination of distance. but something different. romanticize -himself. and political reality of his situation in 1369-70 was an English court whose monarch spoke only French and whose court poetic tradition was mainly French. metrical experiment. between two languages and cultures. Such a reality is laughable. and the poem's cultural functions -. poetic manifesto. as language study. in all its complexity. facing both the . and its message. but in which English was itself becoming more and more like French. but it also engages English (polyglossia is a cure for both monolingualism and bilingualism).not the next best thing to being in both places at once. and its meaning. in a country in which most people spoke only English. and even elegy. and in which civil and legal affairs were beginning to be conducted in English. and it is still taking place when the poet revokes the poem at the end of his own life.' despite the fact that as a system it is a historical dead end" ( "Prehistory"45). a living image of the future. is -. lie in its linguistic and poetic complexity. The poem is indeed a young poet's manifesto for the native vernacular ( Nolan218). Dialogic contact occurs when a poet (the subject is novelistic discourse but Bakhtin's example is Pushkin) "sees the limitations and insufficiency of the Oneginesque language and world view" but finds that he "can express some of his most basic ideas and observations only with the help of this 'language. a grittiness in the face of pain. that the Knight would trade his present knowledge for his former ignorance. but it is not enough for the poem. That courtship is portrayed as an initiation into French poetic culture. its reverberating polyglossia. in its wordstock and also in its rhythmic structure. poetic. The lady on whom it focuses is an emblem of flesh-and-blood humanity conjured within the spell of romance. It is shaped by the active engagements of the present. His final "She ys ded" is a part of the answer. even between life and death. and it does not simply do both of these things.elegy and manifesto -stamp it with the energies of past and future as with the energies of Romance French and Germanic English. Much has been made of the social occasion of the Duchess. It ends in what it has characterized as the native register. The Duchess is in English. To return in closing to the subject of Chaucer as prosodist. seems to be that truth lies in perspective. but English is part French. The Knight who grieves for her now was able to win her in the first place only because he was able to civilize-that is. between two lingering images. the linguistic. Time is important in the Duchess. and there is no sense in the poem that it has been a waste. but as manifestos go it is remarkably complex. and he expresses his present grief in cadences he learned for her courtship. It does not simply imitate or lampoon French poetry and poetics. In the Duchess no simple answer is given but a conversation is engaged. and Chaucer's approach was to confront it laughing. It engages French. Time is also important in Bakhtin's formulation. The key to both formulations is that the future -107does not simply replace the past or simply grow out of the past. and it is enough for the dreamer. but not enough has been made of its linguistic occasion. but much of the knowledge it has acquired along the way has come from the foreign one.seems impossible that such a poet could have written this poem.
Consider the Dominus's reply to the objection that readers with Latin have no need of English translations: -109- . Heteroglossia." an intermediary -potentially an exceedingly powerful role since. The lesson of Chaucer and Gower is that rhythmic discourse is productive when it responds to the politics of contemporary language and ultimately unproductive when it tries to avoid that confrontation. which he appends to his translation of Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon. as Trevisa punningly suggests. "in thar barnage. it is the translator who is a significant guide to what different people "wol mene. Where Chaucer aimed at the interanimation of his languages. "The yong enfant fyrst with lauchtir delytis To knaw his moder. -108Dialogism. the translator. and Late Medieval Translation Daniel J. Trevisa prominently figures the multilingual person. Genyus the god delytyth not thar tabill. as a "mene." Gavin Eneados Douglas ( 1513) In the first of these two passages. Pinti bote God of hys mercy and grace haþ ordeyned doubel remedy [for the problem of different languages]. Nor Iuno thame to kepe in bed is habill. 1 But Trevisa's portrait surely implies far more than this. Quha lauchis not. Gower avoided the same reality by avoiding the same kind of linguistic confrontation. John Trevisa ( 1387) Myne author eyk in Bucolykis endytis. quhen he is litil page. and the price he paid was the awkwardness and sober discipline of bilingualism in a situation in which fluency could be achieved only through the mirth and license of polyglossia. from the Dialogue between a Lord and a Clerk. Gower labored to keep his separate." quod he." And this role is not limited to the translator's interaction with a monolingual readership. and so bytwene strange men of þe whoche noþer understondeþ oþeres speche such a man may be mene and telle eyþer what þoþer wol mene. John Trevisa portrays translators in terms that may initially seem unremarkable: a translator is simply someone who is able to help people of different tongues understand one another. All discourse is political.inadequacies of the object language and the fact that there were some things he could say only by means of it. On ys þat som man lurneþ and knoweþ meny dyvers speches.
Douglas does not just offer a few lines from Virgil's Eclogues in Scots. . noþer þou wiþoute studyinge and avysement and lokyng of oþer bokes. whose word at once looks back to an "original" utterance and forward to a wholly new audience.Y denye þis argument. . along with the role of the translator suggested in the Trevisa excerpt. With regard to the "overlapping" of medieval rhetorical and grammatical functions. to bolster his own proverbial discourse with the auctoritas of Virgil -. who would best be able to judge the value of the translation itself. after all. For example. The first is that any translation has an implicit "he said" or "she said" accompanying it. parue puer.and fifteenth-century England. Copeland writes: The translator aspires to penetrate the language of the original by acute understanding. This mediating role of the translator. ( 215 ) Clearly the translator addresses the educated. þer ys moche Latyn in þeus bokes of cronyks þat y can noʒt understonde. as starting points for the following discussion. given what must have been. and in Mikhail Bakhtin's terms. that is. In short. and hence fundamentally dialogic. indeed. for þey I cunne speke and rede and understone Latyn. dea nec dignata cubili est [ 60 . reported discourse. by definition translation can be understood. is more obvious in the second example. / nec deus hunc mensa. endytis" and inserts the speech tag "quod he" in the middle of his translation. 3 These additions call our attention to two properties of translation that I want to use. to write for this audience.purposes shaped in large part by his own "answer" to Virgil's text. from the fifth prologue of Gavin Douglas 's Eneados. risu cognoscere matrem / (matri longa decem tulerunt fastidia menses) / incipe parue puer: qui non risere parenti. bilingual audience. The second is that a translation is always a response to a previous text.in this case. in fact. as a form of indirect. Rita Copeland's extensive and thoroughly convincing research into medieval rhetorical theory and the hermeneutic function of the -110translation. between Bakhtin and medieval translation theory can readily and advantageously be proposed is readily evident. to shape the translator's own language.63 ]) with "Myne author . translation is a necessarily dialogic mode of writing. the values of that original . but once opened through this active understanding. so to speak. and their constitutive relation to modes of invention and interpretation in medieval translation. in some sense. 4 That a dialogue. and who would most fully recognize and appreciate the kind of textual mediation in which the translator was engaged. Douglas begins this rather loose translation of Virgil's Eclogue 4 (Incipe. the translator had to recognize and. especially in light of recent work on medieval translation. implicitly brings many of these connections to light. perhaps is best understood. 2 It is such a reader. but does so for his own rhetorical purposes -. the language of the original is expected to inform. within the learned population. perhaps this audience as much as any. a large number of bilingual or trilingual readers in fourteenth.
a good deal of very valuable work has already been done that applies dialogic theory to medieval literature. encourage the translator's poetic creativity. Bakhtin's thoughts on dialogism. 7 In general. in this kind of dialogic mode. Caryl Emerson did ask in an article some years ago. to the writings of Chaucer. to penetrate. contextually. in the English tradition. Bakhtinian theory. "The event of the life of the text. "Does Bakhtin offer us a theory of translation?" and answered her own question: "In the widest sense. "To understand another person at any given moment . and metalepsis -. however. and the related concept of heteroglossia. synecdoche. as Bakhtin writes. of course. is to come to terms with meaning on the boundary between one's own and another's language: to translate" ( 24 ). "always develops on the boundary between two consciousnesses. two subjects" ( "Problem of the Text"106). can be put to more sustained use than this with regard to translation. the "shaping" of a translator's language by another's language. in The Translator's Turn. It is on this boundary. metaphor. the way to pursue such encouragement is through the appreciation and understanding of the "dialogics of translation. Understanding is itself a situation of dialogic interaction. -111Douglas Robinson.language to flow into. Perhaps this is because Bakhtin never overtly discusses translation at great length. particularly. have rarely and only recently been applied in any systematic way to translation theory. But it is important not to oversimplify this interaction. he insists that instead of pretending that the translator constructs a stable one-to-one pattern of correspondence or equivalence between the [source-language] and the [target-language] text (which proves to be ultimately impossible). "One cannot understand understanding as a translation from the other's language into one's own language" ("From Notes" 141). For Bakhtin. Emerson is right. yes." beginning with the acknowledgment that the translator is invariably "in hermeneutical dialogue with the [source-language] author" (xv). 6 Nonetheless. ( "Rhetoric"48) 5 One constructive way of understanding the "informing" of one language by another. is to my knowledge the most recent writer to make precise and detailed use of the concept of dialogue as a metaphor for a new paradigm of translation. the translator's native medium in an enactment of a process of linguistic reception. ." Bakhtin insists. despite many articles and even books on the subject. irony. that a translated text exists. we should recognize and. The translator can effectively dramatize this dialogue in his or her text by employing one of six "master tropes" ( 133 ) -. hyperbole. is dialogically. representing as it does the interactive understanding of the sourcelanguage writer and the target-language writer. inevitably: in essence translation is all man does" ( 23 ). indeed as this boundary.each of which can be a "perspectivizing device" to enable . and a translated text operates on just this boundary. (xv) For Robinson.metonymy. as Emerson puts it. . Of course. Concerned primarily with contemporary translation theory and practice.
Of course. I would add. and relies on the others. enacting or dramatizing this active relation. the necessity of doing them. strictly speaking. one of these forms. exists as a response to preceding utterances: "Each ut-112terance refutes. is after all a form of indirect discourse. manufactures literary and cultural value from. Instead. is his theory of heteroglossia. any translation. In sum. we can recognize that a translation is always (at least) ." In Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. an integration of Bakhtin's writings and translation theory. as well. inserted genres. "Reported speech is speech within speech. Perhaps the closest Bakhtin comes to addressing in detail the problems surrounding translation is when he writes on "reported speech". we conceive of the translated text as in one language. Bakhtin's ideas on dialogue in any detailed fashion. presupposes them to be known. standing as dialogue's enabling precondition. and somehow takes them into account" ( "Problem of Speech Genres"91). multivoiced." Bakhtin's fundamental unit of communication. in fact. once we recognize that translation is a form of reported speech. affirms. Voloshinov writes. Now I would like to extend this a step further. Translation is. As Bakhtin writes in "Discourse in the Novel": Authorial speech. we must recognize that it is inherently dialogic. and at the same time also speech about speech. 9 A translation. supplements. precisely what kind of literary or cultural value is decided by not only the writer but also the writer's audience(s). is use. each of them permits a multiplicity of social voices and a wide variety of their links and interrelationships (always more or less dialogized). Moreover. Robinson's book is interesting reading. he focuses more on the dialogic theories of Martin Buber. using these to undergird his project. then. "what is expressed in the forms employed for reporting speech is an active relation of one message to another" ( 116 ). however. utterance about utterance" ( 115 ). (263) 10 Conventionally. the speech of characters are merely those fundamental compositional unities with whose help heteroglossia can enter the novel. the speeches of narrators. it is therefore necessarily heteroglossic. other than the original. utterance within utterance. wherein the translator "reports" what someone (in another language) has "said." But if we extend Bakhtin's ideas into the realm of translation. Closely related to Bakhtin's theory of the inherent responsiveness of the utterance. and useful for its emphasis on the "hermeneutical dialogue" of translation.the new text "to stand in some significant relation" to the original ( 138 ). not only does these things but also makes use of. 8 What Robinson does not do. and thus (at least implicitly) in one "voice. intrinsically responsive. but it is not. behind these assertions lies the recognition that every "utterance. or even much explore. and citing only "Discourse in the Novel" during the course of his discussion of Bakhtin (1017). and suggest that if a translation is necessarily dialogic. I would propose. Therefore. as I noted above.
for it parallels Douglas's "witnessing" of Virgil's text. of the relational event that the translated text represents. a "fully-developed ecphrasis. are in their manuscript contexts very often conspicuously multivoiced productions. This fundamental condition of simultaneity. emphasis added) 12 -113Not just the commentator. 15 Aeneas is herein figured as a witness to Trojan history. Aeneas relives the scene in his mind and revives the story for Virgil's audience. as well as within the translation itself. medieval texts were often mediated by commentaries.in this case. the translator." In our second opening example above. performed this mediating function. Virgil "endytis" the passage. though. I would argue that Douglas's Eneados embodies and enacts. not primarily as an eyewitness (which he certainly had been at one point) but as the "audience" for a collection of scenes depicted on the walls of the temple. but the "quod he" signifies. and offer two examples of how a Bakhtinian. of course. When faced with a translation. "is always 'Who is talking?'" ( "Answering"307). between Latin and the vernacular. almost of simultaneity: the poet's voice with constant accompaniment. by means of the original prologues Douglas appends to each of the books of the Aeneid. and his translation as a reporting of a past event -. This created an impression of dialogue. and so forth. and. dialogic approach to a translated text might be employed. The artwork recapitulates the history of the fall of Troy. marginalia. 11 Medieval texts."double-voiced. which contains the descriptions of the pictures of the fall of Troy. between commentary and text. the dialogue of Douglas and Virgil -. The scene is of particular interest in the context of translation. Douglas's dialogue with the auctor Virgil as a means of self-styling an auctor Douglas. viewing them.192). and thus play an acknowledged and constitutive role in the creation of meaning himself." Michael Holquist insists. A translation is at once in the voice of the original and in the voice of the translator. can open up new ways of reading medieval translations.for a new audience. either in the margins. In Trevisa's image. largely due to the fact that the poet makes such evident efforts to manipulate the dialogic nature of translated discourse as a means of bolstering the perceived auctoritas of his translation." along with some dialogue between Aeneas and Achates ( Williams I. This dialogue was a constant discussion of how to read. As Ruth Morse reminds us. 14 On the whole. where we began. I would like now to turn back to Douglas's Eneados. "The obsessive question at the heart of Bakhtin's thought. . with their glosses. or as accompanying books. Douglas's translation in general is an excellent source for examples. corrections. paradoxically perhaps. The first example is from chapter 7 of Eneados I. interestingly. that it is in fact Douglas's narrator who is speaking. 13 One can approach this translated text (like so many other late medieval texts) in terms of the dialogic and heteroglossic relationship created between prologues and books. illuminations." could perform this role as well. we must phrase an answer in the plural. ( Truth24. acting as a "mene.
quhilk place is this. To begin with. and wepand said Achates tyll: "Quhou now. my frend. Lo." sic ait atque animum pictura pascit inani multa gemens. Virgil's "bellaque iam fama totum uulgata per orbem" (457) . And. "Quhat regioun in erd may fundyn be Quhar our mysforton is nocht fully proclame? Allace. heir his wirschip is haldin in memor.obviously chosen by Virgil to heighten the immediacy of Aeneas's reaction for his audience -." inquit.to the past tense. whereupon Virgil describes Aeneas's initial reaction: -114uidet Iliacas ex ordine pugnas bellaque iam fama totum uulgata per orbem. Thir lamentabyll takynnys passit befor Our mortal myndis aucht to compassioun steir. baldar than thame baith. largoque umectat flumine uultum. "Achate. . Away with dreid. "quis iam locus. Atridas Priamumque et saeuum ambobus Achillem. Murnand sair and wepand tendyrly.41). and nane hym saw" ( I. and tak na langar feir! Quhat. se yondir Kyng Priam. With thir plesand fenyeit ymagery. The famus batellis. so that "[a]mang the men he thrang.7. quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris? en Priamus. in this case by paralleling Virgil's play with time frames in this scene. The hero spots the story of Troy depicted on the walls. feret haec aliquam tibi fama salutem. This change might be written off as a simple oversight were it not for the fact that Douglas continues to engage with Virgil in a dialogic shift of time signifiers. ( I. solue metus. Douglas changes Virgil's presenttense uidet -. his invisibility here contrasting markedly with the very visual nature of the whole scene. wlgat throu the warld or this. quhar he stude.68-85) Douglas's version serves as an interpretation of the scene that highlights the Scots poet's own authoritative role by emphasizing the heteroglossic character of the translation. 7. Of Kyng Pryam and athir Attrides. . For example.Aeneas is enveloped in a cloud. constitit et lacrimans. He styntis.456-65) He saw perordour all the sege of Troy. wenys thou na this fame sall do the gude?" Thus said he and fed hys mynd." quod he. The flude of terys halyng our hys face . sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi. the fers Achil. behald. sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt. ( I.
linking Aeneas and the audience. a small but telling analogue to Douglas's role as translator-poet. by means of exactly the "wlgar" text the Scots reader would have before him. 17 Perhaps most impressively. Achate. Aeneas is linked with the author ( Virgil and/or Douglas) as the hero continues to describe the pictures to his companion Achates. echoing the sound of the Latin. quhilk place is this. Virgil's "en Priamus" (461) becomes the emphatic "Allace. Douglas toys with this paradox further as he expands per orbem to "throu the warld or this. Douglas remakes "tangunt" into "aucht to compassioun steir. . wlgat throu the warld or this" ( I. "before this one. / quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?""'Quhou now. . the past that is Aeneas and the present of Virgil ("before this Latin text"). to gain greater control over the "picture" of the Aeneid that his Scots audience actually "sees.. behald. Finally. my frend'" ( 73 )." invoking and multiplying a distinction between the past that is Troy and the present of Aeneas ("before this moment")." -116suggesting the guiding force of the authorial-commentative voice that is so often brought out in Douglas's translation. 7. Ironically. having recreated Aeneas as both an audience-figure and an author-figure in this scene." and that fame will be further extended in the world of Scots culture. Douglas collapses in the figure of Aeneas the author/audience dichotomy in order to assert (however implicitly) his own authorial status. and also to create a pun that selfreferentially points to the translated text. Douglas's translation of uulgata manages at once to remain very literal. Douglas brilliantly transforms "sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt" (462) into "thir lamentabyll takynnys passit befor / Our mortal myndis aucht to compassioun steir" ( 78 . instead of "quis iam locus . 492). "Lamentabyll takynnys" at once captures the sound and some of the rhythm of the Latin line even as it adds something to the literal meaning only implicit in the original: the phrase calls more attention to the signs simultaneously beheld and recounted by Aeneas in this passage. 16 Douglas further conflates "the world before this" when he changes constitit (459) to the present-tense "styntis" ( 72 ) and then has Aeneas ask. and the past that is the Aeneid and the present of the Eneados ("before this Scots text").69). and quite dialogically. Douglas's "stile wlgar" mentioned in the first prologue ( 1 Prol. and simultaneously beheld and recounted by the narrator Douglas in his translated text. The demonstrative pronoun added in the translation more insistently places the scene before the reader's eyes.-115becomes "the famus batellis. his own "wlgar Virgil" that he will praise at the end of his work ( "Exclamatioun"37). The battles of Ilium were famous in the Latin world. Aeneas's speech becomes not just a declamation of the pictures' effect. Moreover. se yondir Kyng Priam" ( 76 ). but a summary of their intended and appropriate effect. The pun hinges on the very dichotomy that distinguishes translated discourse -. laying still more stress on the visual elements of the scene for the reader and reinforcing Douglas's translator's role as reporter of the Latin text." .79 ).the text is at once the same as but nonetheless different from the original.
as I mentioned above. / inde toro pater Aeneas sic orsus ab alto" ( II. Mycht thame conteyn fra weping mony a teir? ( 11 . By creating a dialogic response to Virgil's text. I would like to turn to Douglas's conclusion of Book I and the subsequent transition to Book II of the Aeneid. Virgil begins with the dramatic lines. Douglas's own Prologue to Book II ( 181 ). Aeneas's response. that Blyth insists on too much distinction between the two voices. who commands such rapt attention.6) his audience has asked him to relive. Aeneid II. and thus Douglas is compelled to offer a more fitting introduction to Aeneas's account. Sik materis to rehers and yit to heir. I do not find what Blyth calls "the emotion[s] expressed" in the "preamble" and Prologue to be very different from one another. 1-2). that is. Careful attention to the dialogic tenor of the voices in this section suggests a more complete explanation for Douglas's alteration at the end of this book. analogous to Virgil's own audience. in the form of direct discourse. Charles Blyth offers some speculations on why Douglas divides the books as he does. however. Coldwell characterizes them as "minor textual adjustments" ( I. 18 Critics have tended to be either dismissive of or perplexed by such departures from Virgilian structure. "Conticvere omnes intentique ora tenebant. I think. Douglas's most notable change is his rearrangement of the translation of Aeneid II. a "preferable introduction" to the story ( 181 ). the lines serve as Aeneas's short "prologue" to his story of the last days of the Trojan war. Douglas makes his own connection between the figure of the hero and the figure of the poet. I think. 1-13 as Chapter 12 of Eneados I. and then prefaces the tragic nature of the impending tale with a generalized rhetorical question: Quhat Myrmydon or Gregion Dolopes Or knyght wageor to cruel Vlixes. who themselves are waiting eagerly for Aeneas to begin. arguing that Aeneas's "prologue" to his narrative within the narrative does not serve as an effective introduction for a medieval tragedy. identifying his own narrator all the more with the authoritative figure of pater Aeneas. with Dido and the rest as audience -117figures. Aeneas begins by mentioning the "ontellabill sorow" ( I. and Bawcutt admits finding them "perhaps the most puzzling feature of Douglas's translation" ( 140 ). 12. 1-13. how a dialogic approach to medieval translation can illuminate otherwise bewildering passages. in Blyth's words. for Aeneas to tell the story of the fall of Troy and of his wanderings. Moreover. does not immediately open Aeneid II. Blyth does not address the very intriguing element of authorial competition implied by Douglas providing. Clearly part of what Virgil is doing is putting Aeneas in the position of the epic storyteller. however.14 ) 19 . 54).One final example from Douglas's Eneados will serve to show. rather. The twelfth chapter of Eneados I translates. Virgil ends Aeneid I with Dido's fateful request.
24 ) Aeneas's conditional clause in Virgil posits Dido's amor. Whereas Aeneas's "prologue" to the story he is about to tell stresses the tragic nature of the narrative. here something like "passionate longing. thanks to Douglas's rearrangement. will be relied on to tell an "ontellabill" narrative. Bot sen I follow the poet principall. and no need for even intimations of poetic fakery or . Douglas accentuates Aeneas's role as poet and thereby links his voice closely to Aeneas's.. Indeed. laborem" ( II. . Quhen the declynyng of the sternys brycht To sleip and rest perswadis our appetite. 1-7) On the one hand. ( 15 ." In short." picks up and augments Aeneas's theme in the voice of the prologue-poet: Dyrk beyn my muse with dolorus armony. And schortly the last end tharof wald heir. the analogy between Douglas and Aeneas is expanded to include a close connection between Douglas and Virgil. Prologue 2. Aeneas himself. as the words are simultaneously voiced by Aeneas and Douglas. is expanded to include this poet figure's interest in pleasing his audience: "Yit than I sal begyn yow forto pleys. . "incipiam" ( II. and oftsys Murnand eschewis tharfra with gret dyseys. by remaking amor as "sic plesour and delyte" that an audience can derive from poetry per se. even Aeneas's simple final word in these prefatory remarks. on the wald clerkis call Fortill compyle this dedly tragedy Twiching of Troy the subuersioun and fall. whose own words. But the "I" following the "poet principall" in this case is still following the "poet" from the end of Eneados I. Bot sen thou hast sic plesour and delyte To knaw our chancis and fal of Troy in weyr. further underscoring the tragedy of the story Aeneas is about to tell: And now the hevin ourquhelmys the donk nycht.Thereupon Eneados I ends with the hero's specific address to Dido. -118This connection between the hero and the poet is extended when Douglas introduces another voice into the dialogue of his translation of the transition between books: the Prologue to Eneados II. Yit than I sal begyn yow forto pleys. an introductory speech for that "prologue. The question of line 6 thus becomes laced with ironic and powerfully dialogic overtones: no need of a transcendent muse here. Douglas's text becomes manifestly heteroglot. Albeit my spreit abhorris and doith grys Tharon forto remembir. Douglas implies." to hear the story "Troiae supremum . Melpomene. Quhat nedis purches fenyeit termys new? God grant me grace hym dyngly to ensew! ( 2 Prol. on the heels of what has now become. 10-11).13).
There is no small irony in that Douglas claims accuracy in the midst of one of his most obvious changes to Virgil's text. whether or not readers typically read such a text as a translation." Finally. The learned and moralizing voice of the commentator is drawn into the proverbial final line (and implied in the criticism of Dido) and broadens. And. too. ye dyssavouris. to specify euery part. Aeneas's stated motive above. Translated prose is no less at issue." Gower's Confessio Amantis "is very much a product of the tradition of academic translation" ( Rhetoric202). for instance. of the writings of Christine de Pizan or Catherine of Siena -.Hoccleve's version of L'Épistre de Cupide being but one famous example. of the possibilities for reading dialogues of gendered voices in the works of medieval women translators such as Dame Eleanor Hull or Juliana Berners. And just as striking is the extension and conflation of Virgil's.for acquiring terms from elsewhere. to grant Dido's request for the story and offer "plesour and delyte. albeit "revoiced" in Scots. Heir verifeit is that proverbe eching so. One thinks. your bewte was the caws. quite possibly if not likely made by male translators. I hope I have shown that approaching medieval translated texts in light of Bakhtin's ideas of dialogism and heteroglossia is not . and expansions serve to highlight the translator's business of orchestrating voices in dialogue." Gavin Douglas's Eneados. produces some kind of heteroglossia.. its prologues. Lord Berners's translation of Froissart's Chronicles surely enacts its own kind of complex dialogue with English history. knychtis.an authoritative assertion of his own right to rewrite.that is.could well be theorized and analyzed in dialogical terms. any text that configures itself in relation to one or more sources -. is perhaps only the most obviously multivoiced translation from the late Middle Ages. reid heir your proper art. Harkis. as a text that acts to supplement and extend a monumental poem like Virgil's Aeneid. a poem such as Chaucer's House of Fame. includes its own exceedingly brief "translation" of Virgil's Aeneid. 15-21) -119Here Douglas's address to his implied audience of "ladeis" and "knychtis" echoes Aeneas's own address to his figural audience in the narrative. If the very act of translation itself. the wod fury of Mart. and Douglas's voices in the final stanza of the second prologue: Harkis. Moreover. "All erdly glaidnes fynysith with wo. marginal commentary. precisely because it has so convincingly differentiated itself from its sources. attendis mony sorofull claws. additions. the rearrangement of the first part of Book II -. of course. however. ladeis." ( 2 Prol. because the "old words" are dialogically still present. the prologue implicitly warns against deriving too much pleasure from a worldly story of "dedly tragedy. not to mention in the Middle English translations. Aeneas's. then any "translated" text -. Standing at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Eneados. Wys men. And fynaly. 20 In short. Rita Copeland argues that although it "is not typically studied as a translation. as a dialogic response to Aeneas's introductory speech to Book II.
one that may profit- . and the fact that many of the theorists responsible for their proliferation and dissemination began their scholarly careers with the study of medieval literature ( Eco. we will be better able to understand medieval writers' and readers' dialogues with their cultural pasts. Mikhail Bakhtin is in some ways the major precursor to this trend: though rarely directly concerned with medieval literature or with the differences between manuscript and print textuality. Authorship. Grammaire) argues for the proposition that medieval textual practice may be the source of much poststructuralist critical theory. Kristeva. Trevisa's "mene" moderated a dialogue that was one of the fundamental modes of medieval textual production.we will be able to appreciate and understand all the more fully texts that form the basis of so much of the literary culture of the later Middle Ages. Indeed. Indeed. such scholars have found that latetwentiethcentury critical concepts like intertextuality. A. Todorov.just as late medieval translators like Gavin Douglas did themselves -. or anonymous texts that are "only" translations. the disappearance of the author. Minnis have also been excavating a coherent medieval theoretical stance toward authorship and textuality ( Minnis. As we shall see. and the audience's role in the creation of meaning can be applied with startling persuasiveness to medieval works. It is not only in the application of recent critical theory to medieval texts that the links between the two periods appear: literary historians such as A. Medieval Literary Theory). -121Medieval Authorship and the Polyphonic Text From Manuscript Commentary to the Modern Novel Robert S. Greimas. A Bakhtinian theory of translation applies equally well to many lesserread writers who are too often viewed as "mere" translators. Following the lead of post-structuratist critical theory.only congruent with medieval vernacular translation theory but also especially illuminating for contemporary readers. Sturges A number of recent scholars concerned with the nature of medieval authorship and textuality have emphasized the subtle differences between the acts of composing a text in what Gerald Bruns calls a "manuscript culture" and a "print culture" ( 44 ). it often seems that these concepts are applicable in a much more literal way to texts produced in the Middle Ages than to those produced in our own period. Bakhtin's theoretical and historical work often seems more literally relevant to these areas of inquiry than to the novel. Once we make space in our reading for more voices in the medieval translated text -. and that the implications of R. Shoaf's forceful assertion that "medieval poetry without translation is unthinkable" ( "Literary Theory"85) do not just extend to the "grand translateur" and renowned -120author Chaucer. Texte. J. Jauss. Minnis and Scott.
which was first theorized by Bakhtin. variance may be considered the defining characteristic of medieval textuality: Or "l'écriture médiévale ne produit pas de variantes. Authorship in a manuscript culture is itself less clearly defined or limited than it is in a print culture. but in our culture only those whose writing appears in printed form can be considered "authors" or can claim the authority that term implies. as Bernard Cerquiglini has pointed out. and their authors dissolve into a multiplicity of voices in a much more literal fashion than is the case with any text produced in a print culture. Someone else writes both the materials of other men. authors and texts both may still be characterized by some of the fluidity of discourse found in oral cultures. a reader can exercise authority over a text simply by writing (see Sturges. and this person is said to be the commentator. adding or changing nothing." In a manuscript culture. Someone else writes both his own materials and those of others. not the author. This multiple. but the materials of others as the principal materials. Bonaventure. or premodern and postmodern. of a preexisting text. in fact. and this person is -123said to be the compiler. in the prologue to his commentary on Peter Lombard's Libri sententiarum. and such must be called the author. on the other hand. that provide the connection between the medieval and poststructuralist. and this person is said to be merely the scribe. "Textual Scholarship"). Medieval manuscript texts. and the materials of others annexed for the purpose of confirming his own. even by writing in the margins. in which an ever-changing narrative is continuously altered by successive contributors. indeterminate authorship contributes to the polyphony of medieval manuscript texts. elle est variance" (quoted in Nichols I). and of his own. (quoted in Minnis. especially texts with commentaries. In a manuscript culture. and its implications for medieval concepts of authorship. It is print publication that separates writing from authorship: anyone literate can write. eras. Minnis points out that St. as it is copied and recopied. they are open to refashioning by their readers.-122ably be compared with poststructuralist theory. Authorship94) . developed his own theory of some of the modes of authorship that are possible in a manuscript culture: [S]omeone writes the materials of others. Someone else writes the materials of others. The manuscript text. and his own annexed for the purpose of clarifying them. Indeed. which is to say that all manuscript versions of a text are produced by multiple "authors. adding. revisions. they are intertextual. and errors that constitute mouvance and variance. with their openness to a multiplicity of sources and authors. but nothing of his own. and may even be an indirect source of the modern novel's heteroglossia. but his own as the principal materials. is prone to the additions. as it were. deletions. in the absence of the separation between writing and authorship that comes about with print publication. may be considered precursors of the Bakhtinian polyphonic text. It is the nature of manuscript textuality itself.
is the compiler of three popular thirteenth-century devotional texts. Even the "author" proper. For Bonaventure. in some ways a new creation. as Bonaventure suggests. would seem to be dependent upon a nonprint mentality. the real St. and it is their contributions to the polyphony of manuscript textuality that will clarify the relevance of Bakhtin's theories to medieval practice. in Bonaventure's terminology. Nevertheless. the text so produced is. the addition of a commenting voice in itself alters the reader's experience. may also remain anonymous. the Soliloquies. Hanning has explored some of the implications of this phenomenon for medieval textuality: The production and compilation of glosses was no mere act of philological or archeological piety toward inherited classics. the wholly singular author who alone has authority over his discourse does not exist. And even those who cannot be called "author" can still exert some degree of authority. Augustine among them. And in practice there is no guarantee that the commentator's interpretation is precisely coextensive with the author's.take on characteristics of the other authorial functions in Bonaventure's terms. R. as a whole. the many actual scribes who also altered their texts in order to make them more acceptable or comprehensible in their own cultural or linguistic context -. the compiler and the commentator. We shall return to him shortly. indeed. draws on the work of other authors: in a manuscript culture.like those considered later in this essay -. designed to elucidate their original meanings. Even more interesting for our purposes here is the case of medieval -124manuscript commentators. a focusing of intellect or belief to reclaim and domesticate alien institutions or perceptions. Even if. especially those examples in which the previous authors are not credited. Bonaventure's definitions specify two such functions. on the contrary. at least by directing it more explicitly toward a particular interpretation. the compiler selects and arranges materials drawn from other authors. it was frequently an exertion of mastery over such works. the commentator's main goal is simply to clarify the previous text. but his own contribution is limited to this process of selection and arrangement. in which no author can have the copyright or ownership of the text that his or her intellectual labor produced. In an interesting and important essay. who at least to some extent preserve a preexisting text but who also add to it one or more interpretive contexts unintended by the previous author. This kind of text. the compiler's juxtapositions capable of creating meanings unknown in the component texts themselves. or may label his work with an authoritative name that may or may not bear some relation to the source-texts. an "author" whose works are composed almost entirely of extracts from previous authors. ( 29 ) . and Manual." for instance. thereby altering its reception by subsequent audiences. Known to future readers only as the "pseudo-Augustine.It should be noted that Bonaventure defines the scribe as a mere copyist. The compiler. Meditations. W.
On the other hand. for example in "From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse. . which is why we are privileged to read between the lines. the commentator's. His concern with "voice" itself. deliberately victimizes another. writers in a manuscript culture inevitably think of texts as open-ended. he refers to these activities as "textual harassment" -"teasing and distorting texts with radically different world views into harmony with one another" ( Hanning29). What can Bakhtin's works add to this discussion of medieval textuality? First. always subject to revision. it should be useful in bringing a measure of specificity to what would otherwise be a purely theoretical debate among medievalists. because the essays of Bakhtin's that are most useful here . his categorizing tendency in such essays as the opening section of "Discourse in Dostoevsky" ( Dostoevsky181-204) 1 can help clarify some of the concrete ways in which different voices can interact in manuscript commentary. Hanning's view needs to be tempered by that of Bruns.56 ) Rather than the coercion or "harassment" that Hanning finds in manuscript commentary. the answer lies in the very nature of manuscript textuality itself. would have been understood in the same way by a medieval reader. the ways in which this imagining bears upon the art or practice of writing" in a manuscript culture ( Bruns44). that this term's implication that one authorial voice. In a clever pun. one must proceed with caution in applying Bakhtin's theoretical models to manuscript textuality. he goes on to apply his findings in this area to Bible commentaries and other late medieval texts as well. ( 55 . or a commentator.Although Hanning is referring specifically to Christian glosses on the classical auctores at this point. It is by no means clear. a compiler. however. whether by an author. and not to read between them only but to write between them as well. "the ways in which textuality is imagined and . amplification is not merely supplementation but also interpretation. the author's. . or even constitutive of." and especially with the manner in which voices can represent clashing languages or indeed cultures. The kind of textual compilation and commentary I have been discussing is possible only when textuality is conceived or "imagined" in this fashion. and indeed required by. or more than what its letters contain. who suggests instead that such interventions constitute the very nature of manuscript textuality in a boundless play of meanings: My argument would be that in a manuscript culture the text is not reducible to the letter. Bruns finds in it a fulfillment and expansion of -125meaning made possible. that is. Why should this be so? Once again.not fully what it could be . Because manuscript texts are not "closed" or "finished" ( Bruns44-45) as print texts are. manuscript textuality. a text always contains more than it says. because the text is simply not complete -. . may also prove helpful in defining how the multiple voices of a medieval manuscript interact with one another. .
they may all function as points of intersection for a multiplicity of voices. a possibility that may well have seemed likely for reasons to be discussed below. which suggests that the manuscript text may have several "centers" or. complete this time. both in the more literal sense suggested above and in Bakhtin's sense as well. One of Bakhtin's central concerns is the manner in which a single author -Dostoevsky. laywomen. but omits the commentary. for any theory of medieval authorship and textuality. The commentary's major concern is apparently to prevent the readers from giving the main text a Wycliffite interpretation. which appears to be closer to the original translation. The differences between the two manuscripts are themselves of considerable interest: the version of the text included in R.xix in the British Library (hereafter called C). The Middle English version. It seems to have been executed at the request of a group of nuns or. The version in C. and polyphony in the novel and related literary forms and do so in a way that can shed light on the medieval notions of manuscript commentary and compilation. Bakhtin points out: . As may be seen from this brief description.are not directly concerned with the implications of the manuscript culture itself. compiler(s). which survives in two rather different manuscripts. turning the text into a series of independent meditations rather than a single work in chapters. mentioned above 2 (not to be confused with St. Instead. this version adds a conventional prayer ending to each chapter. that the manuscript text may be more radically decentered than any nineteenthcentury novel. contains the same translation. indeed. has lost its first three chapters at some point but includes an extensive commentary by the translator as well as the main "Augustinian" text. Both deal with the issues of polyglossia. and commentator(s) may well be different individuals and may function at different historical moments. Augustine. on the other hand. The exemplary medieval text for our purposes here is the late-fourteenth.can function as the point of intersection for multiple voices. the essays mentioned above have important implications. as opposed to print culture. Augustine's genuine Soliloquies). heteroglossia. further. the "verbal-ideological center" ( Prehistory48) or "center of organization where all [language] levels intersect" ( Prehistory 49). Writing of the role of quotation in the Middle Ages. Bakhtin must be read critically and his views adapted to the specific task at hand. on the other hand. the Middle English pseudoAugustinian Soliloquies in its two manifestations is a richly polyphonic text. The medieval compilation and commentary. are products of multiple authors in a much more literal way: the author(s). which have not yet been fully considered. a widely disseminated Latin devotional text compiled in the thirteenth century and subsequently translated into several vernaculars. was not translated directly from Latin but paraphrased from a French intermediary that has not yet been identified. possibly. -126Nevertheless. for instance -. MS Richardson 22 in Harvard's Houghton Library (hereafter called R) and MS Cotton Titus C.or earlyfifteenth-century Middle English version of the Soliloquies attributed to St.
not only mere errors. deliberately rein-127terpreted and so forth. ( "Prehistory" 69 ) Bakhtin fails to suggest. ambiguous. Augustine's other spurious and genuine writings but also excerpts from other authorities such as Hugh of St. In a culture of fixed. that this kind of flexibility is a necessary condition of textuality in a manuscript culture. often deliberately distorted and confused. at certain points he seem aware that his elucidation is also an attempt to keep the text under orthodox control. In Bakhtin's theoretical work on voice in prose discourse. Two other authorial figures also made contributions to the Middle English version(s): the translator who provided the anti-Wycliffite commentary in R (or who at least claimed he did. Literally. the English paraphrase. unconscious. Not only selections from St. but only when one author's words and textual structures can actually be permeated with another's does it seem possible for the kind of textuality described here to be imagined. Certain types of texts were constructed like mosaics out of the texts of others. completely hidden. is such a compilation of multiple authorial voices. and there is no particular reason to doubt him) and the other "commentator" (in St. as Bruns and Hanning have done. or that were half-hidden. and that this text could equally well give rise to . intentionally distorted. and can therefore be considered "authorial" functions as well. print textuality. unintentionally distorted. but independent attempts by different scribes to make sense of the same difficult passages.all of which have some degree of authority over the text itself. but who contributes something of his own to it as well). such flexibility is inconceivable. Bonaventure's terms of one whose main function is to preserve an earlier text. we also find a rigorous system of classification that may help us understand the role of commentary in manuscript textuality. as well as the inevitable. correct. Victor and numerous books of the Bible also contributed to the mosaic. who deleted this commentary from C (along with the references to St. a culture of intellectual property and copyright. like the Latin text. and yet. Augustine) and who turned the text into a series of prayers. half-conscious.The role of the other's word was enormous at that time: there were quotations that were openly and reverently emphasized as such. presumably unintentional variations such as the loss of the first three chapters of the text in R -. to use Bruns's term. As Bonaventure suggests is the case with commentary generally. The commentary in R suggests a certain discomfort with the Soliloquies themselves on the part of the translator/commentator. this commentator's overt purpose is the elucidation -128of his text. 3 as did the anonymous compiler who selected and arranged these materials (and who contributed some original connecting material as well). There are also purely scribal variations between the two manuscripts. The boundary lines between someone else's speech and one's own speech were flexible.
then. a relationship conceivable only in a manuscript culture. hast made þe handys. þe bodyes. falls into Bakhtin's category of "hidden polemic": In a hidden polemic the author's discourse is directed toward its own referential object. especially those sections concerning predestination. Nevertheless. apart from its referential meaning. Much of the commentary. for instance in this conclusion to a brief passage of interpretation: "Þere to I trust seyþ þis holy Austyn and ellis lorde I schulde despeyre" (R 25r). and since Wycliffe is universally recognized as having been deeply influenced by Augustine. his attempts at elucidating "Austyn"'s meanings are consistently structured as a refutation of Wycliffite belief. nor does he mention at any point that his commentary repeatedly responds to any organized body of heretical dogma. it is merely implied. along heretical lines. images. þat art nat made by mannys handes? But þu. 4 If text and commentary do not speak in the same voice. especially by his doctrines on transubstantiation and predestination. Since the commentator does not name the Wycliffites as his adversar-129ies. at the other's statement about the same object. it might not even exist -. two of the topics addressed directly in the Soliloquies (see Pelikan32). the entire commentary would be different -. the commentator must despair. made wiþ dedly mannys handis. The commentator's difficulty in making the text speak univocally -in his voice alone -. as is any other discourse.if it were not for the possibility that his readers might interpret the Soliloquies. but the entire structure of speech would be completely different if there were not this reaction to another person's implied words. ( Dostoevsky 195) The commentator does indeed refrain from naming Wycliffe and his followers as the "other" whose doctrines he wishes to prevent the audience from finding in the pseudoAugustinian text. (R 41r) .can be expressed with great poignancy. and spiritys of men. but at the same time every statement about that object is constructed in such a way that. . since the Soliloquies do include selections from Augustine's genuine works. how can we tell that he does indeed have them in mind? The answer lies precisely in the structure of his commentary and in its relationship with the main "Augustinian" text.in fact. a polemical blow is struck at the other's discourse on the same theme. . And þe ydoles of þe pepel is but fantom þat aren of golde & syluer. The other's discourse is not reproduced. It is the voice of the Wycliffite heresy that the orthodox commentator suspects that he hears in the text of "St.dangerously unorthodox interpretations. A good example is the long and fascinating passage of commentary following these remarks in the Soliloquies concerning idolatry: [W]here is þe god þat may be lyke to þe. Austyn" -. lord. As Bakhtin's theory suggests. .not surprisingly. and transubstantiation.
He does so quickly. Specifically. Most significant. and the necessity of the priesthood in guiding all interpretation: all who believe in Christ's words must also "byleue verreyly in þe sacrament of þe awter" (R 42v43r). a Wycliffite treatise on images and pilgrimages written around the same time as the English version of the Soliloquies is a point of intersection for discussions of three of these issues: images lead the people into idolatry. this passage must have seemed susceptible to such a Wycliffite interpretation. To the R commentator. by invoking the traditional orthodox defense: Þe pepyl. and also for oþer to renew þe more here mynde in god and in þe passioun of his manhode. for his body is þe same brede þat is þe sacrament of þe autere. ( Hudson 17) . for it is a gode booke to þe lewid peple þat are vnlettryd. the pseudo-Augustinian text does not even mention the sacrament of the altar at this point and never mentions the latter two issues at all. whereas those who criticize the Church's use of images "schende hem selfe in folwyng þe feendys counsayle by mys takyng of scripturis" (R 43r). Wycliffe's own "Confessions on the Eucharist" also links the problem of images to the sacrament of the altar: But as a man leeues for to þenk þe kynde of an ymage. Hit is a grete differens of þe opynyon and þe entent of þese cristen pepylle and of þe opynnyon of hem þat weren in olde tyme þat byleuyd on fals goddis. And þis is wel done. and settys his þouʒt in him of whom is þe ymage. . But þenk vpon Crist.This passage may seem to a modern reader like a fairly orthodox condemnation of idolatry. they are forbidden in the Old Testament. and the corrupt clergy is to blame for their abuse ( Hudson 83-85). þey haue ymagis and do make ymages to þe worschip of god as for a loue tokyn. so myche more schuld a man leue to þenk on þe kynde of bred. In fact. wip ful feyþ in þe trynyte. the proper interpretation of Scripture. . and in orthodox responses to them. but the late fourteenth century witnessed the Wycliffite condemnation of the Church's reliance on images. wheþer it be of oke or of asshe. -130These further points seem like nonsequiturs: far from linking them to the doctrine of images. the commentator then goes on to discuss several other theological issues not mentioned in the Soliloquies: the sacrament of the altar. (R 42r-v) More significantly. the only links among these four theological points are to be found in Wycliffite writings of this period. and he takes his place among the late medieval defenders of the Church's practice. the interpretation of Scripture (which for the commentator includes the Church Fathers as well as the Bible) must be guided by the orthodox priesthood: "Therfor whan any creature hap suche conseytes or dowtys in redynge of scriptures or by ymagynacions or temptacioun þey schuld anone take counsayle of clerkys and do by here doctrinis" (R 43r). . And þis þey done for to haue hym þe more in remembraunce and in deuocioun.
rather than the "hidden polemic" that determines the commentator's response to the text's potential for unorthodox interpretation." the reader of Bakhtin must also hear the suppressed voice of Lollardy -. his words are not there. As Bakhtin suggests. and the twelfth concerns their attack on images ( Hudson19). "hidden dialogicality" differs from "hidden polemic" in that it does not imply an oppositional relationship between the two voices (that of the author and the voice to which the author responds): The second speaker is present invisibly. the other's words are treated antagonistically. This radically changes the semantics of the discourse involved: alongside its referential meaning there appears a second meaning -. . in the R commentary. According to the translator/commentator. but the deep traces left by these words have a determining influence on all the present and visible words of the first speaker .The four issues linked by the R commentator also appear in orthodox condemnations of the Wycliffites such as the "Sixteen Points on which the Bishops accuse Lollards": the Eucharistic controversy is the subject of the first point. uttered word. þey take his menyng vpsodowne and turnyþ it alle in anoþer kynde þan he þouhte. -131In a hidden polemic . ( Dostoevsky 195 -96) In the commentator's "hidden polemic. and this antagonism. despite this refusal to name Wycliffe and his followers.an intentional orientation toward someone else's words. the priesthood. each present. For Bakhtin. 5 The voice of the female readers who originally requested the translation may also be heard. . Such discourse cannot be fundamentally or fully understood if one takes into consideration only its direct referential meaning. The R commentary is addressed directly to them. no less than the very topic being discussed.specifically. the links it draws among the issues of images. . the Wycliffite claim that not only priests are worthy to preach the Scriptures is the seventh. Bakhtin's category of "hidden dialogicality" may prove useful. and Scripture -. An so þey falle in to erroure and euel opynyons and schende hem selfe in folwyng þe feendys counsayle by mys takyng of scripturis. the Eucharist.which the commentator himself may hear in the very text he is translating.is largely determined by previous Wycliffite writings. The closest the R commentator comes to revealing the source of his commentary's structure is an occasional reference to "some personys" who haue mystake þoo wordis of Seint Austyn þer he spekyþ of ymages and of fals goddis. it was these women who originally requested the translation of this potentially dangerous text. and therefore it is they who are in some sense responsible for it. responds and reacts with its every fiber to the . In this case. is what determines the author's discourse. (R 43r) Nevertheless. the structure of this and other sections of the R commentary -. . faintly.
þey schuld anone take counsayle of clerkys and do by here doctrinis" (R 43r).they are occasionally addressed directly ("Ithankyd be almyhti god. The Wycliffite heresy seems to have been especially attractive to late medieval women. The female readers' voices. The reason that he might succeed.the commentator seems to suggest that the women reading his translation should not be tempted to think about it too seriously. thus the very fact that a group of women requested the translation of what the commentator clearly considers a potentially dangerous text may have seemed suspicious to him. For to hem he hap grettest envye and most is abowte to trouble. is that they are "common people" rather than clergy. I haue now performyd ʒour desyre in englysshinge þese meditaciouns and confessiouns of Seint Austyn" [R 53v]) -. are to be disciplined by the voice of the orthodox clergy represented by the commentator. But it is gode for comune pepylle wheche been none clerkys þat þey be wel ware in redynge or heringe of so hyhe materis þat þey emagyn nat ne enserche nat to ferre in hem. my gode sustren. -132McHardy138-42). In the commentator's view. In fact. to the unspoken words of another person. The proper course of action should they be tempted to do so is outlined in a later passage of commentary: "[W]han any creature haþ suche conseytes or dowtys in redynge of scriptures or by ymagynacions or temptacioun. (R 311-v) "Those who give themselves completely to spirituality" is a good description for the nuns or religious women who requested the translation. made suspect by the mere fact that they have requested this translation. whose own voice is here deployed in an attempt to control theirs. ys fulle redi to tempte þeyme þat ʒyuyþ hem alle to spiritualte and to þe loue of god. To use Bakhtin's terminology. giving them opportunities (preaching. for example) closed to orthodox women ( Cross. it would be inappropriate for this audience to add its interpretation to the text as he adds his. it is hihely and wel iseyd. in good vnderstondynge. points to something outside itself. Independent interpretation is presented as a danger: And as towchyng þat Seynt Austyn spekyþ of predestinacy.which again has similarities to that of Wycliffe ( Pelikan32) -. then. In one passage dealing with "St. the commentator's fears for their spiritual safety from heresy cause him not only to hide from them the Wycliffite doctrines he discusses (especially by refusing to name them).the reader actually hears their voices in only the most indirect way. but also to silence the women themselves. ( Dostoevsky 197 ) Although the women who requested that the Soliloquies be translated are not totally invisible in the R commentary -. and suggests one reason why "the enemy" might wish to tempt them with heresy. and thus more subject to his wiles than a priest. beyond its own limits. however. the commentator's discourse here is partly determined by the "deep traces" of these readers' initial request . Augustine"'s theory of predestination -. þe fende.invisible speaker. For þe enemye.
Bakhtin. Text. in his historical researches. Augustine. not to argue with it as he does with the potentially heretical voice of the text itself. and not the most interesting or important one. for example) coexisted. Latin quotations in the R text are always set off in red ink and a more formal hand. participate in this immediacy as well: the religious women who requested it are ultimately responsible for the very existence of this translation and its commentary. the compiler's and the commentator's. but here again. in fact. and English.) The C scribe or his exemplar. not only two voices but literally two authors coexist in the Richardson manuscript's version of the text. demonstrates a flawed knowledge of French in other cases. and this polyglossia is the source of some of the variations between the two manuscripts of the Soliloquies. (This is one reason to believe that R preserves an earlier textual tradition than C. it is not to be found in the organizing intelligence of the author but in the manuscript itself as a point of intersection. In a section of the text derived from the genuine Confessions of St. their voices interpenetrating on the page as they constantly reinterpret each other in the reader's mind. for example -. however. making possible a much more literal polyphony than Bakhtin's theories account for: seeing the single author as a "verbalideological center" is only one possibility in manuscript textuality. despite such correct translations. French. however. consistently translates all such French terms: "gardon" thus becomes "rewarde" (C 34v). that is. The C text. renders this .that an English audience might be expected to understand.for the translation. for instance. apparently unable to make sense of the word poys. which in turn is directed very specifically at them. but rather to repress the attempts to think and speak for themselves that this request represents. Three language systems appear in this text. Also unique to a manuscript culture is the phenomenon of mouvance or variance."gardon" (R 10r). In addition. Beyond the diverse sources of the Latin Soliloquies. on the other hand. commentary. the R text often preserves a term from the French intermediary -. preserving the term poys from the French intermediary as well as translating it. the necessity -133of responding to them itself ensures that these traces remain in the commentary's "hidden dialogue. Bakhtin's theories of heteroglossia can be helpful in understanding its workings. The original readers. the R text refers to the "weyt or poys" of the -134world. because some of them are the result of imperfectly understood traces or remnants of the French intermediary. and reader all share the same manuscript space. If medieval textuality has a center. Nevertheless. reminds us that the Middle Ages in Western Europe was a period of "thoroughgoing polyglossia" ( "Prehistory"61). The C text. a period in which multiple language systems (Latin." These examples represent a type of double-voiced discourse unique to manuscript commentary because of the immediacy with which the various voices interact with one another.
is the point of intersection for a multiplicity of voices and languages. So may we speke to þe fader and to þe sone and to þe holy gost in plury of persones. as the differences between R and C suggest." þat is to seye "ʒe" and "ʒoures. standing ambiguously between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. fylld wip ordure [foylid wi oþir] ʒoure holy temple" (R 2r. And if we believe. . Similarly. also exemplifies the destruction of multilingualism that for Bakhtin typifies the latter period ( "Prehistory"80). The later C text. rather than an author or even a text. C 20r). its inner form. for it is seyde þat it is plurye. the axiologically accentuated system inherent in it" ( "Prehistory"62). and in the commentary's theory of translation. "vous" and "vostre. and Latin thus clearly demonstrate that Bakhtin's theories are more relevant to our topic than even he may have realized. however. that manuscript textuality is variance. Once again. "Faciamus hominem ad ymagine et similitudinem nostram. "languages interanimate each other and objectify precisely that side of one's own (and of the other's) language that pertains to its world view. Bakhtin does not deal directly with the implications of this multilin-135gualism for the nature of manuscript textuality. justifies its own grammar by referring to the French text and to the Latin Bible: I haue wryten in spekyng to god for reuerens "ʒe" and "ʒoures. And so schulde þey nat done. The earlier text finds vocabulary and authority in its quotations from the French intermediary. which thus sacrifices the sense of the sentence as a whole in order to find a comprehensible meaning for each individual word: "They haue . Multingualism or polyglossia is one of the factors that determines the manner in which a text may vary from manuscript to manuscript. owre lorde God or he made man seyde." "Make we man after owre ymage and after oure lykenes." Þere he spacke in plury. . but the French vocabulary has disappeared. . French.phrase as "weyes or pathes": "After þis I askyd þe weyt or poys [wayes or pathes] of þe worlde ʒif it were myn god" (R 38v. (R 53v-54r) As Bakhtin suggests. indeed. þe fader to þe sone." And so I fynde in þe frensche boke þat I wrote after. C 70v). Although Bakhtin in his studies of polyglossia is primarily concerned with the manner in which it animates parody and travesty. then Bakhtin's views on polyglossia accurately describe an essential feature of textuality in a manuscript culture. The grammatical structures justified by the Latin Bible and the French intermediary remain. Also. with Cerquiglini. however. but the kinds of mouvance made possible in the pseudo-Augustinian Soliloquies by the intersection of English. For oure lorde God. the individual manuscript itself. R's "ordure" at one point becomes "othir" in C. takeþ hede principaly to a mannys entente more þan to þe wordis." But some replyhen ʒer aʒenst. þankyd mote he euer be. we can nevertheless find in such nonparodic examples of polyglossia evidence for the "complex and centuries-long struggle of cultures and languages" from which he claims novelistic discourse was born ( "Prehistory"83).
The direct connection is to be found. One source of novelistic heteroglossia in Don Quixote that Bakhtin does not consider. for instance. . or even a source. Given the affinities suggested here between Bakhtinian heteroglossia and medieval manuscript textuality. a tendency toward the polyphonic and polyglot. is its play with a posited manuscript source. in extraordinary depth and breadth. and even of his concern with the problem of copyright in an emerging print culture ( "Discourse in the Novel"413).'" ( Cervantes 76 ) The eighteenth.with commentary. though it is more pervasive: I was impelled by my natural inclination to take up one of the parchment books the lad was selling. though he dismisses this characteristic as a "purely compositional device" ( Discourse in the Novel312). Much of the novel's humor. and it was not difficult to find such an interpreter there. . It is impossible not to find in such novels an echo of the ironic search by Cervantes' narrator for the voice of the authentic manuscript. especially given the enormous popularity of Don Quixote in its many translations into various European . still laughing. in Don Quixote. it may not be too farfetched to inquire whether the intersection of multiple voices in medieval manuscripts might provide a paradigm. which purports to publish authentic manuscripts. he answered: "This is what is written in the margin: 'They say that Dulcinea del Toboso. -136his equally sophisticated parody of manuscript textuality goes unnoticed. conveniently. I asked him to tell me what it was and. it should be noted -. or in the novel claiming to be a previously unpublished autobiographical narrative. I asked him what he was laughing at. For Bakhtin.and nineteenth-century novel is well known for its concern with the representation of manuscript documentation. and saw in it some characters which I recognized as Arabic. all the artistic possibilities of heteroglot and internally dialogized novelistic discourse" ("Discourse in the Novel" 324). for the modern novel. .in manuscript form only. preserved -. Don Quixote"realizes in itself. Bakhtin also suggests that Don Quixote is the source of the "play with a posited author" that characterizes the modern comic novel. however. the primary narrative voice reduced to commentary on them.*** For Bakhtin. is derived precisely from its narrator's supposed search for the authentic voice of the narrative's original author. the novel is defined less as a genre than as a kind of discourse. and looked around to see if there was not some Spanishspeaking Moor about. But though I could recognize them I could not read them. so often mentioned in this history. to read them to me. Although Bakhtin repeatedly takes note of Cervantes' parody of medieval literary discourse. the ancestor of the modern novel and a text to which Bakhtin returned over and over again. as well as its most literal representation of multivoiced discourse. in the epistolary novel. was the best hand at salting pork of any woman in La Mancha. and he answered that it was at something written in the margin of the book by way of a note.
Bakhtin seems to have remained unacquainted with many major medieval texts. .must also be dialogized. that only poorer stuff like the Physician's Tale is monologic. I would like to bring related concepts like the chronotope into discussions of monology and to consider the sometimes conflicting claims of alternative concepts such as heteroglossia and carnival. For those reasons. . First. and Chaucer specifically. Bakhtin consistently focused on texts that excited his interest in heteroglossia and dialogue. -137Part Three Dissenting Voices in Dialogue with Bakhtin -139The Chronotopes of Monology in Chaucer's Clerk's Tale Thomas J. even while he acknowledged that not all texts do so. and his single mention of Chaucer does not indicate either comprehensive knowledge or deep consideration ( "Time and Chronotope"140). might well be thought of as participants in the process rather than accustomed practitioners of it ( "Epic and Novel"38). just as it is impossible not to find in Don Quixote itself a descendant of medieval manuscript textuality. . . but not an inevitable one. Morson and Emerson argue that "the genre-marking chronotope . Perhaps as a consequence. Most extant Bakhtinian work on medieval texts relies on just one of his most familiar terms: either dialogue or carnival. and carnivalization . those concepts might be expected to shed different lights on what they illuminate. 1 That kind of process. such an approach gives Bakhtin a kind of unquestioned authority he might have been hesitant to take. We may well be justified in locating the source of that tendency toward the polyglot. the community of Chaucerians has developed a careless habit of assuming that what is good in Chaucer -what we like -. This is a familiar kind of scholarship. . medieval writers generally. Despite his voluminous reading. which for Bakhtin defines novelistic discourse. moreover. Farrell A medievalist must expect certain problems in applying Bakhtin's prosaics. it privileges the chosen term above other Bakhtinian concepts. He wrote most fully and eloquently about the dialogic texts that he liked. in the very aspect of medieval literature that Bakhtin neglected: the nature of textuality itself in a manuscript culture. To put the issue another way. ones that may not harmonize entirely with the privileged one.languages. can be seen as two extremes of the same continuum" ( 87 ): -141although not in their view unrelated. Using a slightly different pair of terms. In this essay. more subtly. the value of novelistic analysis for a given medieval or Chaucerian text is uncertain. According to his description of the development of novelistic discourse.
it can be shown with equal clarity that the Clerk's Tale. *** Petrarch.deals only with the subject whose praises he sings. or represents. and probably relied more heavily on. did describe the characteristics of monology. which recent evidence again suggests may be very substantially Bakhtinian ( Bocharov1012). Wallace has shown the monologic impetus involved: "The formation of the Petrarchan Academy. Middleton's analysis pinpoints the core of that purpose: "The Griselda story as told by Petrarch becomes in this context an instance of the 'play' proper to the status of the man of letters. of exempting texts from the erosions of time" ( 163 ). "Petrarch's Griselda" 265). Even the number of extant manuscripts indicates how widely Petrarch's version was considered definitive: there are at least 188 manuscripts of the Historia Griseldis spread throughout Europe today. Petrarch wrote his Griselda largely to find such a language. Even in the "disputed" texts. the dialects belonging to variously constructed social classes. and at the same time an instance of the spiritual practice that defines that vocation" ( 133 ). although focused on novelistic language. a sanctioned exercise against the sloth or apathy specific to that vocation and estate. the narrative voice confronts and incorporates several distinctively different forms of language: the distinctive idioms of individuals. and the difference calls forth from Petrarch the "alio stilo" in which he wrote ( Wallace190-93). Such a purpose is outlined in the prefatory "Librum tuum" section of Petrarch's version and in his later discussion of its reception in Seniles XVII. and the generic markers for various literary forms. The main thing is the object of study and its specific organization" ( Bakhtin and Medvedev77). and not the unity of a normative shared language. . even though he also used.4. . more than four times the number of any other version ( Morse. In novelistic discourse. to removeBoccaccio's story from the polyglossia of the vernacular. And to a large extent he succeeded: Chaucer refers to -142Griselda's story as Petrarch's. a French translation of Petrarch ( Severs217). lacking the characteristic markings of heteroglossia. tragic or lyric -. that is the ground of [heteroglossic] style" ( .suspicious of a single system of Bakhtinian analysis. comments extensively on his reasons for translating Boccaccio's Italian tale into Latin. the named source for the Clerk's Tale. there is a persistent avoidance of simple methodological applications. Bakhtin. or expresses. represents an attempt at selfclassicizing. Leaving aside the Envoy until the end of my argument. is also basically monologic in conception. . to fix it in an official and authoritative form by writing in Latin. it seems clear that Petrarch designed the Historia Griseldis as a monologic work: "One who creates a direct word -whether epic. then. also serves Bakhtin's own concerns better ( Morson and Emerson27-32). and by his definitions. "Method must be adapted to the distinctive features of the object being studied. objectivized meaning" ( "Prehistory"61). This purpose contrasts sharply with that of Petrarch's source in the Decameron. "It is precisely the diversity of speech. and he does so in his own language that is perceived as the sole and fully adequate tool for realizing the word's direct.
Nominalism may be thematically relevant to the Clerk's Tale. my willynge Is as ye wole. or that. Al youre pleasance ferme and stable I holde. . character zones and lastly various introductory or framing genres are the basic forms for incorporating and organizing heteroglossia in the novel" (323). but the narrative does not deploy a nominalist vocabulary or style at any point. Here are two speeches. The characters do not have distinctive manners of speech. a story 'not from the author' (but from a narrator. emphasizes the disparity between them in material and social terms. however. There have been persistent if sporadic attempts to read the tale as a revelation of the Clerk's personality. Lord. for the moment rich. (319-21) And certes. And the distinctive rhetorical gestures that mark characters and character zones in novelistic discourse are strikingly absent between individual characters. would we be so eager to call "hende Nicholas" in the Miller's Tale a nominalist? The same -. antedate late medieval philosophy by (perhaps) centuries. posited author or character). most often in terms of a nominalist theology he is assumed to have imbibed at Oxford ( Stepsis. analyzing details that Chaucer did not invent. (659-63) Janicula is old. preternaturally patient. probably because that language. Instead. invariably poor. Grisilde is young. in effect to eradicate any distinctive inflections in her own speech. -143But now I woot youre lust.slim -evidence justifies both connections. . and what ye wolde. even though Chaucer. However. ne ayeynes youre likynge I wol no thyng. that kind of diversity simply does not exist. those arguments consistently focus on plot. if I hadde prescience Youre wyl to knowe. . Steinmetz). one by Janicula. Without the contextual clues provided by the second passage. character speech. . The tale's overwhelmingly unitary language is not dialogized. The association with nominalism is based on little more than the Clerk's placement at Oxford. female. distinguished by simplicity and clarity. ye be my lord so deere. In the Clerk's Tale. that Petrarch certainly did not intend as embodiments of nominalist thought. consistently self-controlled. Bakhtin describes in detail the centrifugal forces of language that heteroglossia seeks to incorporate: "A comic playing with languages. in the folkloric origins of the story. Grisilde's strength comes partly from her ability to mimic Walter's language. But their speech patterns are interchangeable. as Engle has argued (450-54). and in this context quite intimidated. the other by Grisilde. like other tellers of the tale."Discourse"308). male. None considers how Chaucer could have shaped the narrator's language to reflect an interest in nominalism if that were an essential part of his purpose. a bit quarrelsome in character. bears none of the marks of scholastic disputation. it would not be possible to distinguish the speakers. I wolde it doon withouten necligence. There is no sense of class dialects in either Walter or Grisilde. er ye youre lust me tolde.
let me pose the crucial dialogic test. there are distinctive character zones for Chauntecleer and Pertelote in the Nun's Priest's Tale. Bakhtin has gone out of his way to specify that.but the Clerk's Tale is strikingly unlike them. To my knowledge no one has argued more than that the Clerk's Tale occasionally criticizes itself. We might again think of other Canterbury tales that do construct a distinctive speech and a separate narrator -. works differently from those poems. This criterion is both the cause and the result of the multiplicity of voices in a text. Although the tale's complexities are genuine. It is not. 4. whose absence in the Clerk's Tale means not the lack of complexity but a particular and singular organization to that complexity (285-88). there are narrators with "a particular . 2 Its lack of distinctive voices eliminates most of the ways heteroglossia could be incorporated. on the other hand. "[c]ontradictions. point of view on the world and its events" ( "Discourse"312) in virtually all of the earlier poems and in the Canterbury frame. in thoughts. in the subject matter -. Bakhtin teaches us to begin with the search for stylistic variety. To a degree." novelistic discourse crosses one dialect with another to show the limitedness of each. although we may discern the dialogism in the text -the way in which linguistic dialogism appears in it -. conflicts and doubts remain in the object. in living experiences -. critics have sometimes imputed to it a number of styles. in poetic language. for a sentimentally sympathetic response of the kind that Petrarch approves in Seniles XVII. the axiom that "[n]ovelistic discourse is always criticizing itself" ( "Prehistory"49). Because a novelist denies that any single voice or dialect can be "fully adequate. McClellan argues that a "Petrarchan voice" comments on the tale but cites only a single stanza in which that voice can be heard (483). Knapp concentrates on the strain against an allegorical reading created by two occurrences of the word "things" and Chaucer's attention to Griselda's old dress ( 134 -35). complexity is inherent in the Griselda story. like several other Canterbury narratives.the Wife and the Pardoner are the obvious examples -.but they do not enter the language itself. the conflicts within the tale are not generated heteroglossically and they do not dialogize the text. There is language play in the dialects of the Reeve's Tale. . But this is backwards analysis. tries to make the single language of the poem speak adequately on its own terms. It also invites (somewhat problematically. confusing complexity with heteroglossia.in short. neither of those critics is talking about a thoroughly dialogized text. Rather consistently. As a result. Its plot allows. on the one hand. as Knapp demonstrates) an allegorical . Perceiving a variety of conflicting ideas in the tale. The monologist or poet. their arguments focus on moments of contradiction and complexity in the tale as if complexity were itself a sign of heteroglossia. -144As a summary. In poetry.This may be the right place to reemphasize that Chaucer can incorporate heteroglossia in most of the various ways mentioned by Bakhtin: he does so in other texts. But the Clerk's Tale. even discourse about doubts must be cast in a discourse that cannot be doubted" ( "Discourse"286).we are likely to mislead ourselves if we do not also attend to its monologic literary structure. . Despite their invocations of Bakhtin then (and again let me state that those invocations may be justified in other terms).
The literary dialogue being conducted in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries may be apparent to us. Indeed. Christine. *** Most of the extant dialogic readings of the tale start from a sense that different generic paradigms are at odds in it. whose purpose is to construct a defense of women. -145Most of the versions of the story written in the thirty-five years after Petrarch's translation in 1373 -. and the Clerk's Tale is probably the most complex narrative. Instead of incorporating an argument with Petrarch's reference to Griselda's "virilis senilisque animus" and her "virtutem eximiam supra sexum supraque etatem" ( Severs260: "her mature. Neither she nor her virtue is criticized by a tale that does not hesitate to criticize other characters and mores. When many generic signals are present. how the complexity of the tale is organized. a play. . it is a polemic in support of a specifically feminine definition of virtue. for one of these chronotopes to envelope or dominate the others" ( "Time . Although Petrarch suggests that Griselda's behavior is surprising in a woman. we must step outside of both the tale and Chaucer's intentions. "it is common . Walter is unreasonable and inhuman and his test is excessive and "inportable" (1144): the Clerk -. we need to consider the internal generic development of the tale. and Chaucer's highly sophisticated verse -. one advantage of bringing a more broadly based Bakhtinian analysis to this tale is that it allows us a -146far more flexible and responsive approach to questions of genre that have proved persistently troublesome. manly spirit" and "virtue excellent beyond her age and gender").unlike earlier narrators -.tells us so in no uncertain terms ( Severs232-33). Bakhtinian analysis reveals nothing to contradict the conclusion that Grisilde exemplifies a virtue Chaucer wished to explore. 3 Chaucer's Grisilde may be the most complex figure in the group. as of the other versions. . To understand how her virtue is presented. "Exemplary Griselda"). Her text is not dialogized. no one in Christine de Pizan's version voices such a claim. as Hansen has recently done.contain the same plot elements. Quite the contrary: the ideology of most of those works is easily discerned. But Grisilde remains the hero of Chaucer's verse. as indeed we may wish or in some contexts need to. To question that virtue. despite the lack of any overt generic shift in the Clerk's Tale and Bakhtin's argument that genres "usually preserve within the novel their own structural integrity and independence" ( "Discourse"321). but each is clearly and distinctively shaped by its author's intent. Bakhtin recognizes that the presence of various generic signals does not by itself dialogize a text. however. and every word in it is intended as a direct word. omits any suggestion of feminine weakness.including a book of advice to wives. but its participants did not construct dialogized texts.reading and (with less difficulty) an exemplary development ( Morse. a defense of the female sex.
Salter wrote that "Chaucer does not seem to recognize the problem he sets himself and his readers by attempting to juxtapose. A quick summary will show what fits and what does not. because Bakhtin was specifically concerned with the enumeration of novelistic chronotopes. More recently. Knapp argues that the genres of allegory and irony contradict one another in the tale.originally based on genre -. rather than relate. Bakhtin argues that "it is precisely the chronotope that defines genre and generic distinctions" ( "Time and Chronotope"85)." and its evocation of the "symbolic world or anagogic figura" ( 199 ). But those categories do not adequately describe the generic setting of the Clerk's Tale. and we have. • The chronotope of fate or chance in adventure time from the "novel of ordeal": characters. which bifurcates space into the categories of "on the road" -the known -.in various forms of the picaresque. she argues that the tale reveals the Clerk's self-doubts. remain unchanged by the amazing experiences that befall them. in which characters do not change and space is largely abstract ( 88 . For reasons outlined above.has quickly moved away from generic analysis to arrive at a solution. "deprived of any initiative" ( 105 ).The chronotopes that Bakhtin describes mirror the profusion of genres discerned by dissatisfied critics. usually young people of marriageable age. except that she is never as passive. as I have demonstrated. as this genre's typical hero. including dialogic readings. but more to the present point is the way that Knapp's reading -. As a result.the unknown -. In a somewhat magisterial study of the Clerk's Tale published more than twenty years ago.and Chronotope"252).102 ).and "off the road" -. Utley's sense that different generic gestures are at odds with one another both sums up previous commentary and anticipates later. About thirty years ago. Utley perceives conflicts between its roots in folklore and fairy tale. meaning realistic and quasi-allegorical perspectives. • The chronotope of transformation from the "adventure novel of everyday life": the . which always looms as a metaphor for the journey of life ( 120 ). But Bakhtin also analyzes time and space separately. I am disinclined to read the tale in a way so strongly influenced by dramatic theories of the Canterbury Tales. It further organizes time in the ineluctably linear pattern of the journey along the road. The chronotope is Bakhtin's primary tool for the analysis of genre: it may briefly be defined as an image that captures the intersection of the spatial relations and temporal flow typical of any given literary form. both perspectives on the narrative" ( 62 ). Nor should we expect them to. Much of the Griselda story resembles such an adventure. the gestures it makes in the manner of the novella toward the "real world. Thus the chronotope is a pivotal generic marker. constructing a dialogic in which full validity is denied to any single reading of it ( 139 -40). his point usefully corrects a tendency to blame the Clerk's Tale for containing hints of multiple genres. citing the extremely common chronotope of the road. Grisilde's initiative lends this story its interest. distinguishing (for example) temporal sequences in which characters may change in fundamental ways ("biographical time") and spaces filled with accurate local detail from those modes more characteristic of -147Romance. no a priori reason to expect the Clerk's Tale to be novelistic.
.6 ) . one's own home . and both the anonymous French translation and Chaucer follow his lead. Bakhtin notes the prominence in this genre of "askesis. beginning with Harry Bailly's charge to tell a tale: "Sire Clerk of Oxenford. But Salomon seith 'every thyng hath tyme. The Clerk's Tale functions as an exemplary narrative of Grisilde's patience or "sadnesse. which outside its energy simply does not exist" ( 140 -41). they cannot dissolve the generic uncertainty that has surrounded it.has such a connection to far-away Salucia. Because none of Bakhtin's novelistic chronotopes can describe the Clerk's Tale adequately. 4 One more example of the way Bakhtin's novelistic chronotopes are relevant but not explanatory deserves fuller treatment. Petrarch points out the political instability inherent in the handing down of power from fathers to children and grandchildren. words. Chaucer has left clear signals for this search. Grisilde fits the pattern in that her "acts. we must augment Bakhtin's terminology by discovering the more poetic chronotopes and forms of time that structure it. The energeia of heroes in classical "biographical novels" of the Aristotelian or energetic type ( 140 ): these characters develop or grow less than they manifest what is essential in them from the beginning. but Walter's carelessness of the future imperils the idyll. To understand its generic characteristics. are not merely external manifestations . largely what Bakhtin calls the "cyclic rhythmicalness of time so characteristic of the idyll" ( 225 ). and again she is not passive. . Grisilde's change is less spectacular and mostly metaphorical. What is left of the idyllic chronotope. . . but Grisilde hardly needs purification. where the fathers and grandfathers lived and where one's children and their children will live" ( 225 ). In the Prohemye -148and later. . But no one involved in this tale -. characterized by the "immanent unity of folkloric time: an organic fastening-down. of some internal essence . ." oure Hooste sayde. but separated (like Lucius in Bakhtin's touchstone text. Apuleius's Golden Ass) by a process of metamorphosis ( 111 ). . sittynge at the bord. I trowe ye studle aboute som sophyme. . has other functions that I will explore in a moment. the central character's energeia is redirected by a metamorphosing conversion experience. This day ne herde I of youre tonge a word. . The Griselda story contains idyllic overtones. The Clerk's Tale certainly emphasizes suffering. a grafting of life and its events to a place. "Ye ryde as coy and stille as dooth a mayde Were newe spoused.• hero lives amid normal human life. which Chaucer has developed and emphasized more than either of his sources. to a familiar territory .'" ( 1 . and other expressions ." That virtue is both what Grisilde is and what Walter seeks to understand with his bizarre and cruel experiment. or purification through suffering" ( 116 ).the Clerk and his audience nor Chaucer and his audience (including us) -. [but] themselves constitute the character's being. In early Christian hagiography. we can recognize gestures toward the chronotope of the idyll. .
which signals renewal through regeneration of the cycles. There are separate moments for weeping. and especially to remain true to one's promise: "Si quid vovisti Deo. 3:1-8). that will be done. . Just as he accepts but extends Harry's proscription of "heigh style. mourning. poor again. that is. speak. None of these times will be permanent. The characteristics of this chronotope can be inferred from the -149Host's biblical referent: "Ecclesiastes time" implies temporal alternation in a fundamentally abstract space. et lacrymas innocentium et neminem consolatorem" [all the oppressions that take place under the sun: the tears of the victims with none to comfort them] ( 4:1). delay not its fulfillment. laughing. not mixed with one another. The chronotope of marriage. but there is little sense that sorrow can be eliminated by changing or eliminating the local causes. that will be. . die. seasonal change as part of his strategy for developing his plot. and the fact that one emotion may be succeeded by a contradictory one does not invalidate the first. loving.Walter's people are accustomed to petition for changes. There are distinct times to give birth. . "As ofte as tyme is of necessitee" ( 94 ) -. remain silent.the only meaningful -. plant.response to "calumnias quae sub sole geruntur. and a time for her to stop work and keep watch for the new marquess. and a time to plan for the future by marrying. reap." the Clerk absorbs this comment and incorporates a theme of repetitive. hating ( Eccles. It speaks of a time for Walter to amuse himself by hunting in the present. You had better not make a vow than make it and not fulfill it] ( 5:3-4). In such a time and space there is little concern with specific or local injustices: typically the pervasive and universal quality of human woe is regarded as more important than its personal or social agents. . Chaucer exaggerates the several swings of his inherited narrative pendulum to create the chronotope of (for lack of a better term) "Ecclesiastes time" in the tale he assigns to the Clerk. not confused. what has been done. dancing. The actions are stated as binary opposites. Nothing is new under the sun] ( 1:9-10). "Quid est quod fuit? ipsum quod futurum est. ne moreris reddere. quam post votum promissa non reddere" [When you make a vow to God.when it is time. kill. heal. the Clerk's Tale becomes a more comprehensible assembly of generic gestures. then rich. the attitudes are pure. Times alternate: Grisilde will be poor. and the Clerk's Tale begins and ends by renewing its generations with plans for weddings. has a particular importance in Ecclesiastes time.Speculation about how the philosophical term sophyme may illuminate the Clerk's studies in logic has blocked attention to the incontestible citation of Ecclesiastes 3:1 ("Omnia tempus habent" in the Vulgate) that establishes the tale's interest in "tyme" and one important element in its chronotope ( Ganim. to be concerned for their welfare -. Therefore Ecclesiastes time defines virtuous patience as the most appropriate -. then rich a second time. . The causes of misery may be apparent. a subdivided succession of moments meted out to distinct human actions and attitudes. Nihil sub sole novum" [What has been. There is a time for Grisilde to work. "Carnival Voices"117). Multoque melius est non vovere. . Quid est quod factum est? ipsum quod faciendum est. . When considered as a fable of life lived in Ecclesiastes time. To recognize the vanity of the changes in earthly life is to develop the ability to withstand the vicissitudes those changes bring.
Grisilde is never their target. and confident of the perfect justice of her position. even when we -.cannot countenance it. These accurate but certainly incompatible statements summarize effectively the difficulty scholarship has had in coming to terms with Grisilde's character.unbearable. That is why she is never criticized by the narrator.-150These are the simple examples. Grisilde lives in complete harmony with the chronotope of her tale. But at times she is given the opportunity to speak. has the courage to take a point of view and express it before she knows what her husband thinks of the matter" ( 237 ).do not consider wholly virtuous. et in loco justitiae iniquitatem" [in the judgement place I saw wickedness. "Chaucer's purpose obviously is to heighten Griseldis' humble obedience to the will of her lord and husband" ( 235 ). There is a time for her to give birth and rejoice. Consequently Walter's monstrosity does not shake Grisilde in the way we expect that it should. and she does so. a time to mourn the (supposed) deaths of her children. The "sharpe scourges of adversitee" (1157) engender in her only a determination to wait for providence to compensate or balance the alternating times of her life. she believes or understands that her vow binds her to remain silent. According to Severs. in Sledd's definitive word. Believing in the vanity of earthly things. despite his recognition that she is not especially realistic outside the bounds of his tale and his assertion inside it that marital behavior like hers is simply "inportable" (1144) -. . however. Most often. He is forced to admit. Such readers are often encouraged by the Clerk's description of Grisilde's action as "inportable." But it is the application of his exemplum to wives that the Clerk so labels. iniquity] ( 3:16) and promises that "[j]ustum et impium judicabit Deus" [both the just and the wicked God will judge] ( 3:17). But Grisilde acts as one in tune with Ecclesiastes time just as clearly during the tale's crucial moments." 5 But the combination of greater meekness and greater assertiveness becomes possible and. Although there are moments of genuine irony in the tale. in fact nearly all. Most. he goes on to reinforce its application to "every wight" (1145) and thus reinforces his validation of the virtue we find. 6 Walter is clearly faulted for his inability to move on to the demands of a new moment: when he fails to think about marriage after coming to a marrying age and when he continues to test a virtue already sufficiently proven. when we understand Grisilde to be living in Ecclesiastes time. Grisilde accepts their comings and awaits patiently their goings. monstrous. even praiseworthy. and she expresses herself pointedly when she has the chance. evincing a greater strength of character. especially following in Severs's footsteps by thinking of the tale as somehow "realistic. Ecclesiastes warns that "[v]idi sub sole in loco judicii impietatem. at least in Chaucer's eyes. But most of our resistance to the tale can be traced to the fact that the chronotope evoked -151and defined by Ecclesiastes remains intrinsically difficult to accept.we -. that at other times "Chaucer's heroine. readers are disturbed by the tale because it exemplifies a virtue they -. That determination is her virtue. and in the seat of justice.and I include myself with those not ready to label our material existence a vanity -.
the first of which signifies not only itself but also the second. by reunion with that spouse. Figural time is the inter-152section of ordinary human experience with the transcendent.That the Clerk felt the need to reinforce his sense of Grisilde's virtue seems to me a hint that some medieval readers might have shared our response. but even that reaction did not." Auerbach describes the emergence of figural reading in terms that are strikingly chronotopic. In biblical exegesis. the divine plan supplies that transcendent referent. and the images that define the figural chronotope are therefore the images that direct our attention away from the immediacy of the story and its impact on us. for some reason. Ecclesiastes raises the problem of evil. which will serve admirably as an example of the chronotopic function of figural time. while the second encompasses or fulfills the first" ("Figura" 53). as their delight in accentuating the pitiful plight of the boy by careful extrapolation of his character in the mystery cycles attests. Grisilde's end just does not look like a reward to most of us. As Minnis notes. but outside time. "The Sapiential Books were . and if its medieval context has any significance. we must not rationalize our response into an ironization or rejection of the tale and its hero. . "all history . what is still concealed exists now. lead them to reject the tale. A life of wretched poverty. . The Clerk's Tale is as good an example as we are likely to find of the alterity of medieval texts. We must instead try to understand why the tale fails to develop what we most desire to find: a human value in Grisilde's steadfast endurance. Augustine's practice of figural reading was one response to such problems. In his groundbreaking study of the concept of "figura. but its response was not necessarily more definitive in the Middle Ages than it is today. . Perhaps we need to remember that our frustrated discomfort is not exclusively a modern response to the stoicism praised by Ecclesiastes. even though he did not know Bakhtin's roughly contemporary and complementary work. succeeded by marriage to one of the larger lumps of excrement on the planet and crowned by his decision to cast her off like an old garment that no longer fits is not redeemed. The significance of actions happening in figural time cannot be clear to those who participate in the action. Authors in the Middle Ages seem to have recognized the (at least) potential monstrosity in the sacrifice Abraham is willing to make. points to something still concealed" ( 58 ). Thus. figural time connects "two events or persons. But the virtue of Abraham's faith was not taken as wrong or ironically undercut . we feel. and their human situation is not the best final measure of their actions. . believed to possess a limited degree of auctoritas" in later medieval commentaries ( Medieval Theory116). But Scripture itself may give transcendent significance to literal texts like the Griselda. In either mode. the most detailed figural reading in De Doctrina Christiana was generated from the familiar interpretive difficulties generated by another sapiential book. Like the Book of Job (also invoked by the Clerk's Tale). the Song of Songs. as Auerbach notes. According to Auerbach. Auerbach's other writings bring forward a particularly prominent tale from the Old Testament with a very well known figural significance: Abraham and Isaac ( Mimesis723).
Distinct moments in the tale's narration are linked in a way analogous to the one by which Old and New Testament stories were thought to be. The tale embodies the idea of figural time in other ways as well. the Christ. Her children are not. The relevance to the Clerk's Tale is obvious ( Kellogg301).and some of the most important images in the tale suggest its connection with other stories and identify Grisilde's actions as not merely good enough in a world that offers no wholly good choices. place in which Grisilde and Walter live is as capable of redemption as that of . in fact. All of these images encourage us to evaluate Grisilde's reactions in terms separate from her life with Walter. would present a narrative in which the corruption of secular power is outweighed and eventually overwhelmed by conception of heavenly justice. her placement at the well recalls Rebecca and Rachel. the chronotope is that of fulfilled prophecy. gives that image an unexpected depth. a wedding feast is barely hinted at. Grisilde demonstrates virtue in a monstrous situation. sacrificed to her sense of "sadnesse" -. These are the terms that organize and define the presuppositions of the Clerk's Tale.by the extreme circumstances of its demonstration. Perhaps like us not wholly content with that experience of the tale.the Clerk makes unmistakably clear from the first moment of Walter's tests that we must not imagine that they will be -. But there is no supernatural compensation for the tortures suffered by Griselde. by its association with New Testament parables about the kingdom of heaven. but it cannot reward her commensurately. Lindahl makes a similar point: "It might be expected that the Clerk. the virtue is confirmed by the fact that (1) Isaac is not in fact sacrificed and (2) the incident is read as a figure of God's sacrifice of his son.the extremes of sentiments and attitudes expressed. the biblical imagery. but positively virtuous because linked with salvation history. Instead. Most of them existed in the sources but have been developed or exaggerated by Chaucer -. The early description of her spinning associates her with contemporary images of Mary." This chronotope demands the virtue that Grisilde embodies. but her virtue is not for Chaucer monstrous. the marquis calling to her at the threshold imitates the iconography of Gabriel calling Mary at the Annunciation ( Utley220-23). the description of Griselda -"as a lamb she sitteth meke and stille" (538) -. . Walter's repeated "This is ynogh" (365. but the great banquet at the tale's conclusion underscores the importance of the marriage chronotope and further. the repetitious or cyclical patterns. Chaucer has made Petrarch's story distinctively his own first by placing it in a chronotope of cyclic but essentially unredeemed "Ecclesiastes Time. When the sergeant removes her daughter. . like the other religious professionals. and the repeated association of her with the "oxes stalle" invokes the Nativity. .characteristically shifts the reference to the Lamb of God from the child to the mother. Grisilde's eagerness in Part 2 to see the marquis's new bride who will turn out to be herself prefigures the same action in Part 6. no supernatural punishment for her torturer" ( 150 ). and the -153references to Job come at moments when Walter's actions strain our sympathy the most. 1051) demarcates Grisilde's promise and her performance. Chaucer modifies it repeatedly to suggest that the time and. When Grisilde is married.
and he is surely right. paradoxically. redemption hovers between the promise and the fulfillment. The Envoy is an excellent example of what Bakhtin calls "a certain latitude for heteroglossia ." Although we are justified -154in considering the Clerk's Tale without reference to the Envoy. as the Clerk is sometimes naïvely thought to do? Alternatively. As a result. "Carnival Voices" 122 -23). . *** Utley identifies an additional tension between the Clerk's Tale as discrete unit (an "exemplum of patience. by the way. the Envoy remains part of the Clerk's "performance" and thus poses significant questions ( Farrell332). its intent is. but a limitation to its sphere of influence: "Grisilde is deed" (1177). it does not reveal new or unexpected meaning for him. in the 'low' poetic genres -.the biblical characters to whom he makes comparison. the Envoy is seen as a deauthorization of the tale: perhaps not a retraction. if the Envoy parodies the language of the Wife of Bath. a tension generated largely by the "Envoy de Chaucer. . how a carnivalesque reading of the Envoy necessarily understands the language of the tale to be absolute. how is the language of the Clerk's Tale affected? Something highly unusual has happened to carnival when a clerical speaker usurps the authority of a lay woman! We expect carnival to turn the official world upside down. and cosmic") and its contextual role as a "scene in the Canterbury drama" ( 199 ).in the satiric and comic genres and others. Most often. to make an augmented claim for the Clerk's own voice. and the sudden appearance of heteroglossia raises issues relevant to the entire collection: what kind of heteroglossia is this. both in Fragment IV and in the whole collection? Ganim has argued that the Envoy must be understood as a kind of carnival. Is it possible to carnivalize one's own speech. and thereby reminds it of the existence of other languages. But the Clerk's miming of the Wife of Bath raises some tricky questions in the analysis of the carnivalesque. and how is it organized. The Envoy contextualizes the Clerk's Tale. relates it back to the Canterbury pilgrimage.) By such a standard the Clerk's language is reduced to a status more or less equal to that of the other pilgrims because it is revealed as unable to account for the different understanding of the world that the Envoy's different language implies (compare Ganim. Unless we accept it as a literal manifesto for camel-strong wives." . (Notice. The Envoy configures itself as a carnivalized usurpation of the authority that the Wife of Bath has established for herself and her doctrine. human. but the Clerk's parody -. the language of the Envoy asserts that the Clerk's perspective is ultimately immune to the Wife's claims against or over it: although he can play with the Wife's language. monologic. The Clerk's voice changes obviously in the Envoy. wifely.and the language with which he introduces the wife "and al hire secte" (1171) -seeks to establish Alice as the authoritative figure. Grisilde herself is made a figure of both Mary and Jesus. and to the extent that the Envoy is carnival.
but its tales -. approach heteroglossia from below" (400)." he claims. or at least nothing that he finds persuasive. then. and as such it reinforces the message of the tale. I would suggest that (with some important exceptions) much the same thing is true about heteroglossia in the Canterbury Tales as a whole. has shaped "the most important novel-types" and the "everyday satiric novel" because its tendency is to "incorporate dialogized heteroglossia directly into their composition. The Clerk maintains the immunity of his language to the Wife's. Adopting another language does not alter his view of the world. but rather in the capacity of a depicted thing" ( "Discourse"287). The Canterbury Tales may incorporate heteroglossia more fully than the First Stylistic Line as Bakhtin describes it. which he calls the First and Second Stylistic Lines. . The Envoy is parodic. it is characterized by a "sharp and relentless stylization of all its material. and those in which heteroglossia is represented. in which those voices are dialogized in a common space more reflective of the realities of social heteroglossia. . Falling somewhere between Bakhtin's two major categories. including "the medieval novel" ( "Discourse"372). Novels of the Second Line. it is as if they descend onto it. consistency of style" (372) that is the result of "the variety of (relatively) independent structural units and genres that go into such novels" (373). in which different voices are recognized and allotted separate spaces in which to speak. Even when ventriloquizing the Wife's voice. voices like the Wife's. but not the kind of heteroglossia a programmed application of Bakhtinian concepts is likely to calculate. To a certain degree. "See.are not integrated or dialogized to the extent of works in the Second. . about which one can say things not expressible in one's own language. on the contrary. the Canterbury Tales still resembles the First Stylistic Line in important ways: "Novels of the First Stylistic Line approach heteroglossia from above.its voices -. the Clerk finds nothing new to say. as a great many critics have noticed. "I can talk this way too. This not-entirely-clear image nevertheless reinforces the distinction between works -156in which heteroglossia is incorporated. . . "[e]lements of heteroglossia enter . The First Line is cited as the tradition of "higher" novelistic forms up to the eighteenth century. The Envoy instructs us about the limits which obtain. not in the capacity of another language carrying -155its own particular point of view. the Canterbury Tales also .In the Envoy as in those forms. Such a claim can be supported in terms of Bakhtin's description of the coexistence of two kinds of novels. . . on the other hand. but he refuses to allow that heteroglossia to become dialogized heteroglossia. ." So the Envoy is heteroglossia. Their voices can at most occupy adjacent spaces. more than once in a while. but it doesn't really change what I have to say. . He acknowledges that other voices. a heteroglossia of the sort that characterizes the lower genres and everyday speech" (372). The Second Line. . exist. to the dialogic relations between the various tales. [and] purely monologic .
As much Bakhtinian criticism notes. because of their monologic power. but it is far from clear that. Bakhtin was powerfully attracted to the idealized folk culture that he set against the feudal and ecclesiastical "official culture" of medieval Europe. like the Clerk's Tale. the tales maintain a high degree of independent existence. for example. some because of Chaucer's innovations in (among other things) the use of novelistic discourse. But even when such resistance is our goal. it also means the defeat of power. None of the tales is radically decentered by the existence of the others. "When Carnival"105-7). it celebrates temporary displacement of the official culture without effecting meaningful or permanent social change ( Bernstein. over the sacred.participate in "Ecclesiastes Time": there is an ear for every pilgrim's language. Bakhtin describes the dialogized heteroglossia of the Second Line forms as "consciously opposed" to "the accepted literary language (in all its various generic expressions). of earthly kings. But carnival is a politically slippery concept. It was parodic. the Wife's protest escapes the patriarchy she resists." according to Bakhtin. The contrast of one part to another creates space for the carnivalesque and parodic in works structured along the First Stylistic Line. of the earthly upper classes. as in the Envoy. As the way we read and write about them should remind us. The Clerk may not be wholly a part of official culture. "Chaucer is no revolutionary" ( Patterson. we can achieve it better by recognizing monologic language for what it is than by assuming that it must incorporate the objections we would make to it. Writing the core of his work on Rabelais in the 1930s and 1940s under the physical and intellectual privations of Stalinism. -157Popular-Festive Forms and Beliefs in Robert Mannyng's Handlyng Synne Nancy Mason Bradbury "Festive folk laughter. A similar refrain is familiar in criticism on the Canterbury Tales. . For better or worse. Once again. but no one takes his rule very seriously. . "presents an element of victory not only over supernatural awe. because none is fully dialogized with the others. . and aimed sharply and polemically against the official languages of its given time" ( Discourse273). others. Chaucer's "turne over the leef" is a joke. the undialogized heteroglossia of the First Line looks more like the Canterbury Tales than any more fully novelistic model. Chaucer25). But those moments remain largely distinct. but one with an element of truth. a time for every pilgrim's purpose. Harry Bailly proclaims himself ruler. . Dissenting voices are raised. over death. Bakhtin is important in part because his analytical tools often support one of our current theoretical concerns: resisting the hypnotic effects of texts. and casting them in a dialogized light is a helpful manner of unspelling. Monologic texts often make the best mesmerists. but he is also not such a determined opponent. of all that oppresses and restricts" ( Rabelais and His World 92).
Far from representing premodern "folkloric" or "people's" traditions as the exclusive property of the unlearned or the lower classes. the other as recreational ( 28 ). "learned and lewed" or "gentil and churl. goliardic songs -explaining that. "popular" culture. His examples. despite great . Burke argues. if not his terminology. although "not folklore proper. the medieval clerics who wrote drunkards' masses and gamblers' litanies in Latin were clearly not "of the folk." if we take the term to mean peasants or illiterates. Bakhtin regarded them as familiar and meaningful to welleducated clerics and gentlemen. 244-86). the spread of literacy.official and unofficial -. metaphorically.13 ). who argues that "upper-class participation in popular culture" was "an important fact of European life" prior to the broad social changes begun in the early modern period. parodic grammars. the other local and open to all. such as. and a new desire for increased privacy on the part of the upper classes ( Popular Culture 24-25. such a cleric would have encountered the popular songs. At the same time. whereas the educated elite participated in two cultures. the cleric's contact with popular culture would be ongoing. one of which they regarded as serious. a clerical parodist." When Bakhtin cites medieval sources for "the people's laughter." these learned texts were "infused with the carnival spirit and made wide use of carnival forms and images" ( 12 . not two separate sectors of the populace." or. vernacular. Before these changes. it is not always clear how we are meant to align it with the dichotomies medieval writers used in describing their own culture.Although Bakhtin's opposition between "folk" and "official. including Rabelais and his readers.were transmitted by two distinct groups of people. Bakhtin's implicit model for the two cultures of medieval society has been articulated in detail by the historian Peter Burke. make clear that the opposition between "unofficial" (folk) and "official" contrasts two stances or spirits. Thus it seems to me a mistake to argue that Bakhtin oversimplified the historical situation by -158assuming that these two cultures -. and other manifestations that Bakhtin saw as combining with the "manifold literature of parody" to make up "one culture of folk carnival humor" ( 4 ). comic tales. including the advent of printing. Thus the large majority of people participated only in a local. 1 As Bakhtin acknowledged. from his early involvement in a family and a local community. is now frequently evoked. feasts and festivals. and an agricultural worker riotously celebrating the vendange can all participate in Bakhtin's carnival. one international and requiring specialized formal training." he frequently refers to Latin clerical texts -mock liturgies. Carnival and Lent. A parodist would be unlikely to have composed a drunkards' or gluttons' mass in Latin without having first participated fully in the official culture by learning the language of scholarship and officiating at serious masses. medieval European societies sustained two main cultural traditions. in medieval England. If he were involved in pastoral care. Indeed the whole project of Rabelais and His World rests on the idea that contemporary reception of Rabelais's work was profoundly affected by the author's and the audience's shared knowledge of still-thriving folkloric traditions inherited from the Middle Ages ( 61 ). Such a model explains how an aristocrat in a devil's mask.
social and educational disparities. Thus my essay has two aims: recommending Gurevich's work as an important corrective to certain method-159ological problems in Rabelais and His World and proposing this hybrid methodology as a means of entry into a late medieval clerical text worthy of more critical attention than it has yet received. whose practitioners so carefully combed archives and documents to find evidence of a premodern world view mediated as little as possible by the clerical guardians of written culture. and rhymes. a comparatively late event. is of no importance in this case" ( Rabelais245). he gives little attention to the origins and the authenticity of the popularfestive forms and beliefs themselves. apparently regarding these as more or less synonymous to the popular-festive form. 2 Thus his forms include beliefs. In this essay. and atmosphere ( 231 ). games. Characteristically. legends or belief-tales. jokes. Iswolsky) uses to describe those of Rabelais's sources that derive from the shared or "people's" culture of the Middle Ages and early modern period. Popular-festive forms is the term that Bakhtin (via his English translator. including folktates. 3 Despite the obvious and acknowledged problems with Bakhtin's own evidence for "popular" culture in -160- . symbolic actions. and world view. Because Bakhtin's ultimate purpose in Rabelais and His World was to show the importance of a festive. Most notorious is the extent to which the journals of Goethe influenced Bakhtin's concept of carnival: "The fact that his description refers to the carnival of 1788. I use forms to refer only to recognized folklore genres. I use forms and beliefs to indicate the wider field about which Bakhtin generalized. riddles. I turn first to Bakhtin's concept of popular-festive forms and beliefs and the subsequent refinement of this concept by the cultural historian Aron Gurevich. charms and spells. their conclusions nevertheless confirm his central claim that "Rabelais' contemporaries saw his work against the background of a living and still powerful tradition" ( 61 ). or what historians have called mentality. performance ( 207 ). that the popular-festive forms and beliefs preserved within Rabelais's works "were still alive and full of meaning in various forms of folk entertainments as well as in literature" ( 197 ). practices. Robert Mannyng 's Handlyng Synne. spirit ( 207 8). proverbs. All are excavated from literary texts. and he also spoke of the popular-festive image ( 197 ). oppositional. His work on Rabelais had already taken shape before he could have encountered the "new history" or histoire des mentalités. Although the work of these historians points up by contrast the acute methodological shortcomings in Bakhtin's attempted recovery of premodern popular culture. I then use this modified-Bakhtinian framework to examine the reception of such material in an early fourteenth-century penitential manual. "folk" influence on canonical works of European literature (Gargantua and Pantagruel). Bakhtin uses the term loosely. With this understanding. sometimes in relation to what we would scarcely call a form. many of them in Latin. folk songs. and a number of them composed long before or long after the Middle Ages.
Rabelais and His World. concise. or genre. When a Latin clerical text refers to a popular belief. in a complex and contradictory synthesis which I call a 'dialogueconflict' of the two forms of consciousness" (xx). in Gurevich's words. Gurevich acknowledges the futility of trying to strip away the official and literary "overlay" in an attempt to reconstruct the unofficial. dialogue" ( 180 ). he confronts directly the fact that nearly all our evidence for the orally transmitted culture of Carnival comes to us in writing. he points out that Bakhtin's conception of the conflicting "languages" -. discursive. Gurevich makes two points crucial to the analysis undertaken later in this essay. one discovers simultaneously in Handlyng Synne both the existence of the folk custom of leaving a gift of food at the head of a newborn child to propitiate the three sisters or "shapers" and the official condemnation of this practice as sinful.and this is the heart of Gurevich's deceptively simple thesis -. points that affect the validity of almost any attempt to use Bakhtin's Carnival/Lent opposition in interpreting medieval literature. and cautious where Bakhtin is exuberant. 4 Popular beliefs.3 ). he nevertheless provides us with a richly promising thesis: premodern canonical authors used popular mentalitis and folklore genres as tools of great rhetorical and artistic power. symbolic practice. Second. In Medieval Popular Culture.official and unofficial -. not a matter of sugar-coating the doctrinal pill for . Like his more celebrated mentor. not in order to "allow for it" in a vain effort to strip it away. to enter into the "mental horizon of the flock. but to help him to understand the two poles of a dialogue-conflict. practices. Thus Gurevich begins to outline a new and more historically grounded methodology designed specifically for working with what must always remain the oral in the written.Gurevich is spare. Aron Gurevich is also interested in the strong influence premodern popular culture exerted on canonical texts. and speculative -. Even more important -. What is so original in Gurevich's thought is his insistence that the appropriation of popular-festive discourse into clerical texts is not just a superficial adaptation to the needs of the audience. and genres frequently -161appear in clerical texts only to be prohibited.these forms and beliefs are present because the Church waged a rhetorical battle for "the minds and souls of the common people" and thus its spokesmen were forced to speak the people's language.imbedded in canonical literary texts "is somewhat akin to another of his key concepts. with characteristic caution ("If I am not mistaken").but Gurevich combines with his more extensive knowledge of medieval literature a familiarity with the annaliste research into popular culture that was largely unavailable to Bakhtin. To move to my Middle English text for an example. Gurevich defines his task as discovering the "junction" of popular with official culture. Unlike Bakhtin. oral existence of a popular belief or folklore genre. a simple but powerful point to which we shall return. "almost against their authors' will" (xvii)." and to make ample use of folklore and even "the stylistic features of tale and song" ( 2 . First. The intellectual styles of these two Russians could hardly be more different -. Gurevich looks for the official interpretation or critique implicit in that reference. thus they are present. "their interlacing. a medium controlled largely by the clerical culture Bakhtin associated metaphorically with Lent.
sermons. nor of arresting their attention by condescending to their supposed interests. 1260)." invites us to consider medieval clerical texts -. They might aspire to single-voiced doctrinal purity. 5 Thus. 7 Both works evolve from the long tradition of penitential writings that was given new impetus by the Lateran Council of 1215-16 with its stress on the instruction of . and narrative forms. it seeks to engage its opposition in an activity more like the ancient ideal of dialectic than it is like the simpler and more superficial accommodations to one's audience recommended by the rhetorical handbooks and preaching manuals available in the Middle Ages. In this way. they never lost their oppositional character by becoming themselves canonized or authorized. clerical discourse must momentarily entertain the opposing world view held by the unofficial culture. the folklore embedded in medieval clerical discourse was deeply meaningful to lay audiences because it tapped into a whole system of longstanding beliefs and familiar means of expressing them. dialogue.as what Bakhtin calls dialogized forms. Gurevich regards the "dialogue-conflict" between official and unofficial world views as an important focus of intellectual energy and cultural ferment throughout the Middle Ages. but rather as a guarantee of its power and its capability of opposing learned culture in the ceaseless dialogue that imparted vitality to medieval culture as a whole" ( 224 ). clerical texts afford the modern reader glimpses of the "popular" pole of the dialogue-conflict between popular and learned culture.penitentials. A Christian rhetoric of pastoral care had to recognize the existence of this alternate system if it were to preach to its audience and not at it. Thus I turn to a Middle English penitential manual begun in 1303 by Robert Mannyng. they inevitably concede the relativity of their own. his ultimate interest is in reading through his texts to an understanding of popular mentalités. near Bourne in Lincolnshire. but because they seek the wholehearted assent of their audiences. is in the clerical texts themselves and in what happens to them as a result of their admission of the vibrant and disruptive languages of popular beliefs. Handlyng Synne is an adaptation of the Norman French Manuel des Péchés (c. By doing so. Gurevich is at heart an historian. we can better understand what is otherwise a puzzling dual perspective or double voice in clerical texts such as Handlyng Synne. Gurevich's cautious mention of Bakhtin's "key concept. otherworld narratives -. saints' lives. 6 As in the secular writings of Rabelais. And if we are aware of the dialectical strategy that Gurevich identifies. if it sought to win for the clergy the "minds and souls of the common people" ( Gurevich2). He warns effectively against neglect of whatever evidence survives of the unofficial culture whose oral character "ought to be evaluated not as a deficiency or a weakness. Because these popularfestive forms and beliefs flourished for the most part outside the fixity of -162written texts and without institutional sanction. Mine. He argues that for persuasive purposes. on the other hand.an uncultivated audience. these texts must run the risk of opening themselves to competing languages that encode alternate views of the world. if read closely. a member of the English Gilbertine order residing at the priory at Sempringham. entertainments.
and Chaucer.44 ). bailiffs.50 . Loue men to lestene trotouale. Following with some modification the model of the Manuel des Péchés. and the thridde is privee. Mannyng instructs his reader or listener in the ten commandments.956). I refer to this inherited docrinal program of instruction as the frame into which Mannyng's exemplary -163tales are embedded. the seven sacraments.101-2). To a diverse audience that explicitly includes wives. noblemen. ( 45 . children. in part because we still lack a definitive text. and incorporates a rich variety of popularfestive forms and beliefs. . / Thilke penance that is solempne is in two maneres" ( CT X. Mannyng offers instruction in examining one's conscience as preparation for "shryfte of mouþe" ( 98 ). the seven deadly sins and the sin of sacrilege. 10 it has rarely received the attention accorded other important fourteenth-century English works. versions of which form the basis for parts of Chaucer's Parson's Tale ( CT X. 4) Mannyng's direct orientation toward the "mental horizon of the flock" makes Handlyng Synne even more informative about popular mentalités than the clerically directed Latin penitentials that Gurevich analyzes. Handlyng Synne minimizes these scholastic divisions. That oon of hem is solempne. Mannyng's vernacular work speaks to laypeople as well as to priests: "For lewed men y vndyr toke / On englyssh tonge to make þys boke" ( 43 . A similar scheme governs the Latin penitentials such as Raymund of Pennaforte's Summa de poenitentia ( 1222-29) and William Peraldus's Summa vitiorum ( 1236). & at þe ale. concentrates instead on sin and temptation in the everyday lives of the laity. Handlyng Synne is an important chapter in the history of medieval literature. trifles Þat may falle ofte to velanye To dedly synne or outher folye. midwives. thus Pennaforte in Chaucer's translation: "The speces of Penitence been three. see n. another is commune. Although it is not a dramatized or narrative frame such as Chaucer gives to the Canterbury Tales. The Latin penitentials were of course designed primarily for clerics and their impulse is strongly taxonomic. an ambitious vernacular narrative project inspired by the same penitential tradition that profoundly influenced the works of Dante. yn festys.the laity in Christian doctrine and on the hearing of confession. and the twelve parts and twelve graces of confession. Gower. He was well aware that his intended audience saw the world from a perspective quite different from the somber one native to the penitential manuals: For many beyn of swyche manere Þat talys & rymys wyle bleþly here Yn gamys. 9 Yet. 8 Despite the selfacknowledged shortcomings of its language and versification ("foule englyssh & feble ryme" 8629). These changes we can attribute to a marked shift in audience. and poor men.
"þou shalt haue no god but one" ( 148 ). he records his intention to include only tales found in writing or else reliably narrated by eyewitnesses ( 133 -36). if they were to be themselves judged in the -164same inflexible way by God. / Ne y shal neure haue noun of þe" (5479-80). the Church continually sought to separate official beliefs from forbidden practices such as divination. both translated from the Manuel. its ostensible purpose to forbid witchcraft and magic. The illustrative tale simply transforms the frame's "hard judges" into "a certain hard judge. this tale appears to come from the latter category. For example.After their use of the vernacular. they could not expect to be saved. not to emulate those judges who inflexibly "do hym but lawe" (5430). who rigidly adhere to the letter of the law instead of tempering it with mercy for one in hard circumstances. of accountants. the most obvious accommodation to the new lay audience in the Manuel des Péchés and in Handlyng Synne is their introduction of a wide variety of inset tales. he becomes ill and on his deathbed calls out to God for mercy. that is. Another example of relative harmony between frame and inset tale is "St." The tale's judge refuses a plea for mercy toward the poor with the very words of the frame. Much more curious are the tales that set up a dialogue-conflict with the doctrinal frame instead of simply illustrating it. these tales simply add emphasis and specificity to the precepts of the frame. Its rubric is the first commandment. Macaire and the Two Good Married Women" ( 191798). When kept skeletally brief and trained sharply on their moral targets. the tale of the witch and her magic bag is Mannyng's own addition. . At the beginning of Handlyng Synne. An arresting example is Mannyng's "Tale of the Witch and Her Cow-Sucking Bag" (one of Furnivall's many picturesque titles). Macaire. and their answers reiterate in the first person actions and sentiments recommended to women by the doctrinal frame: for example. the saint has a vision instructing him to seek out two wives of excellent moral standing. In keeping with Christian charity. "Y shal do hem noþyng but lawe" (5456). Unlike the tales of the hard judge and of St. sorcery. lawyers. nor to ask a child to look into a basin of water to predict the future (351-54). the "Tale of the Bloody Child. many of which qualify as Bakhtinian popular-festive forms. He interviews them about their way of life. one of the enduring areas of conflict between the unofficial culture and the clergy. "we give way to our husbands rather than grieve them" ( 1973-74). he advises judges not to deal overharshly with the poor man. and judges. In the tale." which Mannyng reports that he heard from a friar (688). In the absence of any written analogues. Although extensive crosspollination between orthodox Christianity and popular magic was inevitable. Not long after. Such judges are reminded that. locating the sin of covetousness in everyday life brings Mannyng quickly to the milieu of counting house and courtroom. as does the one that follows. The tale unambiguously bears out the frame's explicit moralizing by virtually restating it. 11 Thus Mannyng must urge his parishioners not to believe that a chattering magpie betokens a guest (357-60). only to hear a voice respond that "þou haddest neure of man pyte. and witchcraft.
Even the two disapproving lines are rather perfunctory: "The bysshop comaundyd þat she shuld noght / Beleue ne werche as she hadde wroght" (55556). Hyt shulde ha go and sokyn ky."then nothing is lacking but belief" -. only the last two reassert the position of the doctrinal frame.and the witch goes on to make quite an astonishing declaration of the importance of belief to her practice of witchcraft: She seyde. My beleue haþ doun þe dede euerydeyl. "Why won't it rise. He reads out the transcript of the charm (which Mannyng wisely refrains from relating) and imitates her actions. Instead of being appalled. She sygaldred so þys bagbely enchanted Þat hyt ʒede and soke mennys ky. Mannyng narrates with comic relish: Þer was a wycche & made a bagge. But þou beleue hyt. "when I did just as you did and said the same words?" The witch responds tartly: "Nay.Into a context of stern warning against belief in magical practices. And so hyt ys of oure lawe: Beleue ys more þan þe sawe. a gret swagge. This opening condemnation seems to promise a continuation within the tale of the frame's uncompromising attitude -165toward practitioners of necromancy. For þou mayst seye what þou wylt." seyde þe bysshop." she seyde. . "þat helpyþ al my þyng." the bishop asks. and the bishop orders a cleric to write down every word and gesture. Instead. Wolde ʒe beleue my wrdys as y. the bishop is fascinated: Þe bysshop merueylde & ouþer mo How þat she myghte do hyt so go." (548-54) -166Of the fifty-six lines devoted to the tale proper. Mannyng introduces his "tale of a wycche / Þat leuyd no better þan a bycche" (499-500). but so that he may try the spell himself. "why shuld hyt so? Ʒe beleue nouʒt as y do. "do þy queyntyse And late vs see how hyt shal ryse. (501-4) The witch continues for some time to pilfer milk by this exotic means. that those involved in witchcraft are consorting with the devil and courting damnation. not as evidence against the witch." (543-46) The bishop simply repeats the lesson she has taught him -. A bely of leþer." (517-20) Immediately the witch obliges with a demonstration. Al þat y seyde. to no avail: "þe sloppe lay stylle as hyt ded wore" (537). y beleue hyt weyl. ellys ys al spylt. until the good men of the town discover her magic and demand that she and her bag be brought before the bishop. "Dame.
13 It is presumably a term from pre-Christian magic that persisted primarily in the spoken language. bagbely. His tale concluded. the witch opposes her creed to orthodox Christian "lawe. he narrates the tale in ways that enhance its comically subversive potential. 12 Mannyng may also be entering into the language of popular belief when he uses the verb sygaldryd to describe the casting of the spell on the bag. in one version of an anonymous romance. but his directly represented speech is curious and open-minded rather than inquisitorial. when realized through the tale. swagge. beleue wyle make Þere þe wrd no myght may take. Mannyng explains its meaning to his audience: Heyr mow we wete. witness the rich variety of names he gives it: bagge.Far from reiterating the doctrinal frame. bely of leþer. the tale goes beyond tolerance for witchcraft. it necessarily concedes that the witch believed sincerely and wholeheartedly in her "lawe. But beleue þer yn hadde he noun. In this way. in this one regard. in this case." Yet not only does Mannyng allot only two lines of the tale proper to the official clerical position on witchcraft. and that. Although the opening transition from frame to story denigrates the witch as "no better þan a bycche. Bakhtin would argue that admitting the language of a rival system undermines the universal or monologic aspirations of a given discourse. The last two lines report indirectly that he ultimately condemns her practice. he too seems fascinated by the cow-sucking bag. this tale enters into a Bakhtinian dialogue with it. the devil's pastime. By speaking of "oure lawe" ("those of us who practice witchcraft") in the lines quoted above. (557-62. The tale is a particularly interesting choice for illustrating the commandment that prohibits belief in rival deities.) Mannyng's primary emphasis has shifted from avoiding witchcraft to believing sincerely and wholeheartedly where "belief should be" -. melk slop. No more shal hyt auayle þe Þat beleuyst nat þer beleue shulde be. to momentary recognition of it as part of an alternate world view with its own .in orthodox Christian doctrine. Although this moral is unexceptional in itself. Like the bishop. once again in the context of clerical prohibition of English magical beliefs. -167Þe bysshop seyde þe wrdys echoun. sloppe. she set an example more worthy of emulation by Mannyng's flock than the bishop's. who embodies the official viewpoint within the tale. The agrarian nature of the tale's magic as well as its oralist leaning (the efficacy of the "charme" is in its oral performance and not its written transcript) both point to the survival in popular consciousness of older attitudes resistant to those propagated by the clergy." the story itself wrestles free of the frame and represents her as a match for the bishop. the tale participates in a popular magical world view even as it seeks to discourage it. and in the earlier Ancrene Wisse." that a witch had to instruct a bishop in the importance of belief over the mere mouthing of words. Forms of this native word are attested in Middle English only here.
the one closest to the strictures of the frame. never feeling weary.possibilities for hypocrisy and integrity. . the dancers keep up their revels. three times he finds it cast out of its grave. but. whose shrine figures in what I call Mannyng's "sequel" (9213-37). their clothes never fading. he calls on God and the patron saint of his church to curse them to a year (9087) of ceaseless dancing. Mannyng's account of the aftereffects of the dance show that he was working from two different versions of the tale. including dancing. but the curse has already taken effect. To discourage dancing in the churchyard. The implications of the witch's story are amplified in a better known tale. these revelers. wildly singing and dancing. protected by "Goddes mercy" (9159) from thunder and lightning. Unlike the bishop who mouthed the witch's charm without believing in it. ordering carpenters to make a covering to protect them from storms. wrestling. He sends his son to retrieve the daughter from the dance. to his horror. The sorrowful priest tries to bury his daughter's arm. When they ignore him. He goes back to his father with this "sory present" and rebukes him sharply for his rash curse (9116-23). never discomfited by the weather. never getting dirty. The Emperor Henry comes from Rome to see what Mannyng calls "þys hard dome" (9165). who is dead. 14 It is told much more briefly in the Manuel and was apparently also available to Mannyng in a fuller version. and piping (8991-98). and he weeps for the dancers. All the dancers rise except the priest's daughter. Particularly forbidden is the singing of dance songs or the reciting of "rymes" at times when they will disturb religious observances (9003-4). the dancers whip into the church and fall down as if dead or unconscious. and predict his imminent death. the young man pulls off her arm. After three days they regain their senses. He steps out and admonishes them to come in quietly to worship -168according to "crystenmennes lawe" (9074). singing. a celebration of the temporary overturning of a hierarchical relation. As Furnivall's title indicates. And if a reader or hearer laughs at the bishop's discomfiting by the witch. summer games. but. Mannyng tells the tale of twelve "fools" (9020) who transgress in this way. The Emperor has a vessel made for the girl's arm and has it hung in the church as a reminder of the event. On Christmas night. Their noise disturbs the priest at the altar saying mass. rebuke the priest for his curse. whom they induce to join their festivities. the context is the sin of sacrilege. Three times the covering is knocked down. One year later to the very hour (9178-81). 984). Meanwhile. In a futile effort to extract his sister. is clearly derogatory. Her grief-stricken father does not long survive her. that laughter would surely qualify as Bakhtinian "people's" laughter. Edith of Wilton (d. come into a churchyard looking for the priest's daughter. only one of which contained the one-year limit on the curse. dramatic interludes. 15 probably a Latin life of St. The frame warns against "vyleyny" (8652) on the hallowed ground of the churchyard. as in the tale of the witch. drumming. only this first reference to the dancers. this priest "preyed god þat he on beleued" (9081) and was heard. titled by Furnivall "The Sacrilegious Carollers" and anthologized as "The Dancers of Colbek" (9015-9237).
are much better known on the Continent than in England (9243-45). no one within the tale affirms the priest's corresponding severity. and later in the work he calls "The Dancers of Colbek" a tale in which "cursyng breweþ moche bale" (10942). as on sacrilege" ( 44 ). In his brief comment on the tale. still "hoppyng aboute. and at the end he goes into a long discussion of its written transmission. Edith of Wilton during -169Lent (9230-37). this story pulls strongly against its alleged moral lesson. their hair and nails still refusing to grow and their clothes failing to get dirty or deteriorate. he says. As we have seen. As in the tale of the witch and the bishop. first by a bishop who later became Pope. Quite the contrary: the daughter joins in. The tale is dismissed as foolishness by some. the unrepentant dancers reproach the priest and pronounce his doom. Their apparent recovery after a year and the erecting of the memorial to the girl suggest that the story will end here. the daughter loses her life as well as her arm. God is made to appear more tolerant than the priest toward alternative Christmas celebrations. which. and the priest himself is filled with fear and remorse. Four of them.) Despite the frame's strict prohibition against carolling in the churchyard during mass. then in chronicles. He twice mentions that. 9227). Bennett notes that "the emphasis in Mannyng's version is as much on the priest's rash curse. and the father loses his as well. as it does in the Manuel. (The implication seems to be that God removes the Emperor's covering because it is superfluous. the Emperor weeps for the dancers. Mannyng then reports that the victims of the curse continued dancing. and fatigue.After initially stating that the revelers must dance "vnto þat tyme twelfmonth ende. never explaining why they would want to. an undercurrent of hostility toward clerical authority again makes itself felt in this clerically authored work. Changing versions rather abruptly. In fact." the tale warns much more strongly against excessive harshness in enforcing "crystenmennes lawe" than it does against dancing in a churchyard. one of them is finally cured in England by sleeping next to the tomb of St. however. no comparable speeches within the tale rebuke sacrilegious dancing. He affirms at the beginning that "most" of it is "as soth as þe gospel" (9014). Especially in the portion before its first "ending. not because it mitigates the curse. That this is an outlandish tale by the standards of any period does not escape Mannyng." as found in the Manuel des Péchés. . up to the expiration of what we were initially told was a oneyear curse. By sheltering the dancers from storms. dirt. A. both his son and the dancers deliver powerful speeches against the priest's action. While the fates of the others go unreported. beloved by others (9249-51). God protects them from the elements. The tale is full of folklore motifs. which loses his daughter her arm. I want to look at the main body of the tale. 16 Even Mannyng refers to the priest's curse as harsh ( 9165). the curse compels them to dance "evermore" (9088-89). Like the tale of the witch. although once they could not get apart. he notes that in a Latin version available to him. W. and the arm that will not stay buried strongly suggests that of the guilty man who cannot get rid of the corpse." go with "sundre lepes" to Rome. here the condemnation of sacrilegious revelry. J. now they cannot join together (9220-23. the son upbraids his father for his curse. Before returning to its odd sequel.
many of the tales do challenge the frame in this way. he is "not especially modernizing the effect of "Handlyng Synne" ( 26 ). . but Mannyng adapts. Bede's church history. Much of his doctrine and the large majority of his stories were suggested to him by the Manuel des Péchés. he pays for them with his life and that of his daughter. one might then -170recognize in these two tales the Bakhtinian victory of popular-festive forms over "all that oppresses and restricts" ( 92 ). as Ganim affirms in a subsequent article. he was not in control of it: "part of the unintentional aesthetic interest of Handlyng Synne is in the ways in which the examples struggle against the structure imposed on them" ( 25 ). indeed. But. I take him to mean that he believes Mannyng's contemporary audience might also perceive the subversive nature of the stories.26. The witch's viewpoint challenges the bishop's as Carnival rivals Lent. without benefit of Gurevich's modifications. John Ganim includes a brief reading of Handlyng Synne along these lines ( 22 . Indeed. for example. leaving little doubt of his command over the tradition in which he works. When Ganim says that his reading does not unduly modernize the effect of this medieval work. Its intertextual connections thus extend to the Bible. not just the intellectual capacity of its author. In Chaucerian Theatricality.If one followed directly the line of thought developed in "Rabelais and His World". that "the implications of the exemplum destabilize the moral point" ( 27 ). then why would Mannyng take such risks. but "Handlyng Synne" is built upon a long and erudite tradition of Latin penitential literature and it encompasses sixty-six inset tales of highly diverse origins. sermons -171and homiletic compilations. that in drawing such a conclusion. numerous patristic works. but for me the pressing question then becomes what rhetorical implications such a "destabilization" has in a work intended for pastoral instruction. The rash priest of Colbek is undermined in his Lenten strictures against carnivalesque celebration. If so. 114). "Handlyng Synne" is a complex work ( "Writing Lesson" esp. and further. saints' lives. adds. the Gilbertines. As my examples suggest. 28 ). and translates with freedom and assurance. as well as to previous penitential literature. though Mannyng was aware of the dangerous conflict in his material ( 27 ). must reflect the needs of its intended audience. which clerics sought to represent as universal truth. 17 Mannyng's style can be laboriously simple and the work's local structure can resemble a packrat's nest. Thorlac Turville-Petre makes the important point that Mannyng's order. I would expect a medieval audience to be even more alert than we are to the challenge they pose to Christian teaching. The extreme simplicity of much of its verbal presentation. why would he subvert his own stated purposes in this way? Ganim leans toward the view that. discouraged writing in general and required that any literary work undertaken by its adherents be authorized by the prior and strictly avoid stylistic pretention of any sort. He argues that "the power of the inset narratives does destabilize the moralizing framework" ( 26 ).
Mannyng states that he will not discuss them. Only the simplest exempla can sustain a monologic voice and vision. Gurevich argues that popular-festive forms "were the most important channels of communication between clergy and masses. Although those Latin works aimed at priests could be quite graphic in their treatment of what Mannyng calls "pryuytees" -. I am convinced that by adding the kinds of material he does. but that they must nevertheless be fully disclosed at confession ( 30 . apparently from oral circulation. they might inspire them to exotic misdeeds of which they had never dreamed. we can find the dialogue-conflict so striking in "Tale of the Witch and Her Cow-Sucking Bag" and "The Dancers of Colbek." As the sin against the Church's institutional authority." It seems entirely unlikely that the subversive. sacrilege is particularly relevant to a Bakhtinian reading. As Gurevich shows in detail and I will illustrate briefly in Mannyng. I want first to make a point bearing on his own awareness of the potentially subversive aspects of his stories. particularly if.38 ).Mannyng's expanded version of "The Dancers of Colbek" and the stories. in laying out for their parishioners a dazzling array of sins. his task is to bring the most solemn aspects of Christian orthodoxy to people with a strongly established culture of their own to which these doctrinal lessons had to be assimilated. We do know that writers in the penitential tradition perceived the more obvious danger that. however. most of these are in reality thinly fictionalized restatements of the cleric's own admonitions. in the simplest practical terms. even in those exemplary stories that have persisted over centuries in the writings of the most learned churchmen. It is Mannyng's orally derived tales that lend themselves most readily to interpretation as carnivalesque rebellions against clerical authority. as it was through them that churchmen gained control of the spiritual life of the lay people" ( 2 ). But Gurevich shows that even long circulation in learned Christian didactic contexts is no guarantee against the inherent instabililty of fictions as vehicles for conveying explicit morals. On the contrary. and looking at an important section in its entirety is preferable to continuing to pick tales at will from a long and varied work. Before moving to Mannyng on sacrilege. that he added to the Manuel's stock are among the most striking in their outreach to popular mentalités. it meant that they regularly found their parishioners more confirmed in their unofficial magical beliefs and their carnivalesque world view than before the sermon or doctrinal work began. tendencies of these exempla could go unnoticed by well-educated clerics deeply involved in Christian education and pastoral care. in this final section I want to examine his extended treatment of sacrilege or "mysdede to holynes" (8601). even anticlerical. Mannyng increases a calculated risk that was in any case already deeply embedded in his inherited material. the -172rubric under which he includes "The Dancers of Colbek. He thus complies .secret and unusual sins most often of a sexual naturell 18 -. In order to analyze the risk that Mannyng takes by opening his work even further than his sources to the disruptive influence of popular genres and beliefs. or else almost plotless settings for didactic speeches. As with his predecessors in the penitential tradition.
They stick together like copulating dogs that cannot be separated (8955-56) and are publicly disgraced until the monks free them by prayer. "The Norfolk Bondman" is another tale ostensibly about "vyleyny" in the . Mannyng's treatment of sacrilege employs seven inset tales. I find three of the seven tales relatively straightforward in illustrating the dangers of sacrilege. 9341-50). ultimately from Gregory. The stated moral is that one should not have sex in holy places. Of the other four represented in the Manuel des Péchés. all three of them translated from the Manuel. it includes transgressions such as church breaking. Though such divisions are bound to be somewhat subjective. One of these. one is from the Old Testament. embellishing with their own learning what they sought to suppress. practices. Continental records of late medieval witch trials show villagers accusing their neighbors of having ridden through the air at night with the goddess Diana. assaulting the clergy. and little in the story would encourage one to do so. misbehaving in a church or its precincts. Although I would not claim that any of these is wholly monologic or invulnerable to ambiguity. also recorded by Jacques de Vitry. lest they plant new ideas. five suggested by the Manuel. represents a widespread legend about the devil as scribe that Mannyng might have encountered orally or in writing ( Lee743-59). 20 Mannyng's refusal to discuss the details of secret sins shows that he recognized at least one major hazard inherent in the kind of rhetoric in which he was engaged and suggests that he might also have been alert to other possible hazards. A rather unpleasant tale tells of a husband and wife who. and misusing consecrated objects (8610-40. which warns against sacrilege by showing a templedestroying ruler subsequently deprived of his kingdom and his life. "Handlyng Synne" follows the Manuel in adding the sin of sacrilege to the traditional seven deadlies. The third exemplum that I judge to be relatively straightforward is the Old Testament tale of Belshazzar's feast (9355-46). The other. one. Such beliefs are judged by historians as less likely to result from the preservation of popular cults from classical antiquity than from educated medieval clerics who have left their stamp on popular beliefs by sermonizing against them and asking leading questions at witch trials. The ambivalence of each of the four remaining tales is marked in some explicit way by their teller. 19 Warnings against popular beliefs.with the directives of the Latin penitentials that warn priests against revealing secret sins to the laity. describes the corpse of a sinful man named Valentine being dragged out of the ornate tomb in which his body had inappropriately been buried (8747-82)." Mannyng greatly expanded with material from the Latin source to which he alludes. have sex in a chamber too near the church (8941-76). As an example. and genres could of course have the same undesirable effect of transmitting them. One of these five. 21 Of the two tales added to this section by Mannyng. as guests in an abbey. was probably written down by Mannyng from oral circulation. the source of one tale is unknown. I pass over them in favor of the four tales more demonstrably engaged in a dialogue-conflict with an opposing view of the world. set in Norfolk. "The Dancers of Colbek. and two are from the Dia-logues -173logues of Gregory the Great.
churchyard, in this case, allowing animals to graze and defecate on the graves there (8673-18). Although Bakhtin tended to characterize the official culture as uniformly serious, Mannyng introduces his exemplum as a "bourd" or joke (8671) and as a tale of how a bondman "bourded" with a knight (8670). Distressed that a lord allows his cattle to desecrate the graves, the bondman rebukes him, only to receive the churlish answer that no respect is due to the graves because they hold only churls' bones. The churl responds with what sounds like an inset popular rhyme recalling the famous couplet with which the priest John Ball taunted gentil men later in the century: þe lord þat made of erþe erles, Of þat same erþe made he cherles. Erles myght and lordes stut, As cherles shal yn erþe be put. -174Erles, cherles, al at ones, Shal none knowe ʒoure fro oure bones." (8699-8704) 22 As the bishop listens carefully to the witch in the earlier tale, so this lord attends to the bondman, who speaks the now only marginally extant language of the period's popular, orally disseminated verses and slogans. According to Mannyng's tale, the churl teaches the lord a valuable lesson. The lesson, however, seems to be directed at the lord's class arrogance, an issue likely to be of keener interest to many of Mannyng's parishioners than sacrilegious cow-pasturing, or, if the truth be known, than sacrilege of almost any sort. If so, the story threatens to lead them away from the desired lesson and toward contemplation of their own position in regard to the representatives of the "earthly upper classes," in Bakhtin's words ( Rabelais92). Another prohibition under sacrilege is the presence of the laity, particularly of women, in the chancel. The illustrative anecdote about John Chrysostom (8823-84) derives from Gregory's Dialogues. Whenever the saintly bishop John celebrated mass, the holy spirit miraculously manifested itself in the form of a white dove. The dove fails to appear one day, and the cause is traced to the deacon assisting at the altar, who has been tormented into impure thoughts by a fiend in woman's likeness. John blames the devil and absolves his deacon, and the white dove returns. The lesson: "For wommens sake þys tale y tolde / Þat þey hem out of þe chaunsel holde, / Wyþ here kercheuers, þe deuels say! / Elles shul þey go to helle boþe top & tayl" (8885-88). Women, with their fiendishly alluring headscarves, should stay out of the chancel or risk damnation. They adorn themselves only to entrap men; many of them are themselves no more than fiends (8889-96). The moral admonition is clear enough, but the tale is another matter. Would it take the acumen of Chaucer's imagined Wife of Bath to notice that not only is this story told by men ("Who peyntede the leon, tel me who?" CT III. 692), but that, though it is ostensibly intended to direct the behavior of women, there is no actual woman in it whose example they might emulate or avoid? No woman was herself in danger of having impure thoughts while assisting at the altar, and no woman could have prevented the devil from
tormenting the deacon. The story risks inspiring in some rebellious minds the conclusion that a cleric is fully capable of having impure thoughts however circumspect the behavior of the women around him. Mannyng does go on to advise clerics not to stare around them at service, especially at women, perhaps betraying some consciousness that, as a story told "for wommens -175sake," this one too suffers from a gap between the apparent import of the narrative and the explicit moral drawn. After the above-mentioned tale of the husband and wife punished for copulating near the church, Mannyng tells "The Dancers of Colbek." To the tale proper, he adds the sequel about the dancer cured at the shrine of St. Edith "yn lenten tyde" (9234). The sequel warns more strongly against sacrilegious dancing than the tale itself, but its effect is somewhat undercut when Mannyng returns to his frame to draw an unexpected and diffuse set of lessons. For example, he adds a proverb with distinctly anticlerical associations: "þarfore men seye & weyl ys trowed, / Þe nere þe cherche, þe ferþere fro god" (9246-47). Like the tale of the dancers, this proverb hardly supports Mannyng's insistence on a whole set of deferential behaviors required by the sanctity of "holy cherche." If his position here seems to sympathize with resentment felt against excessively authoritarian clerics, however, he then pulls back sharply: "Þys tale y told to make ʒow aferd Yn cherche to karolle or yn cherche ʒerd; Namly aʒens þe prestes wyl, Leueþ whan he byddeþ ʒow be styl." (9254-57) "I told this tale to make you afraid . . ." Mannyng's frank words recall one of Bakhtin's central claims: the serious, authoritarian aspects of the official culture are "combined with violence, prohibitions, limitations and always contain an element of fear and of intimidation" ( Rabelais 90). Yet the tale itself is also full of the popular-festive forms that Bakhtin regarded as antidotes to fear. Mannyng even quotes the carol the sacrilegious revelers sang. If I were to try to locate in this welter of conflicting languages and lessons Mannyng's personal recommendation to his flock, as opposed to his official position in the penitential tradition, I would look to the quiet good sense of the last line quoted above: "If you ever do carol in a churchyard during mass, leave off when the priest asks you to be still." Tale and sequel clearly entertain a variety of other positions, however, most of them lenient toward the disruptively carnivalesque behavior of the dancers. The last of the four tales that warn ambivalently against sacrilege is another of Mannyng's additions, the story of a comic devil also found in Jacques de Vitry. Both narratives that Mannyng himself adds to this section are introduced as jokes. As we have seen, "The Norfolk Bondman" tells of a churl who had a joke at the expense of a knight; the
-176second, "The Devil's Disappointment with the Chattering Women" (9266-9311), tells "a bourd of an holy man" (9265). These additions suggest that Mannyng found the Manuel's treatment of sacrilege in need of some alternate viewpoints and even in need of laughter. Here, as in the tale of Chrysostom and his deacon, a holy man's celebration of mass is disrupted by his deacon, who witnesses diabolical pranks while at the altar. At the solemn moment in which he was to read the gospel, the deacon laughed a great and loud laugh (9171). The other clerics thought him a "fole" (9273) and the priest rebuked him afterward, particularly for his bad example to the laity (9279). The deacon's explanation for his laugh is vividly narrated, like the other stories of Mannyng's own choosing. As the deacon tries to read, he sees two women chattering. Between them is a devil "wyþ penne and parchemen yn hende" (9285), writing down every word they say. The parchment roll quickly fills up and the devil runs into difficulty when he tries to unroll it further. He tugs on it, tries to pull it with his teeth, and, when it suddenly comes apart, he bangs his head painfully on the wall. Seeing the devil so discomfited and realizing that his written record is ruined, the deacon laughs heartily. When he realizes that the deacon can see him, the devil smashes the remains of his document with his fist and goes away in shame. As always, Mannyng takes his audience by the hand: "For ianglers þys tale y tolde / Þat þey yn cherche here tunges holde" (9312-13). True, the notion that a devil is writing down their words might give pause to those who chatter in church, but the narration of the tale once again leads toward the opposite pole of the dialogue-conflict. It ridicules a censorious devil whose writing on parchment associates him with those clerics whose prohibition on chattering in church he upholds. Mannyng is made to spoil his own evidence and to look like a fool. The comic vision granted to the laughing deacon convinces the priest of its recipient's grace, that "he was weyl wyþ god almyght" (9311). Thus, once again contrary to Mannyng's declared lesson, God, the priest, and the deacon all are implicated in ridiculing the attempt to enforce strictures against relatively minor infractions. He calls the tale a "bourd," and his narrative style shows that he does indeed get the joke. He draws out comically the devil's difficulty with the parchment; he five times uses forms of the word laughter. "Laughter," Bakhtin wrote, "purifies the consciousness of men from false seriousness, from dogmatism" ( Rabelais141). Gurevich argues for a view of medieval official culture more nuanced than Bakhtin's, observing that Bakhtin exaggerated its "dogmatic," -177"monolithically serious" and "gloomy" nature ( Gurevich178). It is important to remember, however, that Bakhtin saw his culture of Lent as a stance or a spirit and that much of the carnivalesque opposition also came from clerics, as the comic stories of Chrysostom's deacon or of the scribbling devil remind us. Thus Gurevich rightly finds in Bakhtin's own thought the remedy for what may seem a one-sided view of official culture: "Bakhtin describes the mutual influence -- the confrontation -- of official and unofficial culture as an ambivalence, a duality, in which the oppositions are dialectically
I do not believe that Chaucer shared his character's certainty. by which he has been deeply influenced. any more than he shared his rejection of all story. In ultimate affirmation of Bakhtin's work. which would be lost on Mannyng's audience even if he could make them. To return.50 )." I would substitute Bakhtin's ambivalent "asserts and denies" ( Rabelais 12 ). descended from the Latin tradition directed to clerical audiences. in Bakhtin's sense. by refraining even from story itself: "Thou getest fable noon ytoold for me" ( CT X. Like Chaucer's fictional Parson. though Mannyng has no Chaucer to ghostwrite extraordinary literary and persuasive powers into his text. to the rhetorical risk that Mannyng inherited and extended by adding to his work popular-festive forms of his own gathering. . if that me lest?" ( X. and it shows why Carnival versus Lent is likely to be as misleading a dichotomy for exploring medieval culture as oral versus written. Gurevich concludes that "the concepts of ambivalence and immanent dialogue are absolutely essential for understanding the whole of medieval culture" ( 180 ). in that it too is. not even the official one. finally. and those who see through and reject such manipulation are apt to react with some of the aversion that Chaucer imagines for Harry Bailly. the practical drawback here is that not all "lewed" listeners are so simple as to be led only by their emotions. 35 . to use Chaucer's metaphor. to use popular magical beliefs and old tales to manipulate his parishioners' fears. Setting aside the academic jokes. Some of these viewpoints are undoubtedly chaff and not wheat. his version is remarkable for its "virtual exclusion of the great stock-in-trade of the medieval preacher. The fictional Parson is confident that he can tell one from the other: "Why sholde I sowen draf out of my fest. Even then. This is the point at which Gurevich makes his tentative connection to Bakhtin's concept of dialogue (or "dialogism.36 ). the Nun's Priest's Tale seems to me to provide the closest parallel to Mannyng's rhetoric." 23 Or. he could have avoided the risk of carnivalesque subversion by refraining from popular-festive forms altogether. cynically exploiting their susceptibility to popular-festive forms: "lewed peple loven tales olde" ( VI. the Parson goes on to relate to his disparate audience parts of a penitential treatise full of scholastic divisions. The Parson's certainty is by no means shared by the teller of the Nun's Priest's Tale.437). Of Chaucer's three assays into the discourse of pastoral care in the Canterbury Tales. and Gurevich goes on to argue that "Carnival negates the culture of the official hierarchy by including it in itself. like the Pardoner of the Canterbury Tales. the exemplum.connected. in turn. In -178addition to the obvious moral one. True to promise. we might ask what options were open to him in securing the assent of his parishioners whose concerns he acknowledges to be very different from those officially sustained by the clergy ( 45 ." as it is often called). mutually changing places and retaining their polarity" ( 180 ). For Gurevich's verb "negates. genuinely dialogized. he could have tried. the parallel lies in the way that both works incorporate various and conflicting languages so that no one of them. / Whan I may sowen whete.31). includes the principle of laughter within it" ( 180 ). The point is otherwise crucial. just as the 'serious' culture. can aspire to monologic universality.
By using his parishioners' language and thereby entering into their unofficial world view. and (new) historical critical practices have so convincingly deconstructed the master narratives -. Yet. And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious. The Parson's Tale risks preaching only to the converted and therefore making no converts. for all its dangers.That tale's multiplicity of explicit morals.that we seem to enjoy a disturbing new awareness of the actual instability of those referential systems. and the laughing deacons all have their say. liberal/conservative. "Theses on the Philosophy of History" Late-twentieth-century scholars hold the opinion generally. some not at all borne out by the narrative. a dialogue with other viewpoints like the one sustained in the Nun's Priest's Tale seems to me ultimately more likely to effect conversions than the Parson's nearly monologic version of a discourse traditionally composed "by and for the clergy" ( Gurevich94). that the grand orders of the past no longer influence our thinking as they once did. He did not develop this bold rhetorical strategy on his own. Once areas of starkly defined contrast. of (post) structuralist criticism into their work. right to the cliff-hanging point of seeming himself to adopt or recommend it. which not terribly long ago were considered secure. the sacrilegious dancers. one casualty of this shift has been the venerable ideological opposition scored across the dyads of left/right. individuality/collectivity. some conflicting. Even the most ardent champions of "tradition" and its attendant hierarchy of values have conceded the importance of what the last few decades of critical thinking have produced. such as languages and literatures. he worked skillfully within an already dialogized and thus rhetorically powerful form. if not the findings. corresponds to Mannyng's own inability and unwillingness to make his recalcitrant stories into the puppets of some single moral. Mannyng initiates with them a genuine dialogue. In "Handlyng Synne". the churl. albeit in varying degrees. and so forth. Mannyng makes extensive and effective use of the popularfestive forms and beliefs that were available to him through his own participation in the shared culture. Rather. Sherman Only that historian will have the gift of fanning the spark of hope in the past who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins. 1 (Post)modern. freedom/determinism. it was already deeply embedded in his material. the dualities that formerly made a portion of the world a "safer" place (consider the nostalgia for Cold . Predictably. 24 -179Problems of Bakhtin's Epic Capitalism and the Image of History Mark A. as well as the priests and the bishops. the witch. opening the possibility for conversion. (post)colonial. and have to an unexpected degree incorporated the methods.those of the West in particular -. Walter Benjamin. Mannyng inherits and enhances a rhetorical strategy that is also risky but very different.
There has been perhaps no greater display of this phenomenon than in the official inauguration of the New World Order in the Persian Gulf War. . proved unable "either to adhere to precise scheduling or achieve closure" (630). is uncertain. but any sense of what form a lasting. but has emerged almost mercenarylike. . as narrative. That is. Yet total television.War days that accompanies so many examinations of the New World Order) are resolved into a twilight of uncertainties. empathetic war narrative could take without a military struggle in which to ground itself. The textualization of such givens as history. which had seldom existed in the history of American warfare . in the Persian Gulf. according to Engelhardt. . 2 Tom Engelhardt has cogently argued that the Persian Gulf War marked the birth of "total television": [A] new co-production process to which normal labels of media critique and complaint don't apply . fell short of its target: [N]o greater problem faced the military/media [that is. and consciousness comprises the vanguard of this critical revisionism. the Persian Gulf War was engineered to be the antidote to the "Vietnam syndrome. because the boundaries between military action and media event broke down in such a way that military planning could become a new form of media reality. How firmly grounded this might be in the tradition of literary epic.. as little more than a passing advertorial. empathetic war narrative" invokes one of the many cruces problematizing our sense of the epic: its association with narratives of conquest and its politico-cultural function as the place where. . as Benjamin put it. As such. the institutions of capi-180talist imperialism (for they are the New World Order) have employed to most effective ends those very same critical methods that originated as part of an ongoing critique of capitalist imperialist culture. because by the fourteenth . however. Missing in action in the war's coverage were not so much independent media. that would in more than a metaphoric sense become its epic." because by comparison the Vietnam conflict not only brought unprecedented carnage into the American living room but also. [The] attempt to re-establish a triumphalist American war story via the media and in the wake of Vietnam ended up. . (613) What we saw during the campaign to "liberate" Kuwait was the generation of a new cultural text that would embody the heroic spirit of the New World Order. demonstrating no particular ideological allegiance. (632) Engelhardt's articulation of the nostalgia for a suitable. corporate] production team than its inability to establish a suitably epic story at the heart of total television. culture. the victors inscribe their history. like so much high-tech ordinance. . "lasting. .
-182- . rabelaisian strain of his thought concerned with carnival. all. epic remains a poetry concerned with cultural and political power." discusss the might of antiquity in terms most relevant to the twentieth century.28-29) were no longer fit "Subject for Heroic Song" (9. even in the works of Dante and Milton. "The Iliad. No doubt the war did take place. the lower bodily strata. and Germanic. resonating the state of affairs in the Gulf War. And one might find this -181opinion seconded in Milton's exclamation in Paradise Lost that "Wars. This of all procedures turns a man to stone.2) that warfare was no longer a suitable topic for epic. prompting Jean Baudrillard's announcement that the conflict was a "hyperreal" event that never took place (see Norris192-96). Most scholarship in medieval literature to have profited from Bakhtin's work has taken up the subversive. at the same time that capitalism asserts its origins in." the epic genesis of the New World Order. But what made possible an observation like Baudrillard's is the reality that the political and media superstructure that governed the Persian Gulf War narrative sought to establish a baffling series of discursive screens that hindered the reception of information and made dissident moral. novelesque. or else it is only suspended above him whom it may at any moment destroy. How much more varied in its devices. She initially defines as might "that which makes a thing of anybody who comes under its sway". [t]he might which kills outright is an elementary and coarse form of might. Simone Weil in her classic statement on the matter. indeed its role as the continuator of. however. or it will perhaps kill. wrought what for our culture is a more devastating fate: it turned both the agents and victims of violence not into stone. though perhaps in its more subtle manifestations. hitherto the only Argument / Heroic deem'd" (9. those historical traditions the European epic ostensibly legitimates: GrecoRoman. heteroglossia. as I have suggested. and ideological positions difficult to hold. tangential at least to the literary category we call epic. or which delays killing. how much more astonishing in its effects is that other which does not kill. Late capitalist manipulation of the "idea" of epic has created a curious temporal alembic for the epic that has no relation to either the past or future. astonishing in its effects.century Dante had declared in De vulgari eloquentia (2. Judeo-Christian. Poem of Might. (241-42) In its attempt to "bomb Baghdad back to the Stone Age. political.25). but into images. are at work in Mikhail Bakhtin's classification of the genre. The structural crises informing these issues so crucial to our negotiation of the contemporary sociocultural arena. Nevertheless. It must surely kill.
This shortcoming of Bakhtin's generic criticism has been articulated quite well.57 ) Bakhtin establishes most explicitly his fundamental dichotomy between these two genres. And as if to consummate this characterization of the novel as antagonist. Literary systems are comprised of canons. I think. because of its unneighborliness. ( 56 . it is this move to differentiate the novel from all other genres that remains with Bakhtin's extensive analyses of novelistic discourse. one must not risk impurity. Elizabeth J. critical hegemony enabling it to undo its other. Bellamy. one must respect a norm. where he writes: As soon as the word "genre" is sounded. It will not permit generic monologue. or monstrosity. Over all other forms it was to the novel that he directed his genre-based criticism. I believe. as Bakhtin himself admits. Indeed. What is more conventionally thought of as the novel is simply the most complex and distilled expression of this impulse. novel is the name for whatever force is at work within a given literary system to reveal the limits. . and applied these to a variety of literary genres. Consequently." indeed. one must not cross a line of demarcation. Although such efforts have contributed greatly to our understanding of medieval culture and the literature it produced. Always it will insist on the dialogue between what a given system will admit as literature and those texts that are otherwise excluded from such a definition of literature. his fundamental strategy for defining and delimiting the novel is to set it opposite the epic. . as soon as genre announces itself. And in doing so he expanded the definition of genre per se by grounding the concept more in the ontology and orientation of specific discourses to show that the novel was a more ubiquitous form than otherwise thought. Bakhtin was a novel critic. and that ultimately privileges the novel as it obscures some important factors of concerning the place of epic in literary history. norms and interdictions are not far behind. 3 This blind spot is partly due. "the novel does not participate in any harmony of the genres. to name a few.mono-/dialogism. Thus. and "novelization" is fundamentally anticanonical. "it gets on poorly with other genres" ( "Epic" 3 and 4). In every sense of the word. a limit is drawn. as soon as one attempts to conceive it. in Derrida's thinking on the problems of genre. the novel institutes its own discursive. (Introduction xxxi) However. And when a limit is established. of course." And although the epic is not -183often discussed elsewhere in his work. anomaly. as Michael Holquist writes. "sweeping epic proportions") it provides his criticism. a genre equally important to the Middle Ages. as soon as it is heard. in the essay "Epic and Novel: Toward a Methodology for the Study of the Novel. the artificial constraints of that system. to Bakhtin's erudition and the broad scope (we might say. . they also subscribe to a fundamental dichotomy in Bakhtin's thinking that precludes similar insights into the social function of epic. For Bakhtin. in her magisterial study of the unconscious in .
If anything. Hans Blumenberg. and it does not matter whether the discontinuity is real or pretended. not antiquity: The problem of legitimacy is bound up with the very concept of an epoch itself. But the oversight attending Bakhtin's grand scheme is significant enough to warrant comment. it is a problem that bears upon the reader and signifies nothing intrinsic to literary works that have their origins and subject matter rooted in the distant past. sees this tendency to render the past absolute as a problem with modernity. From the binary opposition on which this critical move depends and the privileged position it subsequently creates for the novel. which can never begin entirely anew. that of the -184modern age arises from a discontinuity. nor can it be continued ( 13 . notes that Bakhtin's is "one of the more noteworthy misunderstandings of the nature of epic subjecthood" (29 n. if the epic is impenetrable.18 ). however. (2) epic discourse is handed down by a national tradition that renders inaccessible personal experience and denies free thought. albeit surreptitiously. 56). for which he identifies three constitutive features: (1) the world the epic treats is that of its national heroic past. becomes an expression (even if negative) of novelistic desire in order to establish and maintain the novel's (unofficial) superiority.epic history. Indeed. or the "absolute past" as distinct from the "merely transitory past". and the incongruity between this claim and the reality of history. The problem of legitimacy is latent in the modern age's claim to carry out a radical break with tradition. two significant factors emerge: first. ( 116 ) Therefore. Bakhtin's novel must have the epic as a principle against which it can define itself. the epic's engagement with traditions. it is utterly finished and cannot be altered in any manner. the concept of epic in question is modeled by the novelistic imperative. and (3) the epic world exists at a distance. and its cognizance of its own status as artifact documents the specific conditions of ideological production manifest in a keen discursive texture. it is only for want of a way to read that resists this sort of predetermined textual alienation that epic histories are denied the Bakhtinian reader. And he does so. national or otherwise. simultaneously created the other epochs. and so second. and necessitates some crucial exceptions in the case of medieval literary culture. 4 It seems appropriate here to review briefly Bakhtin's overt characterization of the epic. who suffers a kind of invented illiteracy. If Bakhtin is going to redefine the novel he has to do the same for the epic. . The modern age was the first and only age that understood itself as an epoch and in so doing. Like all political and historical problems of legitimacy. Neither is this argument an invocation of universality to legitimate artistic representation.
the realm in which everything humans touch is altered and re-thought. . Not only does Bakhtin here rely on a fantasy of what those originary songs must have been and where they are (not) now but he also argues according to a fallacy noted by his colleague V. to use Barthes's terminology. . This. Because it is received fully formed the epic elides its origin. but rereading. possessed by a particular speaker. only literary consumers. But what Bakhtin's formulation ultimately does is to estrange the activities of consumption and production so that each exists in near total isolation. those hypothetical primordial songs that preceded both the epic and the creation of a generic epic tradition . that is in the events and the heroes described. and so become those who are "obliged to read the same story everywhere" ( 15 .16 ) in a gesture confirming epic's supposed monologism. point of view and evaluation are fused with the subject into one inseparable whole. . such songs we do not know. But to equate these two oppositions is to suppress the acute self-consciousness that the Homeric epic clearly demonstrates about its own production (even its crossbreeding of linguistic technologies). That story. We can therefore be. and western culture in general. The logical extension of Bakhtin's argument here is that one of epic's preeminent topics. and to ignore the manner . Voloshinov. that acknowledges only in the most tenuous fashion its social origin and orientation ( Voloshinov86). N. ( 17 ) Bakhtin's epic is the genre of an ahistorical world that renders ineffectual the Barthesian practice of reading. He says. . The epic is a text always already produced. but also in the point of view and evaluation one assumes toward them. that it posits the epic as a text that cannot be read. whether it be about our expulsion from Eden. He writes: [O]ne can only accept the epic world with reverence. its material (language) evanescent. The lacuna between origin and tradition is situated in the tension between oral and written texts. in which the word is taken not as a sign but as a sound. for it is beyond the realm of human activity. -185The premise for Bakhtin's definition is discernible through two comments in his argument dealing with the origin of epic.Perhaps this is the greatest problem I find with Bakhtin's epic construct. although we must presume they existed" ( 14 ). yet it bears no trace of its production because its originary scene is irretrievable. it is impossible to really touch it. is the reason why the epic cannot be read because. is immensely important for the medieval epic. "We can only conjecture about this past . more than any other. or the passing of a golden heroic age. is ultimately lost. This distance exists not only in the epic material. those who abide by the Law that prohibits not only reading as such. it could never have been written. the production of a working cultural history. Bakhtin does not consider for a moment the possibility that the epic as a record of its own origin in song might perform the sociocultural function of providing a medium for poetic historiography in societies that have no (or do not privilege) writing. according to Bakhtin's formulation. where Bakhtin would lose even the trace of a (former) present by canonizing it into an irretrievable past. it has no textual properties and affords the reader no point of access. that is.
so that the formal rhetoric Bakhtin holds responsible for the epic's monologic alienation in fact has the effect of foregrounding poesis. and its subject are perhaps not so great as Bakhtin might argue. . This is an intriguing moment in the Odyssey not for what it might tell us about "Homer" but for what it illustrates about the tradition in which the poem was produced: When they had put away their desire for eating and drinking the Muse stirred the singer to sing the famous actions of men on that venture. A sector of that vast referential field comprising the Homeric epic establishes a continuum between oral and written poetic media by creating a metaperformative space that thematizes the role of narrative in the epic. .in which it presents itself as a specimen of precarious intertextuality rather than the epitome of monologic discourse. . . . Achilleus. . [having] obvious and necessary reference not only to the present poem. taking in his ponderous hands the great mantle dyed in sea-purple. . Demodokos's singing bridges the gap between the past and the moment of performance. that past is not fixed but available to revisitation and revision. entertains the disguised Odysseus. . . . a touchstone or nexus of indication and reference . poet. shamed for tears running down his face before the Phaiakians. "A traditional text. . For the Odyssey is in the long run a poem of poets. poets. what Bakhtin attributes to the novel is equally integral to the epic: "[T]he 'depicting' authorial language [that] now lies on the same plane as the 'depicted' language of the hero" ( "Epic"27). . so that the lord of men. . These qualities are most evident in the performance of the old blind singer Demodokos from book 8 of the Odyssey. . and eras. . Agamemnon. for Demodokos's song is a vibrantly intertextual moment that breaks the closure of the Iliad and casts it in sustained dialogue with the songs at hand. with words of violence. king Alkinoos and the Phaiakians by singing part of the Trojan War saga." he insists. as a kind of Homeric self-portrait. and time. But a more reasonable proposition is that the episode demonstrates that the distances between a narrative. 5 Moreover.86 ) In an overliteral sense. . what is depicted here is Homer performing for his subject and confronting him with a passage from his own history. at the gods' generous festival. who. . ( 72 . . but Odysseus. its audience. . . . Even . The Iliadic subject is made immediate because it is characterized as both song and sign. and brought into a poetic space John Miles Foley describes as a connotatively explosive medium. . . This is to say that the performance of heroic narrative is more fundamental to the epic qua epic than the events conveyed. -186was happy in his heart that the best Achaians were quarreling. Here. whose fame goes up to the wide heaven. . . . . is "a diachronic document of great age and depth" with "roots which reach back to its pretextual history" ( 2 ). the quarrel between Odysseus and Peleus's son. but also to an enormous number of other poems. . . . . These things the famous singer sang for them. . drew it over his head and veiled his fine features. connected to the human voice. . how these once contended.
"as I have heard say. therefore. that it is only writing which preserves the stories of cultures long since gone. too. the many songs sung in the mead hall. and the presumed oral performance that frames the entire work -. Against that fate Beowulf's own project employs several verbal technologies simultaneously in order to ensure the continuation of a poetic heteroglossia. like its Homeric predecessors. Nor are they novels. The same sort of self-consciousness and bitextuality is an integral part of Beowulf. and quite ready to display the various ruptures that would identify it as a prime example of that which Julia Kristeva credits Bakhtin with introducing into literary theory. It would seem. that those literary works we call epics will not support Bakhtin's criticism." the oral and written performances of the epic are not necessarily lost to one another. The Anglo-Saxon epic. -188This brings me to the second of Bakhtin's observations about the origins of epic: . blatantly polysemous. isolated poetry. intertextual. Beowulf. is neither monologic nor temporally distant but. we have to look to the extratextual cultural mechanism that would appropriate the epic and fix it within an interpretive superstructure prohibiting reading. and that it is at heart a communal rather than solipsistic. a "man -187of many ways. and becomes a point of resistance against the threatening silence of Bakhtin's absolute past. Instead. then. 6 And because it is narrative per se that makes Odysseusanthropos polytropos. Epic in this sense becomes the potential scene of a struggle between competing readerships. thematizes its own role as an important documentation of the transition between oral and written cultures. And these present the possibility. but are manifest in an intensified dialogism where neither linguistic medium succeeds in obliterating the other. the "mosaic of quotations [wherein] any text is the absorption and transformation of another" ( Desire in Language66). namely. who is never at a loss for a tale" ( 148 )." which runs through the poem. Beowulf also emphasizes the dependence of the heroic ethos on an open-ended poetic performance in the present. as Allen Frantzen has recently suggested concerning the relation of some of the swords to writing in the poem.all these contribute to a traditional epic more than less cognizant of the fact that it inhabits more than one performative medium. and brings them to bear on the present (347ff. as James Redfield observes. in a manner greater than that noted in the Odyssey.Odysseus is a poet. rather.). to fathom what validity Bakhtin's theory of epic might have and how it effects the genre. a poem that foregrounds its oral construction and reliance on hearsay. Note for example the important formula mine gefraege. The thane on horseback singing Beowulf's praises while returning from the mere on the morning of Grendel's death. "an inventive and persuasive liar. The poem in fact uses motifs that become the marks of its transcription into a written text.
the absolute truth that itself existed. . considering what is surely the preeminent epic work of the period. Compare here the Persian Gulf War rhetoric of George Bush that circumvented the trauma of Vietnam by retrieving motifs from this century's Second Imperial War: the troops of Desert Shield/Storm were an "allied force" and Saddam Hussein "another Hitler. utterance. his attention falls toward Dante's Comedy. alta tragedia.allegory. . ( 14 . it would seem. the era of literary production in which Bakhtin most readily discerns the strength of epic discourse is the Middle Ages. Bakhtin's uncharacteristic silence about the genre of the Comedy suggests perhaps that in Dante's poem he has encountered a literary work that disrupts the restrictive dyad of "epic" and "novel. specifically what Dante's poem has in common with most other epics of the Middle Ages and Renaissance -. of beginnings and peak times -canonizing these events. . is employed as the object of a retrospective fallacy to legitimize the existing patriarchal order. The epic incorporation of the contemporary hero into a world of ancestors and founders is a specific phenomenon that developed out of an epic tradition long since completed. therefore. -189etc. the time-and-value contour of the past. These songs transfer to contemporary events . coincidentally. that we do know existed arose only after the epic was already an established form. But curiously." 7 The ruling class reads the epic as a reflection of its own imagined magnificence and then projects onto the past the values that will maintain its ascendancy in the present by identifying itself as the only link to a tradition embodying the absolute good. nor for that matter do any other epic poets unequivocally refer to their works as such. and Bakhtin consistently subscribes to this retrospective fallacy when he discusses epic. or.) is itself so mercurial. In a patriarchal social structure the ruling class does. song. Besides classical antiquity. . in a certain sense. the neoclassical ode. Bakhtin expresses great admiration for Dante. comparing him in a way to Dostoevsky ( "Time and Chronotope"158). and that therefore is as little able to explain the origin of the epic as is. . I believe. or the more elusive commedìa. Neither does Dante. As one might expect. Epic as an immutable. Bakhtin never refers to the Comedy as an epic. To identify the epic per se with its appropriation by a specific hegemonic readership. if you will. say.Those heroicized epic songs . thus attaching them to the world of fathers. and arose on the basis of an already ancient and powerful tradition. more than any other genre. speech. is a bit like blaming the victim. stable category is like most genres. as it were. in part no doubt because the term epos (word. only in the absolute past. belong to the world of "fathers" and is thus separated from other classes by a distance that is almost epic. while they are still current. tale.15 ) According to this argument the epic." The discursive element of the Comedy responsible for this subversion of Bakhtin's scheme is. alti versi. an effect of critical discourse and a delimitation with which poets might not be overly concerned. Those poets most often associated with the epic usually adopt a euphemism roughly equivalent to Milton's "heroic song" or Dante's alta fantasia.
in death. and that. As allegorical epic.remains an allegorical image as well. Dante's image -. . Precisely in the allegorized human image that Dante's poem seeks. rather. but as he might consider the evolution of the genre and how it is geared toward the interrogation of humanity and history.but the transformed figures are located in the nether world. Nor is it novelesque (that is. 3. And through that participation -. but rather an image whose aggressive referentiality foregrounds its sociocultural function to become part of human history. that drives the poem (see Neuse87. ( "Time and Chronotope"161-62) Yet this image in the Comedy is neither exclusively carnivalesque nor infernal. most importantly. the position he assumes relative to epic in his poem doesn't suggest that as a reader Dante found epic discourse inherently monologic. discredits the fundamental dualism on which Bakhtin's categories. Under such conditions man is in a state of allegory. . the relation to epic dramatized in the Comedy suggests a desire to inquire into the processes of epic poetry. contra-epic). its allegorical discourse allows it to participate in the epic tradition. 150-64). remain bound to the double image. more than any other work perhaps. . of course. But in Dante it is the monotheistic Judeo-Christian godhead and human history that are allegorized. not only as far as the epic poet himself might be concerned.) Because of its complexity. For this aspect is. The allegorical state has enormous formgenerating significance for the novel. depends.a move that defies the law of Bakhtin's genre -. its thoroughly allegorical nature is of the utmost importance. an epic that can negotiate (other than by simple inversion) those voices Bakhtin insists are unavailable. by which I mean an image that does not afford easy reference to (monologic) interpretive resolutions that would take it out of history. like so much theology. human and divine. . (One image the blind Milton laments in his invocation to light is that of the "human face divine" in Paradise Lost bk.the Comedy.both the image in the eternal light of Paradiso 33 and that of the bifurcated pilgrim poet -. and one can discern a parallel between their divisiveness in a polytheistic scheme and its revisitation in something like the medieval psychomachic rendering of the human subject. even to the point of revealing its flaws. related to metamorphosis. Bakhtin finds the essence of novelistic discourse: The indirect metaphorical significance of the entire human image.Michael Murrin contends that "allegory began with Homer's gods" ( 3 ). but rather polyphonic -190and desiring above all else to construct an epic in its own image. however. the Comedy does not merely appropriate an epic past. line 44. The clown and the fool represent a metamorphosis of tsar and god -. On the contrary. la nostra effige. 8 There can be little doubt that Dante took seriously the epic literature preceding the Comedy.
But Freccero straddles the fence a bit." Dante's poem has always been considered "a genre apart" ( 138 ). John Freccero identifies this passage as one that affects a generic transition "from epic to novel. thereby clearing a third ground where it can be stored safely away from the taxonomic status quo. 9 two members of the bella scola of classical poets from canto four. citing Lukács's observation that Dante wrote the last epic and the first novel as a prelude to his own suggestion that because in the Comedy "epic and novel exist. discursive estrangement of Bakhtin's epic converges with the historical. philosophical crises Dante explores in his poem at what I take to be a telling episode of Inferno 26: when the pilgrim and his guide encounter Ullysses and Diomedes among the false counselors. che par surger de la pira dov' Eteòcle col fratel fu miso? (26. the ensuing scene with Ulysses also engages all of what Dante knows about the epic tradition of antiquity. with what we might call its thousand points of light (26. part modesty topos ("and I curb my genius more than I am wont").111) of Limbo across which the revered poets stroll. Dante declared in the previous canto that his pyrotechnic metamorphoses of the thieves have surpassed the poetic abilities of both Ovid and Lucan (25. echoes the prato di fresca verdura (4. Another profoundly intertextual moment like the singing of Demodokos in the Odyssey. the exclusive dialogue here between Virgil and Ulysses is filtered through Statius by means of the fire in which the two Homeric heroes suffer. from Homer to Statius."e piu lo 'ngegno affreno -191ch'i' non soglio" (26. side by side. and Dante's interpolation of his epic predecessors is most explicit here when he asks Virgil: chi è 'n quel foco che vien sì diviso di sopra. Inferno 26 places the pilgrim poet in an awkward position. But perhaps more significantly. However." or so one supposes from the title of his essay. as it were. These are the same flames in which the deceased Polyneices and Eteocles continue their fraternal strife in Thebaid 12. Indeed Dante's inverted boasting -.21) -. ultimately mysterious and inaccessible. The pastoral simile describing the bolgia of fraudulent counselors. and so contextualizes the bella scola by reaching beyond its boundaries in the infernal regions to include at least twothirds of own Dante's fiction.52-54) . such a critical maneuver. because the Comedy's Statius of course is a purgatorial figure. is a point of entry to a scene that revisits and revises his experience in Limbo.94-102).The temporal. of the Comedy? Unable to place the poem in one category or another. particularly where the Comedy is concerned.part triumphant exclamation. But might this be the joke. like divinity itself.25-30). denotes the ineffectiveness of generic criticism and posits the Comedy. critics declare it an anomaly ("a genre apart").
and pray you again. is drawn back into a Homeric origin in an appropriately Oedipal gesture that preserves the classical past as a kind of incestuous tradition.'" an interpretation that would hinge solely on Dante's lack of Greek: "[T]he language -192that Virgil and Ulysses share is a common style.69 ) ["If they can speak within those sparks. "master. By initiating a dialogue between Virgil and a Ulysses in Statian flame (not to mention Diomedes' silence)."] The "desire" that causes Dante to bend toward the flame in which the two Homeric heroes burn is not unlike the "desire" sustaining Polyneices and Eteocles' antagonism after death. And as the interview with Homer's hero is about to begin. Dante's relation to the past is not unproblematic. che non mi facci de l'attendar niego fin che la fiamma cornuta qua vegna. lest these Greeks be disdainful of Dante's speech.including his own guide. che'l priego vaglia mille." diss'io. the high style of ancient epic" ( 142 ). vedi che del disio ver' lei mi piego!" ( 64 . And Virgil's ready intercession. ( 58 . Freccero suggests. That is. what Freccero rightly identifies as style invokes a discourse. Because when Virgil specifies the moral (and literary) coordinates of this particular duo. apparently confirms the distance between Dante and his progenitors -. "maestro.[Who is in that fire which comes so divided at its top that it seems to rise from the pyre where Eteocles was laid with his brother?] In one sense this moment typifies Bakhtin's epic. Dante effectively forecloses the antique past into a temporal loop of inaccessible (literary) history. the product of a much later antiquity. I earnestly pray you. that you deny me not to wait until the horned flame comes hither: you see how with desire I bend towards it.60 ) . Dante desires more than anything to be a part of the impending dialogue: "S'ei posson dentro da quelle faville parlar." I said. but then again neither are relations within the past any less difficult. Polyneices and Eteocles' funereal fire. unavailable to vulgar practioners. Yet considering Dante's concerns about bringing forth his own epic. however. that the "speech" in which Virgil and Ulysses engage is in this context "by no means 'language. assai ten priego e repriego. an ideology and a logic that might as well be a "language" in the sense of the structuralist's langue. that my prayer avail a thousand. he does so in terms that dangle his own poem before the Greeks as though they were suffering the fate of Tantalus: [E] dentro da la lor fiamma si geme l'agguato del caval che fé la porta onde uscì de' Romani il gentil seme.
] The same strategy by which Homer's Greeks brought the Trojans to defeat made possible the ascendence of Rome -. For the Comedy does indeed situate itself in a world of epic discourse. but no less necessary. . which because of its allegorical nature one has to locate somewhere within the historico-political structures of humanity. Statius's epic ends in a world wanting hope. But Dante in fact goes one better by giving a voice to the Greek that ultimately serves the Italian's scheme. Dante's greatest desire ("disio"). but at the junctures therein between speech/ writing.the both/and.[And in their flame they groan for the ambush of the horse which made the gate by which the noble seed of the Romans went forth. Despite Freccero's attempts to resolve the paradox of Lukács's liminal Comedy -. The estrangement of ancient epic staged in this episode fails again. The effect is to initiate an interrogation that reveals how these dyads cannot hold. history/prophecy. that the opposition of epic and novel is one among several which self-construct to reveal their insubstantiality at every turn. To establish a protocol for reading classical epic amid the explicit carnage of Statius's last book.and Virgilian epic. life/death. therefore. an otherworld away from the world of humanity. because by placing Homeric figures in a Statian motif Dante has established an intertext within the bounds of antiquity whereby the Homeric (and perhaps even the Virgilian) hero is cast in relation to the pessimistic funeral pyre of Thebaid 12. he is suffering in hell not for having stolen the Paladium from Troy. To insist that the Comedy is unqualifiedly "epic. as Dante does here. including those turns in the past. has always tried to be something other. but neither is the club of ancient poets so exclusive as it seemed earlier. he says ("diss' io") in this passage." But if it is not "apart. the arrival of Theseus notwithstanding. a disunited front whose fissures provide a sure foothold for ambitious though later practitioners. but for having coaxed his men to sail on into the otherworld. neither/nor categorization of Dante's poem -. that is. What might be said to bind the epic poets -193into a "tradition" here is a kind of mutual antagonism. necessarily qualifies the decorum that would keep both Virgilian and Homeric epics as "a genre apart. Dante's included. The model of the otherworld he seeks beyond the Pillars of Hercules is decidedly opposed to Dante's. Dante cannot take up the rear so easily here. Ulysses' epos cannot sustain its affiliation to Bakhtinian epic. is to speak to Ulysses." however. epic/novel. is at odds with the one idealized in Limbo.a tertia terra for epic might not be possible to chart. amid the ideological interstices of this world." the epic. The vision of epic (literary) history presented among the fraudulent counselors. a fallacy that a reading of the Comedy (as a reading of epics) will not support. I think. is in a way to subscribe to Bakhtin's dichotomous model of epic and novel. If Ulysses regrets having let the seed of the Romans into the world. Try though it might.
"the task of a historian is to strive to create conditions in which a new angle of vision will allow what now appears futile. in "an attempt to experience its influence directly and as nearly as possible on its own terms" ( 132 ). . inasmuch as it can be called an ongoing dialogue with the dead." "the sheer simultaneity of all that occurs. . Here the bella scola of Inferno 4 highlights the compounded intertextual qualities of both the tradition and the Comedy that permit the denizens of the vertical world a form of escape into narrative. We ought to consider also that the "autonomous character and power" ( 142 ) Dante's Virgil exhibits meets the criterion for the type of discourse Bakhtin calls Ich-Erzählung. thereby demonstrating that "epic" patriarchy of the Bakhtinian kind is neither monolithic nor inaccessible other than by the sole means of a half-hearted appropriation through simultaneity. But despite this concession. And it is precisely through his use of allegory that Dante initiates such a constellation. the Comedy as epic engages the world of the "fathers" in order to wrest it from medieval (and classical) patriarchal authority. Indeed. Such ecstatic simultaneity. he writes. sees the Comedy. and dead to take on new life" ( 111 ). however. .-194Bakhtin. Winthrop Wetherbee argues that "significantly new in Dante's engagement with classical poetry" was the way in which he resisted the wellestablished tradition of reading epic poetry. But the artist's powerful will condemns it to an eternal and immobile place on the extratemporal vertical axis. ." He suggests that Dante's poetic fullness comes from the contradiction and antagonism between these two components. Thus. which operates as an independent agent heedless of the author's desires ( Dostoevsky193). -195Dante's poetic project in fact undertakes the historian's task. For Benjamin. Dantean allegory is such that it . however. and that of Virgil in particular. to be distributed not upward but forward. like Piers Plowman. evident in the tension between the two axes: [T]he images and ideas that fill [the] vertical world are in their turn filled with a powerful desire to escape . tends to elide the play of differences that Dante inscribes in his epic. Each image is full of historical potential. as a poem that situates its allegory between vertical and horizontal axes: the horizontal consists of the contradictory multiplicity of this world whereas the vertical is the "other-worldly. as Thomas writes. backward. the first-person narration so crucial to the novel. . which Brook Thomas illuminates so well in his discussion of Walter Benjamin: a text is best historicized through the creation of a "'constellation' between its moment of production and its moment of reception" ( 176 ). in Bakhtin's reading the vertical world with its temporal logic that "consists in the sheer simultaneity of all that occurs" is ultimately what rules the whole and makes the Comedy such an impressive poem. and therefore strains with the whole of its being toward participation in historical events. ( 157 ) "The form of the whole wins out" ( 158 ).
ciò che per l'universo si squaderna. . . that which is dispersed in leaves throughout the universe. Taken as an inscription of orthodox medieval Christian cosmology. "The image. (494) . and subsequently a paradigm for readers of the Comedy. All these qualities of the fiction stem from the effort Dante makes to engage history by refusing to be "a passive reader of the past. "is a reflexive one": [O]bject and subject coincide and are turned back each upon itself as well as to each other. who are in turn presented a poem that they must actively engage (see Tambling31). some similarity with the likewise reflexive vision on the divine level. where he argues that in Dante's poem.142). -196legato con amore in un volume. is truly a literary intermediary. each turned back upon himself and to each other.refuses to commit the human image -including the images humans make of themselves -to dehistoricizing hierarchies of interpretation like the eschatology that underscores patristic exegesis. And in this respect there was. when he is crowned and mitered by Virgil in the terrestrial paradise of Purgatorio 27. In his now classic study The King's Two Bodies. that is.] Instead he finds most provocative what Dante places in medias rebus. But such a scheme is thwarted by the independence of the speaking subjects -ultimately independent it would seem of both divine and Dantean authorship -. Kantorowicz eschews a reading that emphasizes the pilgrim's vision of simultaneity in "la luce etterna." Kantorowicz writes. and thus opens up the text as a space for new and surprising insights" ( 96 ). "te sovra te corono e mitrio" (1. it creates a textual medium that demands that readers view not only the object from a new angle." This practice too puts him in the company of the epic poets of antiquity because it stresses the destabilizing polysemous qualities of their texts as well as his own.to an extratemporal realm where Bakhtin's vertical simultaneity rises above the historical allegory.and by the presence of such doctrinal anomalies as Trajan and Ripheus in the heavens of Paradiso 20. the moment when he becomes an epic poet. bound by love in one single volume.including pagan antiquity -. I think. at the very end of the Comedy. "poetic desire takes the form of looking for significance.85-87) [In its depth I saw ingathered. Ernst Kantorowicz suggests an important realignment of the Comedy's cosmic hierarchy. ( Paradiso 33. the Comedy would seem to yield everything -. 10 The pilgrim. on the human level. Instead. rather than overt meaning." where: Nel suo profondo vidi che s'interna. -. both author and reader.the coincidence of God and Son of Man and of Man in general and of the beholder in the state of perfection. with the words. This is a point well made. in Jeremy Tambling's deconstructive reading of the Comedy. but also the authorized interpretive schema that inform the readers themselves. then.
see further Stephan Kuttner. as I have attempted to show. reinterpreted. calls "instant history": "It telescopes roles.this is the good that humanity must learn to wrestle from commodities in their decline. where it can only participate in an economy void of the use-value that would validate the labor of its production and make it relevant to the world of human experience. ought to be understood as less an indication of his return to Limbo than a mark of his incorporation into the reflexive body of the poem. ( 50 ) -198Notes Taylor. whose physis is resemblance -. But Bakhtin's epic discourse. . in addressing the collusion of media and military in the Persian Gulf War. It blends into our repertory of imagery. R.61-63). forcing it to serve his binary order. parts. On the function of canon law. "Playing on the Margins" 1. is the confirmation of Dante as a reader/author who is capable of negotiating a past that for so long seemed absolutely lost (compare Inferno 1. It appeals to prior beliefs and predilections. for what this scene dramatizes in terms less theological (and more allegorical) than those of Kantorowicz. Following Bakhtin's logic. Moore. has the effect of fetishizing it in order to transform the product of human labor into the mere appearances of things. though equally significant. for a contrasting opinion. It triggers familiar responses. And if Dante defined the epic tradition as a medium for a kind of visionary poetic. then. it was surely in the vein of what Giorgio Agamben observes has long been essential to the human desire for community: To appropriate the historic transformations of human nature that capitalism wants to limit to the spectacle. or even attributed to one particular show" ( 3 ).It is also a convergence of allegorical author and reader. and outcome into the same act. The extensive history of epic literature demonstrates that epics are not produced as statements of inaccessible perfection but as artifacts to be read. Formation of a Persecuting Society. Bakhtin's treatment of the epic. I would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for a grant that allowed me to complete revisions of this paper and the staff of the manuscript room of the British Library for their courteous assistance. Virgil's subsequent disappearance." and. to link together image and body in a space where they can no longer be separated. I. Bakhtin's epic is not far from a criticism that sunk its ideological roots into an epic that represented the supreme grandeur of the human spirit and the universality of human experience. It is not easily dislodged. "Harmony from Dissonance. and thus to forge the whatever body. in fact the opposite is true. the epic genre and the image of humanity it presents would be relegated to the hyperreal realm of the commodity. Such a transformation is tantamount to the production of what George Gerbner. has never been a part of the epic poet's practice. -197Like the rhetoric of the New World Order.
In this case. . however. particularly Rabelais. Readings. For discussions of Bakhtin's works. Owl and the Nightingale. see Stallybrass and White. On the minstrels as marginal figures. 15966. see Clark and Holquist. "Reading as Poaching. 258-78. 295-320. 6. One might argue. misses the point. as a veiled critique of Stalinism." in De Certeau. 9. esp. because the English artist who inserted the gryllus might have been punning on the meaning of the letters in his own language. Hamburger's objection. 111-24. "Recent commentators on the working methods of medieval illuminators have drastically circumscribed their freedom. 31-43. the use of "text" as the dominant model of cultural understanding ("reading" clothes. Politics and Poetics of Transgression. stressing the relative acceptance of minstrels in the urban milieu of the later Middle Ages. On the later history of the Smithfield fair." n. see Randall. 4. Electronic World. Orality and Literacy. For a valuable survey of analogous marginalia. 8. All Smithfield Decretals references are to book. 117-38. For a contrasting view. see further Ong. cautioning against his utopian tendencies and broadening the category "carnival" to cover a range of symbolic inversion and transgression. The extent to which such artists were free to exercise their wit or express their personal fantasies remains controversial. and capitulum. material culture. Peter Stallybrass and Allon White offer a powerful analysis of Bakhtin's model. 5. 7. for example. 279-96. 43.) may be considered a form of "logocentric appropriation" ( Past and Future.367-68). esp. see further Geremek. On the epistemological implications of print. As Jeffrey Hamburger notes.322). -199- 3. I echo here a point made by in somewhat different language by Roger Chartier in "Texts." See also Michel de Certeau. 61-69. however. that the Latin legge does not mean "legs" ( Image on the Edge. 10. "Roles of Author and Artist. "Image on the Edge. esp. buildings." and further bibliography in Hamburger. Mikhail Bakhtin. See. As Michael Camille has recently noted. titulus. Camille's arguments are not always convincing and have been sharply criticized by Jeffrey Hamburger. see Page. Hindman. a justifiable reaction to romantic assumptions of creative autonomy" ( "Image on the Edge. Images in the Margins. etc. witness the recurring use of metaphors such as matrix or network for textuality or the frequent assumption that different discursive domains are ubiquitous within a given historical moment. and Lanham. esp."324). and on various fairs including Smithfield's. that the very language of poststructuralism in which a word such as logocentric takes shape is itself no less deeply imbued with the values of a society dominated by print and electronic media. Margins of Society. Practice of Everyday Life.2. Printing.
"Exempla. 359-60. see Roger S.' Bakhtin sees 'the world in general' obtruding on this classical epistemology from without. 233 n. Mathew Roberts. but compare the objections raised by Janson. which are seen as texts read by the writer. recognizing the license given (male) artists to deform them. Kristeva claims that "Bakhtin situates the text within history and society. 89. and Varty. see Randall. and on the use of episodes from popular romances in both the Smithfield Decretals and the roughly contemporaneous Taymouth Hours. for example. for the most part it is women who. Noble Lovers. Loomis. Gerard Caspary ( "Deposition of Richard II. Mary of Egypt also appear to depict episodes that are unattested in the standard versions of their lives in the Legenda aurea. Perfetti. "Poem and Spirit.14. Gabriel le Bras says of canon law: "Ces regles abondantes. On the popular circulation of legends of Mary of Egypt. see Brownrigg. 16. as an open totality of singular event-contexts. "Reynard the Fox". See her criticism of Bakhtin on this score. Hermeneutics.134). 17. The Smithfield Decretals have been used extensively in this way.11. grammar. 65). 18." esp."106). The possibility of tracing certain narrative patterns across class lines and throughout a culture has been explored extensively by Natalie Davis (see. 12. For examples of such lost episodes. compare Althusser's principle that ideology is inscribed in signifying practices ( Belsey.2). and rhetoric as "disarticulated from 'the knowledge of the world in general. at once concretizing its abstract potentiality and radically denying its abstract unity" ( Poetics." Some of the illustrations of Theophilus and St. "Though not exclusively. which records Innocent IV's sentence of deposition against Frederick II. 13. For the use of preaching exempla as a possible source. see. Jones. -20015. "Taymouth Hours. 42). and into which he inserts himself by rewriting them" ( Desire in Language. Rietz-Rüdiger Moser notes that in medieval German cities participation in carnival . "Taking Laughter Seriously" 1. The text first appeared in her book Séméioitiké in 1969. and Owen. argues that whereas De Man sees logic. in a response to Paul De Man's reading of Bakhtin. Dialogics. Medieval Medical Miniatures. Critical Practice. Apes and Ape Lore. refuse to ridicule themselves and view the laughter of others as an instrument of control over them" ( "Patron or Matron?"361). for example."189) notes that according to Adam of Usk the deposition of Richard II in 1399 was justified on the basis of the chapter Ad apostolice dignitatis sedem of the title De re judicata of the Sext ( 2." 14. Similarly. As Madeline Caviness argues. her Fiction in the Archives) and by Paul Strohm in Hochon's Arrow. see further Duncan Robertson. 307. Dieu les a inscrites dans le coeur de l'homme" ( "Le droit classique. I draw here on remarks made in Lesley Smith's recent essay on the medieval Bible.
The opposing views of Helmbrecht as either comic or serious are best represented by the debate between W. Heidy Greco-Kaufmann ( Kampf des Karnevals) concludes that neither Moser's view of carnival as conservative Church propaganda nor Bakhtin's view of carnival as the property of the masses accurately describes the cultural significance of carnival for medieval and Renaissance civilization. insisting that "the author wished to preach a sermon on the ills of misplaced -201ambition" and therefore arguing that the comic elements were only incidental to the work's overall purpose ( "Composition of Meier Helmbrecht. farcical function ( "Structure and Design." All references to Helmbrecht. T. for example. Nordmeyer brings up the issue of the tale's alleged "realism. claimed that realistic depictions of the lower classes were incompatible with the sublime and were therefore relegated to the realm of comedy ( Mimesis. or of a tragicomedy at best" ( Structure and Design. . 5. although within the context of his concept of "grotesque realism. intended to instruct. serious function or a grotesque. an analysis of the problematic relationship between realism and laughter would lead to greater understanding of how the comic text works in the 3. the "idealism" of courtly literature. Jackson's study of Neidhart's influence on Wernher's poem. there is no reason to believe they appeared any more so to medieval audiences ( Studien zur deutschen Märendichtung. reminding us that although the characters of Schwank literature might seem more real to us. 4."344)." Although there is not the space here to do so. see Petra Herrmann 's study. Comic literature is often dismissed as an interest in "realism" vs. Helmbrecht). Parshall's edition ( Wernher der Gartenaere. Jackson opposed Nordmeyer. See also William E.262). Fischer shares this point of view. For a thorough treatment of the carnivalesque in Neidhart's poetry. which would undercut the notion of carnival as a free and liberating phenomenon ( "Lachkultur des Mittelalters?"95)."264). 2. affirming that their portrayal of the lower classes is as stylized as that of the nobility in courtly literature ( "Realism in Medieval German Literature. In terms of Helmbrecht. as well as English translations.festivities was compulsory."58). Zur Dichtung Neidharts. based on the German edition by Ulrich Seelbach. References are to line. Karnevaleske Strukturen. Erich Auerbach. In a recent response to Moser's article. 130). David Heald has objected to the stock belief that Schwänke and fabliaux depict life as it really was. The contrast of ideal versus material concerns is perhaps a more fruitful way to describe the opposition scholars usually describe as ideal versus real. Bakhtin himself used the word realism rather brashly. Nordmeyer challenged the common assumption that the tale was an exemplum. 22). Nordmeyer follows Auerbach's assumption that realistic description in the medieval text fulfilled this either/or function. H. have been taken from Linda B. arguing that the tale's basic design is "that of a comedy. Jackson and George Nordmeyer." using as his starting point Auerbach's assertion that realism in medieval literature had either a figural.
4. . and omniscience generally attributed to the fool. 1523. moreover. "Dangerous Dialogues" 1. 101). or any other games publicly at the Palais or the Chastelet or in any other public place before a group of people under threat of exile from this kingdom and confiscation of all material goods. et de confiscation de tous leurs biens. . a defendu et defend à tous clercs et serviteurs. and 1536. . and Petit de Julleville. ni ailleurs en lieux publics. . . Epîtres morales et familieres du Traverseur ( Poitiers. cited by Harvey. que doresnavant ilz ne jouent publicquement au Palais et Chastelet. heureux des jours de fête. 2. History books do not lack examples when feasts and revolts were side by side] ( Fête et révolte13). "La Cour . ne aultres. . he possesses a certain intellectual ability that distinguishes him from the fool. . Les chroniques du passé ne manquent pas d'épisodes où la fête et la révolte se voisinaient" [revolutionary projects like to present themselves as if linked to excessively joyous celebrations. quoted by Petit de Julleville.broader framework of medieval literature. -2026. In addition. sec. 5. 226. Additional images of the world upside-down surface in the Les Menus Propos 12728 and 243-44. . jud. sotties. including sotties. . moralitez ne aultres jeux à convocation de peuple. that as of this moment they may not perform farces. All translations of sotties and other secondary sources are mine unless otherwise indicated. they must ask the Court's permission to perform and produce any play under threat on being forever ousted from the Palais as well as the Chastelet] (Archives nationales. Bercé insists that "les projets révolutionnaires aiment à se présenter comme liés aux explosions de gaîeté aux débordements. 3. . 59. X. buffoonery. 71. sotties.. . Arden ( Fools' Plays) and Aubailly ( Monologue) maintain that although the sot displays the qualities of licentiousness. . References to the various sotties are to line. sur peine de bannissement de ce royaume. The title pages of several sotties in the Picot anthology provide production dates during the carnival seasons of 1512. Répertoire du théâtre comique. McQuillan. 1545). sur peine d'estre privez à tousjours. 7. tant du Palais que du Chastelet de Paris . See Carnival in Romans by Le Roy Ladurie. happy on feast days. tant dudit Palais que dudit Chastelet" [The Court has forbidden and forbids all clerks from the Palais as well as the Chastelet du Palais . Theatre of the Basoche. It should be understood that "farce" designated medieval plays in general. . 1524. et qu'ilz en demandent congé de ce faire à la dite Cour. Jehan Bouchet. Répertoire du théâtre comique. farces.
Some Chaucerian narrators display a greater degree of psychological consistency and dramatic selfhood than others. confiscation of material goods and the pain of being publicly whipped in the streets of the city] ( Clercs du Palais. le bannissement. 1456-1502. Petit de Julleville also discusses the "Affaire Cruche (Répertoire du théâtre comique". most notably the Wife of Bath and the Pardoner. 1 and 2). for example. Picot notes that "c'est aux suisses surtout que le pape promettait écus et ducats. "Heteroglossia and Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale" 1. Theatre of the Basoche. Some other examples of Chaucer's use of literary language are in the form of erudite lists: The Book of the Duchess. . 3. 138). tome 2. must be seen as the 'overdetermined' manifestation of a multiplicity of structures that intersect to produce that unstable constellation the liberal humanists call the 'self'" ( Sexual/Textual Politics. 2062-72. 5. 13-14.8." In Chaucer's Poetics I discuss and illustrate the disjunctive and overtly artificed properties of Chaucerian narrative in general and the dream visions and selected Canterbury Tales in particular. p. Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris. 228-29. and his art.1940-50. The Knight's Tale. 1054-74. 725-39. 10. 156 nn. I. from the practice of modern interpreters of reliable and unreliable narrators. The Franklin's Tale. 10). But he insists that the languages -203deployed by the authorial self do not belong to him but are elements of the unstable constellation that constitutes the polyglossia of any national language.1367-1456. cited by Harvey. 5. exile. but even in these instances rhetorical analysis reveals gaps and clashes that dissociate Chaucer's narratorial voices. see Stephen Barney's Chaucer's Lists. see my discussion of the Pardoner in 4. Bakhtin does not share the extreme postmodern position. 2. 388420. Jordan. by Toril Moi: "Conscious thought . V. exploitant le mécontentement provoqué chez eux par la parcimonie de Louis XII" [the pope promised écus and ducats to the Swiss. Troilus and Criseyde. All Man of Law's Tale references are to line. 112-14). but it now involves prison. On the question of the subject. 9. Fabre describes Parliament's severity under Louis XI" "Il ne s'agit plus de quelques jours de punition au pain et à l'eau: c'est la prison. la confiscation des biens et la peine du fouet dans les carrefours de la ville" [it is no longer a question of a few days on bread and water. . The House of Fame. On this matter.14781510. . thereby exploiting their discontent with Louis XII's frugality] ( Receuil général des sotties. VII. as articulated. 326-34.3123-48." Bakhtin takes the authorial self for granted as the stable and centered "orchestrating" agent of novelistic discourse. On the general question. Chaucer quotations in text and page references in notes are from the Riverside Chaucer. The Nun's Priest's Tale. As such a "liberal humanist.
As such its results focus on rhythmic tendencies both in the overall metrical system and also at particular positions in the metrical line. and this rule holds for Chaucer notwithstanding his subtle mastery of the verse paragraph. but not in the rhythmic variation they illustrate. which are difficult to emend away. together with a Russian school interest on a broad statistical base. these biases affect mainly syllable count. The method is described in my "Prosody and the Study of Chaucer" and "Meter and Performance in Machaut and Chaucer. But the same predisposition toward iambic regularity actually saves most of Chaucer's key rhythmic variations from editorial tampering. These were the basis of the original metrical study reported in "Prosody and the Study of Chaucer. whose metrical understanding still works largely from nineteenthcentury premises about stress and rhythm.Chaucer's Poetics (127-36) and of the Wife in "Wife of Bath. either on their own -204or by reproducing the emendations of previous editors. book 1. for . minus the foursyllable lines. in an attempt to "restore" the Chaucerian line. 2. In practice. tenth-position prominence is governed directly by a rule requiring major. by deleting extrametrical or metrically resolved syllables and by supplying initial syllables for headless lines. The result is really a late Victorian line. and instead editorial tradition has found ways (tilted stress. The rhyme itself conspires with rather than confers stress. is the only absolute positional rule in most rhymed English pentameter." For this chapter I have added samples from Gower's In Praise of Peace (the entire poem. Tenth-position stress (not necessarily the same as tenth-syllable stress). For example. including Chaucer's. Special rhyming effects do occur. lines 218-14 of Troilus and Criseyde. "Dialogics and Prosody in Chaucer" 1. or rhyme stress as it is often called. level stress) to hear variant cadences as normal iambic ones. Rhythmic variations tend to involve nouns. and the Machaut sample is the Jugement dou Roy de Behaingne. as exemplified in the work of Marina Tarlinskaya. from the same lines in Corpus. differ in details of spelling and punctuation. edited by Fisher. which editors still regularize." Guthrie. The metrical study uses a generative apparatus developed by Paul Kiparsky on principles articulated by Roman Jakobson. The original study used Corpus Christi for Chaucer to escape the biases of modern editors. verbs." The Chaucer sample is the entire Corpus Christi MS of Troilus and Criseyde (references are to book and line). quoted below from Fisher (whose text is based on the Campsall MS). Hoccleve's Regement of Princes (lines 1-500). with the result that a study of rhythmic structure based on a modern edition would give substantially the same results as the one based on Corpus Christi. and Lydgate's Testament (lines 1-500). in Oeuvres. All quotations of Chaucer are from The Complete Poetry and Prose of Geoffrey Chaucer. edited by Hoepffner. unlike purely generative studies. and adjectives. 385 lines) and Cinkante Balades (the first 500 lines). which have focused only on overall rules and tendencies.or minor-phrase closure there.
215. The claim that Chaucer never uses a French word when an English one is available ( Nolan. see Waldron. . and thus acknowledge the power of. On medieval literacy in general. Vergili Maronis Opera. Quotations from the Eneados are from Virgil's Aeneid Translated. French. "John Trevisa". 63). the distribution of loanwords in the poem suggests that even a relatively early naturalization like joye still evoked the French register as long as it retained a cognate in Middle French. "When [medieval children] first practised recognising and pronouncing words. hunting terms) retained their French flavor just as cooking terms do today. edited by Coldwell. so that every literate child was a minimal reader and speaker of that language" (80). in Latin. The discussion of Chaucer's French sources draws on Wimsatt's list of line correspondences ( Chaucer and the French Love Poets. "Trevisa's Original Prefaces." As he notes. and Latin into the fifteenth century. "Education of the Courtier. His figure of 27 percent reflects the fact that he worked from Kittredge." 2. "John Trevisa and the Use of English"."3) is simply wrong. Heteroglossia. with references to book and line. Book of Middle English. see Orme. But these are just that. "Dialogism. The passage quoted is taken from Burrow and Turville-Petre. Chaucer's Romance Vocabulary. precisely because they only flirt with breaking. 3. Mersand makes a similar point ( Chaucer's Romance Vocabulary. chapter. Waldron. argue from this that Duchess is adamantly Anglo-Saxon. see Bäuml.2965-66). including the teaching of English.g. the texts were . Mersand also observes that the incidence of romance words in the vocabulary of The Book of Duchess (30 percent of the total) is lower than in Chaucer's later poems. As to which loanwords Chaucer actually thought of as French ( Mersand. the rhyme-stress rule. 4.example. 5) or beryis: mery is ( CT VII. special effects. 155-62). It seems to me that the cup of French is half-full and filling. For a full critical edition with variants. the (relatively) radical enjambment of "That in science so expert was that he / Knew wel that Troie sholde destroied be" ( Troilus and Criseyde 1. "On the Properties. and Late Medieval Translation" 1. and line. and entertaining." Quotations from Virgil are taken from P. "Varieties and Consequences. 63-64). For readings of specific Middle English texts as dialogic translations. For a general discussion of education in the upper ranks of English society. and Lawler. with references to book.67-68). and they are possible. edited by Mynors. see Pinti. before Wimsatt's more thorough source study. . Brewer ( Chaucer and Chaucerians.. "Art of Expropriation."209)." Scholarly discussion of Trevisa can be found in Edwards. and -205that technical words (e. 3. . 2-7) and Nolan. citing Brewer ( "Art of Expropriation. or the extrametrical syllables after tenth position in Troye: fro ye ( Troilus and Criseyde 1. 4.2. Pinti.
see also Ellis. Hermeneutics. See note 3 above. Gavin Douglas. Useful as I believe his categories are. Bakhtin. respectively. for further work on medieval translation theory. an act of appropriation that occurred in different modes throughout the Middle Ages." the latter being for Bakhtin "a unit of language."73). -20610. 5."Translation and the Aesthetics of Synecdoche" and "Alter Maro. Robinson does forthrightly admit to the "tentativeness and contingency" of his proposed categories and invites his readers to invent others ( Translator's Turn. I do no mean to imply all translations somehow constitute "novels": I mainly want to recognize that. See Steiner. as Copeland has shown (in Rhetoric. and McClellan. "A commentary is thus an 'enarrated' text. though." See." the former "a unit of speech communication" ( "The Problem of Speech Genres. for only a few examples. and Translation). for further discussion of the importance of commentary and marginalia for the study of medieval texts. "Chaucer. "Chaucer. Spenser. 1 ( "Understanding as Translation") for a similar argument. Ganim. particularly his emphasis on "dialogical bodies" and what seems to me his tendency to oversimplify medieval translation theory and practice." I would like to take the opportunity in this essay to articulate in greater detail some of the methodological ideas underwriting these articles and to offer a more direct analysis of Bakhtin's theories in relation to translation. 7. The standard scholarly work on Gavin Douglas is Bawcutt. and Translation. For a fuller discussion. Medieval Translator. . see Holquist. 13. Rhetoric. "Bakhtin's Theory of Dialogic Discourse.a particularly interesting comment in light of the fact that. Chaucer and the Social Contest. I should say I am not convinced by every part of Robinson's argument. 8. see Canitz. 9. Shoaf. Alter Maphaeus. Chaucerian Theatricality. 18-20. inasmuch as the dialogization of any (particularly any authoritative) discourse undermines what Bakhtin characterizes as the centripetal forces of language. 12. Bakhtin distinguishes the "utterance" from the "sentence. and Griselda". see Copeland." We do not necessarily need Bakhtin to get us this far. Needless to say. Knapp. Engle. a translation is an instance of the "novelization" of a source-text. "Literary Theory" and "Notes". For interesting thoughts on the relation of simultaneity to dialogism. Hermeneutics. chap. See the articles by Baswell ( "Talking Back to the Text") and Irvine ( "'Bothe text and gloss'"). "From Aeneid 6. and a gloss in any format stood in a dialogic relation with the source text" (90) -. As Irvine remarks. 141). For more recent published work on the Eneados. medieval translation in so many ways amounts to a new "format" for academic commentary. Dialogism. 11. and Vance. After Babel.
"quis talia fando / Myrmidonum Dolopumue aut duri miles Vlixi / temperet a lacrimis?" ( II. see Sturges. 5. This section has also been published as an independent essay ( Bakhtin. For a complete account of the relations between this commentary and Wycliffite theology. 4. Alter Maphaeus. In place of Arma uirumque cano. "The batalis and the man I wil discrive. Virgil's text reads. As Bawcutt notes. 20." 14.a substitution that underscores his descriptive "witnessing" of the Latin text for a Scots audience. "Middle English Version. Women's Writing in Middle English. Morse. 2. 3. 105-8. 19." does refer to Douglas's marginal commentary to the Eneados as "dialogic" (113). and Pinti. Although she does not explore the term or its ramifications in any detail. and 7 and 8.to Eneados". Following by and large the format of the printed edition of Virgil published by Jodocus Badius Ascensius ( Paris. Morson and . "Gavin Douglas". 18. Douglas makes similar changes between Eneados 5 and 6. I have modernized punctuation and capitalization. Douglas directs his reader's attention to this role in the first translated line of the Aeneid. and have expanded abbreviations. Ruth Morse. On Douglas's Eneados functioning as a "wlgar Virgill. 15. 16. Douglas divides each of the Aeneid's twelve books into chapters. Gavin Douglas. 6 and 7. "The Chronotopes of Monology in Chaucer's Clerk's Tale" 1. Mikhail Bakhtin." A critical edition of the text and commentary is in progress." beginning with a striking substitution for an easily translated word -. 17. See Bawcutt. "Medieval Authorship and the Polyphonic Text" 1. have argued that Bakhtin's thought is an almost organic whole. Douglas writes. "Discourse Typology in Prose")." see Bawcutt. without the sorts of tensions I have described here. these changes are in all of the Eneados manuscripts and there seems to be no doubt they are Douglas's own ( Gavin Douglas13941). Clark and Holquist. For a full accounting of the Soliloquies' sources. "Gavin Douglas. For a useful anthology of selections from these and other women writers. 9395. "Alter Maro. For a full description of this text. -207Sturges. see Migne's edition of the Latin text. in this and all subsequent quotations from the Soliloquies. 1501) from which he was working." Farrell.6-8). see Barratt. "Anti-Wycliffite. see Sturges. Soliloquiorum animae ad deum liber unus.
Knapp describes lines 932-38.Emerson answer effectively ( Mikhail Bakhtin. Which is the comic overstatement? 3. Berrong argues that "'Popular culture. she finds it "hard not to see comic overstatement" ( Chaucer and the Social Contest. See my discussion below. but Walter frequently hales her before a crowd to demand its performance. 134) in them. the tale is far too little concerned with interior life to be read as an existential analysis of Walter's neuroses or Griselda's inhibitions. Most readers. as a woman kan" ( III. Philippe de Mézières. in arguing that the "impersonated artistry" ( Disenchanted Self. 5. He does not explain why an exaggeratedly melodramatic tone should be considered realistic. Bradbury. Leicester. I have cited the Clerk's Tale from the Riverside Chaucer in this essay.Koutouzoff160). Griselda's virtue is most often--though not always--a domestic one.227-28). "Popular-Festive Forms and Beliefs in Robert Mannyng's Handlyng Synne" 1. For example. Berrong uses the work of Peter Burke ( Popular Culture) . 111-19). Severs discerns a "realistic heightening" of emotional effect in Chaucer's changes to his sources ( Literary Relationships." ( Golenistcheff. Even so. Bakhtin also discusses the chronotope of a distinctly private space in the public world from late or postclassical autobiographies like Augustine's Confessions (144). All references are to line. recognized by Utley as iconographic. But wherever in the chain of retellings such changes were made. -2086. my central point--that each of the Griselda texts pursues its purpose with a monologic strategy--remains sound.' for Bakhtin. discusses the three most distinctive--and highly atypical--narrators in the Canterbury Tales. 12) of each tale's textuality creates its narrator. 4. The Petrarchan phrases do not occur in Christine's direct source. have seen something quite different: a conscious effort to counter unthinking medieval antifeminism. who describes Griselda's "corage vertueux plain d'umilité et de toute meurté en son pis vriginal" [sic] and "sa belle maniere et sa grant vertu. as "self-conscious". 2. was quite simply the culture of those outside the power establishment. 13). The word is used again (245) to describe the images of the ox stall and water pot. Philippe's Livre de la Vertu du Sacrement de Mariage is a translation of Petrarch made about 1385. He does not discuss the Clerk's Tale. The lines are also a pointed response to Alice of Bath's experience that "half so boldely kan ther no man / Swere and lyen. which praise women as more constant than Job. 238). it was entirely separate from-scorned and excluded by--those in power who had their own 'official culture'" ( Rabelais and Bakhtin. The combination of public and private in the Clerk's Tale is particularly striking. however.
478-79. who had the advantage of three manuscripts not known to Furnivall and who uses as her base text MS Bodley 415. 256. 1978). but that we can find much more profound. Popular Culture. I am very grateful to Professor Biggar for his generous advice and assistance. In "Discourse in the Novel.: Kraus. as I argue below. N.to argue against the conception of popular culture he assigns to Bakhtin (13-16). resulting in the dialogism that he celebrates over monologic and authoritarian discourse. Davis. For a compact overview of this historiographical movement. where Bakhtin outlines his concept of heteroglossia. Manuel Des Péchés. although I use Furnivall's titles for the inset tales. Middle English Literature. esp. Arnould. 5. 4. All Bakhtin's writings further his campaign against "monologism"-against the reduction of any idea or discourse to one logos--resulting in a terminological chaos that is only compounded by the use of his work in translation. 6.) For an account of the manuscripts and the textual problems besetting this work. dialectical forms of argumentation in the practice of medieval writers ( "Rhetoric in the Middle Ages"). Cheese and the Worms. medieval rhetoricians taught primarily the kind of shallow rhetorical accommodation in question here. See "Discourse in the Novel. 9663-76. see Burke's French Historical Revolution." Bakhtin also draws the distinction I make here between a superficial accommodation to the needs of one's audience (a rather -209shallow "rhetorical double-voicedness") and a genuine dialogue (354). (Most of my citations by Sullens's line numbers can be found about four lines earlier in Furnivall. when it appears. the admission into what he considers "novelistic" discourse of competing "languages" with their own competing ideologies. Handlyng Synne. Richard McKeon argued in a classic article that. I cite the minimalist 1983 edition of Idelle Sullens."263. and his review of Sullens's edition. Fiction in the Archives. Furnivall prints the text in his edition of Handlyng Synne.Y. 7. lines 571-86. but. Furnivall edited the poem for the Roxburghe Club in 1862 and reedited it for the Early English Text Society in 1901 and 1903 in parallel columns with its French model. I find Bakhtin's and Burke's conceptions of medieval popular culture wholly compatible. A new EETS edition is in preparation by Raymond Biggar and Susan Schulz. Le Roy Ladurie. For the date. in the simpler rhetorical handbooks available before the early modern rediscovery of Quintilian and of the Greek works on rhetoric. 2. see the note from Raymond Biggar in Bennett. which. Ginzburg. 3. In the interim. Montaillou. The Early English Text Society edition was reprinted in one volume (Millwood. . Burke. 7993. now recognized as more reliable than Furnivall's Harley 1701. will present in parallel columns the most important manuscript versions.
55 n. has an erotic vocabulary that is "very impressive indeed" ( Medieval Popular Culture. Of related interest are essays by Boyle (30-43) and Shaw (44-60) in Heffernan." attested in three citations from the Acta Sanctorum and one from Caxton's edition of the Golden Legend ( Loomis. quotes the rule: "omnino caveat vanitatem profundi vel pomposi dictaminis. 10. 1-12. Middle English Literature. Popular Literature of Medieval England. Mannyng refers to a source in Latin (9088). Middle English Dictionary. motifs N271 "Murder will out" and Q551 "Miraculous manifestations as punishments. Although only Mannyng's sequel (921357). 93). Robertson discusses Mannyng's use of the term "pryuytees" ( Cultural Tradition. Magic in the Middle Ages. Motif-Index of Folk-Literature. -21017. "sigalder. 205. his statement that "yn yngland . Manuel Des Péchés. 12. Burchard of Worms. . "'Parson's Tale. 16. For two good and complementary accounts of this simultaneous overlap and conflict. for the connection to Dante's treatment of the deadly sins in the Purgatorio. 46. concerning a cure at a shrine in Wilton. For sources and analogues." "sigaldrie. 107-8.v." 14." and Patterson. White Magic. the medieval examples are most frequently from religious contexts for the very reason we are exploring here. and. Gurevich notes that the Latin penitentials contain detailed descriptions of prohibited acts and that one of his authors." "sigaldren. English Medieval Narrative.'"334-47. see Kieckhefer. takes place in England. 15. .17275). and Russell. s. Bennett. 164-66." Although these motifs are widely disseminated in later periods when the folkloric sources are much richer." 18. 9. 11. In Sisam. Fourteenth Century Verse and Prose. and Sisam.8. He shows that the penitential treatises addressed to the clergy warn against revealing secret and unusual sins to the laiety (173-74). the clerical control over the recording of oral folkloric materials. 26-27. Turville-Petre. Boitani. See note 4 above. Ricardian Poetry.4 "Murdered man's corpse sticks to murderer. / Fyl þys chaunce þat was so hard" (9015-18) implies that he imagined the whole incident taking place there. 79). "Cultural Tradition. Stith Thompson. 13. see Burrow. Two excellent accounts of Mannyng's work in this context are Robertson. See Q551. Sisam identifies the city in question as Kölbigk in Saxony. Variants in the Cambridge manuscript include stroppe for sloppe and mikel for melk. see Arnould.2."4. . "Politics and Poetry. Fourteenth Century Verse and Prose. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages.
19. Kieckhefer. Igratefully acknowledge the Jean Picker Fellowship that released me from teaching so that I might write this article. and European Witch Trials90-92. 23. as Clark and Holquist write.48-49). Patterson ( "'Parson's Tale. An important discussion of this subject can be found in Masao Miyoshi. I cannot agree with Boitani ( English Medieval Narrative. Indeed. 22. Richard Neuse. see also Chomsky. Sullens's edition.e. 20. Proverbs on the themes "ashes to ashes" and "death. do not free his dyadic structures from the -211complex logic of supplementarity that Bakhtin seems to ignore. For this reason. Year 501. 190-92. Steven Mailloux ( "Interpretation") offers insightful commentary on the Reagan administration's deconstruction of the ABM treaty as a part of its Star Wars propaganda. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. and Andrew Taylor for their commentary on this argument.'"345) and his reference to Wenzel ( " Source for the 'Remedia. 25-26) that Mannyng's abstention from discussing pryuytees is "puritanical. "and proposes one master division within all 3. In a similar vein. These circumstances." even in the advised sense in which he uses the word. Handlyng Synne. Appendix 2. Sherman. Russell. The closest analogue that I can find to this passage is from the Piers Plowman B-Text. in formulating his theory Bakhtin dismisses the generic plurality already available to literary critique. My sincere thanks to Tom Farrell. 156-57. 24. "Problems of Bakhtin's Epic" 1. 47-49. "Borderless World?". 21. / Or a knyght from a knave there" (6.'"451). the great leveller" are of course very common. 2. I ought to note here an issue that I hope will be sufficiently addressed in the following discussion. where churls and their bones are also evoked: "For in charnel at chirche cherles ben yvel [i." Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist offer a compelling insight to the possibility that epic is actually a Bakhtinian code word for the dicta of Soviet socialist realism. briefly tabulates the known sources and analogues for Mannyng's tales. 181. which determined the writing of novels at the time when Bakhtin formulated his theories of novelistic discourse ( Mikhail Bakhtin. Magic in the Middle Ages. difficult] to knowe. however. Bakhtin constructs "epic" as a kind of theoretical strawman to be foiled by his equally theoretical "novel. ." Yet it is clear throughout Epic and Novel and elsewhere that just as he associates the novel with novelistic discourse so is the epic synonymous to "epic. 4.. 27374).
See also 287-88.91). 10.") that the Odyssey is the Iliad's "feminine" counterpart and already belongs to a period of decadence. 1360430. 7. and in its dialogue it defines what epic is to become for later participants in the tradition as it redefines or provides a gloss on the nature of the Trojan saga. refusing to let it reside in the absolute. one of its great achievements is that it drags the Iliad into the dialogic arena. The Coming Community. David Community. Susanne Lindgren Wofford in The Choice of Achilles has argued this point most compellingly concerning Homeric. The Odyssey. 9. Voloshinov writes. 8. London: Routledge. Translated by Michael Hardt. Redfield puts considerable stock in G. -212Bibliography Aers. "Making of the Odyssey. and we might infer "masculine. writes that. 6. does not translate well across either spatial or temporal bounds. . then the other depends on my addressee. given the society in which he lived. If one end of the bridge depends on me. A word is territory shared by both addresser and addressee. Faultlines. by the speaker and his interlocutor" ( Marxism and the Philosophy of Language." past. historicizing Bakhtin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1988. appropriate though it might have been to Bakhtin's circumstances. "A word is a bridge thrown between myself and another. Neither does such a dialogic context result in the Odyssey novelizing the Iliad as a sort of carnivalesque parody. it makes sense for Bakhtin to have perceived a monological. 86). S. and Renaissance epic. Giorgio.genres" (287). References are to canto and line. because of its difference. 1993. is epic. Gender. 59). Kirk's argument in The Songs of Homer ( Redfield." observes that Bakhtin's "essentially binary" thinking constructs oppositions that tend "to become hierarchies" ( After Bakhtin. Yet inasmuch as the Odyssey is "a poem of what lies beyond the limits of the Iliad" (144-45). on epic. official discourse ( New Historicism. David Lodge. But Thomas suggests that such a scheme. Agamben. 5. and Individual Identity: English Writing. See on this note the first chapter of Jonathan Goldberg's Sodometries and Alan Sinfield. Her premise is that epic necessarily includes a critique of ideology because its narrative is marked "both by ideology and by its resistance to ideological definition" ( 8 ). Virgilian. Brook Thomas. cautioning against the "temptation to regard Bakhtin as some kind of prophet providentially sent to deliver us from our critical discontents.
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-229Contributors NANCY MASON BRADBURY is assistant professor of English at Smith College. Berlin: Georg Reimer. and Julius P. Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King's Collections in the British Museum. 7th ed. Warner. 1907. Garland Library of Medieval Literature 28. 2 vols.Walther von der Vogelweide. Kraus. Susanne Lindgren. Lucan. Chaucer and the French Love Poets. Chicago: University Chicago Press. London: British Museum. -228Wimsatt. 1972. updated by Carl V. 1973. Essai de poétique médiévale [Toward a medieval poetics]. THOMAS J. Parshall. H. 1921. Die Gedichte Walthers von der Vogelweide [The poems of Walther von der Vogelweide]. Helmbrecht. Colorado. ed. "Poeta che mi guidi: Dante. JORDAN is professor emeritus of English at the University of British Columbia. Winthrop. D. edited by Robert von Hallberg." Traditio 27 ( 1971): 433-53. Stanford. STEVE GUTHRIE is associate professor of English at Agnes Scott College. Wernher der Gartenaere. The Aeneid of Virgil. Simone. 1972. 1968. Wetherbee.. Wofford. Gilson. George F. "The Source for the 'Remedia' of the Parson's Tale. James. 1987. YU.. .. JODY L. Basingstoke and London: Macmillan Education Ltd. eds. 1992. vol 1.. -----. New York: Garland. 1984." In Canons. Chapel Hill: University North Carolina Press. Geissbuhler. Calif." Speculum 65 ( 1990): 1118. Siegfried. "The Iliad. Paris: Éditions du Seuil. Paul. 241-61. Edited by Ulrich Seelbach and translated by Linda B. Weil. and Virgil." Translated by Elizabeth C. The Choice of Achilles: The Ideology of Figure in the Epic. MCQUILLAN is an independent scholar in Lafayette. Chicago: American Library Association. Zumthor.: Stanford University Press. "Reflections on (New) Philology. Poem of Might. In Parnassus Revisited. Edited by Karl Lachmann. Williams. ROBERT M. R. FARRELL is associate professor and chair of English at Stetson University. Wenzel. edited by Anthony C.
patriarchal. 142. See also official culture authorship: Bakhtin's idea of. "From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse": discussed.5. 103. David. extensions of.59. 4 . 2 auctores. 176.41. 13.48. 31. 99. critical principles of. 2 . 4. "Forms of Time and Chronotope in the Novel": discussed. 134 . 123.83. 114. 136. 128." 111 . 3. 10. 152 . 6 . quoted. 203 n. 3 . 66 .5. 30. medieval. 12 . 164. of sotties. Heather. 156 -57. See authority audience. medieval ideas of.. weaknesses in theories of. 141. 114. 115 -18. 118 -19. 6 . utopianism of. 195 . 114. PERFETTI is a lecturer in French at Muhlenberg College.53. MARK A. 160. 150. "From Notes Made in 197071. 94 . See also subjectivity allegory. 202 n. 184 85. 107. 208 n. 190. approachability of. Erich. 99.84 . 186 -87. 7. 1 . 13. 2. 211 n. 12.5. 183. 1. Confessions. 39. 62 .44. 82 . 120. and Middle Ages. 212 n. "Discourse Typology in Prose. 122. 83. 142 . 196 Bakhtin. 7. poetic. Mikhail M. 45. 126. 182 -84. social. 57 .LISA R. 136. 3 . 9. St. 17. 5 Augustine. "Epic and Novel": discussed. 158 -59. 209 n. disputed works. 89. 203 n. 19 . 112. effect on discourse of. 134 -35. 189 . 84. 122. 141 . 38. 147. 40. 4 Augustinianism. 146 . 114. 4. DANIEL J. 1 . See authorship auctoritas. 101.. and intent. 158. 141. 122 -26. 157. 134 -36. 50. 32. 161. 117 -18. 127 -28. 134 -35. SHERMAN is assistant professor of English at the Rhode Island School of Design. 8. 171 . 202 n. 127 -28. 81 . 116 -19 Aeneid ( Virgil). 50. 15 . 32 . 160 -61. 110 .63 .67 Auerbach.13 . 151. 41 .33. 142. 113. 196. See also mentalità 9 Arden. ROBERT S. 133.9. textual. Bakhtin's interest in. 194. 1 . classification of narratives by. quoted. 143 -46. 54. 59.82. quoted. 5. manuscript as site of. PINTI is assistant professor of English at New Mexico State University.75. 32 Agamben. 210 n. 95. . 208 n. 36. 8. 61 . See also figural reading ambivalence." 208 n. critical. 1 . 145. 16. 126 . 185 -86. 113.62. 40 . 11. 16. 141. 141. 41. 95. 68 . 8 . 26. 151 . 82.30 authority: of Bakhtin. Giorgio. 174. 120. 174. 2 . 198 agency. 201 n. 171 . 195 Aers. 16. 5. 5. ANDREW TAYLOR is assistant professor of English at Northern Kentucky University. 189 . and the novel. as liberal humanist. 209 -10n. 178 annaliste school. 5. connections with other theories. 81 . -231Index Aeneas.3. STURGES is associate professor of English at the University of New Orleans. Works: "Discourse in the Novel": discussed. 155 . 86. 110. 145 . 67. 47 . 136 . 93. 187 . 1. 1 .
76. 53.67 . Jean. 34 Bradbury. 13 Bellamy. 10 Canterbury Tales ( Chaucer). 144. 157.36.64. 154 . 122. 48. See also Medvedev. 178 . and politics. 14. John. quoted. Priscilla. 130. 75 Baudrillard. 102 -3 Booth. 171 . 128 -29 Book of the Duchess ( Chaucer). 50. John. 188 Bercé. 195 .41. Sergey. 171 -72. 16 -18. 8. 1 . 61 . 13.66 Bowers. Michael. Rabelais and His World: discussed. 202 n. 185 basochiens... 16 . 5. Wayne. 5 . conservatism of. "Problem of Speech Genres. 184 Benjamin. 4 . 155 carnivalesque: connections to approved forms. 123 -15. as manifesto. 59. James. 207 n. 76. 27 . 30 Bernstein. 13. 35 . Ecclesiastes. 10 11.20. 180 -81. 47 -48. 9 Bruns. 151 Blumenberg. 65 . Michael. 38. 151. 153. 170 Beowulf. 63. 30. 158 . 9 . The" 111 . delayed in publication. 125 -26. 16. 209 n. connections to popular forms. 141 Bonaventure. 95 Barthes. 209 n. 199 n. 55 . Elizabeth. 64 . 184 -85 Boccaccio. 3 Camille. 11.46. 2. 115 . 200 n. 156 -57. parallels with the sottie. Walter. quoted. 20. Marina et al. as inversion of social order. The. 12 Bromyard. 1 .2. Jehan. 205 n. 69 . 204 n. 41 42. Nancy Mason. 158. 141. in texts. Yves-Marie. Voloshinov Baldwin. 128 Burke. 190.62. 47. commentaries. 182 Bawcutt. 34 Brownlee. 60. 116. Job.. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics: discussed. as social criticism. Gerald. 129. 159. 19 . 5." 112 -13. 5 . 65. W. 206 n. 61 . 40. and medieval culture..quoted. 67. A. Peter. 38 Bouchet. 8. 2. 103 -7. 40. 1. St. 61. 147 -49. "Problem of the -233Text. 163 carnival: Bakhtin's views of. Hans. 5. 45 . 160. 141 Bocharov. 23. 178 .71. J.17. 39 . 38 . 37. 155. 57 . 38. 149 -51. 176 -77. and the material body. 10 . St. 26. 178 Carruthers. 13. 30 . Mary. 195 . 196 Bennett. 157 Bible. 201 n. as ritual.40 . Sapiential books. Roland. 128. 4 Bernard of Clairvaux. 10.58. 94. 117. 31. Giovanni. 131 . 2.
Bernard. 147 -51. -234149 -52. 177 -78. 8. 136 Cervantes. and popular culture. 34. 14. Geoffrey. monology in 12. 141 -42. 120 -21.56. role in translation. 96 . 163. 17 censorship: of sotties. 76 . Parson's Tale. 89 . 196 . Claire. De vulgari eloquentia. 190. 156 -57. 162. 208 n. 68. 32. 203 n. House of Fame. 144. 163 -64. 10.Casagrande. 26 . 189 -91. 211 -12n. 82. 14. 136 -37 Charles VIII ( King of France). 170. 176 Caviness. 55 Cross. 67 -70. 132 culture. 71 . 103 -7. heteroglossia in. 202 n.39. 10. 206 n. 71 . 12. 155 -57. 88. Inferno. 134 -35. 204 n. 194 . 204 n. 181 . satire against. Clerk's Tale. 130 -33. 158 -59. 38 . Man of Law's Tale. 94. Carla and Silvana Vecchio. 121. 5. 46. Katerina. 204 n. as manifesto.93. 4 Copeland. 190. 15 . Paul. 178 -79. 4 . 5 comic degradation. 178 -79. 30 . 11 -12. 180 Coldwell. 34 . Augustine). Rita. 51. dialogism in. Works: Book of the Duchess. 1 . 144 . 10 . 188. 2 . 149 -52. chronotopes in. 19 Christine de Pizan. Reeve's Tale. 53 . 49. 205 n. 141. 108.74 community. C. 172. 1 .76 Cerquiglini. 204 n. 163 . implausability of. 167. 199 n. 99. 201 n. Don Quixote. 153 -54. Ecclesiastes time in. and figural time. 185 -86. 205 n. 167 -68. Pardoner's Tale. 4 Clark. David. 5. 195 -96. See social class Clerk's Tale ( Chaucer): analogues to. 172 -73. 201 n. 146 chronotope. 81. 147 . use of sources by.97. 85 86. Works: Comedy. 200 n.92. 117 comedy. 142 -43. 12 courtly love. 1. 205 n. 208 n. 142 -46. 10. strictness of. 1. 191 -94. 153 -54. 2. 2 . value of Bakhtin's analysis for. 209 n. Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale. Canterbury Tales. 12. 81. 159. 154. Miguel de. 88 . and rhetoric. 198 Confessions ( St. 2 . 83 -92. 195 -97. 144. 120. 208 n. 104 -7. 165. 38. 197 . 2.31. 23. 5. Envoy. 155 Cold War. 12. 28 Catholic Church: as orthodoxy.102.35 Dante Alighieri. 1. 123. Paradiso. as translator. 96 . 6 Christianson. 11. 113 curiositas. medieval. 181 -82. 13. Nun's Priest's Tale. 5 . 120. 10. 154 . 146 . 144. 102 -3. 11. Purgatorio. 4 . 5. 110 -11. 70 Chaucer. 151 -52. 155 -56. 10. 154 -56. 142 -46. 102 -6. 144. 207 n. 179. 3. 144. French and English in Chaucer. 13. 204 n. 149. 149 -54. 204 n. 74 . meter in. 201 n. 197 . 120. 163 . 175. 4 class boundaries.74. 62. Madeline. Troilus.
208 n. 189 . 99. 32.54. 145. Thomas J. quoted. in poetic forms.David. 70 . 67 . 5. 110 -13. 101. 63 . 141.64. 68 Farrell. 208 n. 121 . 154 -56 epic: in Bakhtin. 129 -30. in contemporary politics. 114 -20 drama. 1. 183. Caryl: as translator. 8. 61 Farce nouvelle a cinq personnages. 28 .68. 202 n. 149 -54. 141 -42. 93 "Discourse in the Novel" ( Bakhtin): discussed. Alfred. 13 Derrida. quoted. 189 double-voiced discourse.70. 31. 111. 211 n.46. 6 figural reading. 181. 189 -91. 4 Fabre. 12. 34. 5. classical. 10. 4 . and translation. 32 . 188 . 66 energeia. in narrative. 197. 188 . 113. Jody. 8.64.74 . Jacques. 147 -49. 32. 13. 94. 212 n. 48. Peter. 187 folk laughter. as communal poetry. 130 -31 exempla. John Miles. 6 . 141. 1 Divine Comedy (Dante). 183. 190 Farce moralle et joyeuse des sobres sots. 3. 53 . 156 57 Foley. 196 Dembowski. 6 De vulgari eloquentia (Dante). Patricia. 95. 82. 94. 8 fantasy. 3 . 4 . Tom. 97 .12. 189 Eucharistic controversy. 157 Emerson.74 . Eneados. 2 . 209 n. in texts. 183 dialogism: Bakhtin's usage. 154 -55. 194. 87. 41 . 143 -46. 162 -63. 174. Adolphe. as political tool. 117 -18. 88 Ecclesiastes time. 186 -87. 1 feminist criticism. 189 . 194 Dostoevsky. 34 . 206 n. 11 . 82. 191 -95 "Epic and Novel" ( Bakhtin): discussed. 26. 65. 6 . 181 Engle.33. 76 . 14. 206 n. 185. 63. 7. 89.5. in drama. 71 . 170. 109. 203 n. 208 n. 40. 174 77 didacticism. See also laughter folklore. 74. quoted. dialogism in. 11. 118 -20. 178 -79. 2. 106 -7. 183 -86. 63 . 6. 4 dialogue-conflict.99. 84. Carolyn. 6 . 156 -57 "Discourse Typology in Prose" ( Bakhtin). 4. Fyodor. 164 -65. 172. 190. 184 -85. 89. 3. 149. See also allegory First Stylistic Line of the Novel. 141. 211 n. 16 "Forms of Time and Chronotope in the Novel" ( Bakhtin): discussed. 27. 6 . 1 Enders.35. 160 -62. 6 Envoy to the Clerk's Tale ( Chaucer). 158. 66. 209 -10n.12. 68 69. 76 . 14.30. 161.4. 148 Engelhardt. 210 n. as commentator. 87. 3 . 154. 11 . 136. 69 . 147. 32. 1.. as social criticism. 165 -70. 13. Lars.71 Eberle. 201 -2n. 13. 162 Dinshaw. 154 . Gavin. 152 -54. 129 -34 Douglas. 5. 181 deconstruction. 3 . 71 .5. 211 n. 195 . 7. 112.3. 143. 180. Bakhtin's theory of. in the Middle Ages. 210 n. 210 n. 36. 146. 7.
.70. 3. 200 n. 7 Handlyng Synne.-235François I (King of France). 103. 1 Hallays-Dabot. 4 . 32 . 177 -78. 97. 144 . Robert. 212 n. Bronislaw. 212 n. 125. Paul.33. 74 Frantzen.101 . 132 -34 hidden polemic. 103 . 204 n. 9. didacticism in. Jean. 200 n. 69 . 42 . Steve. 23 . 159 -61. in Eneados. 11. 65. 39 . 92. 12.49. 11. 52. Pope. 206 n. 99. 88 Gerbner. 176. textual representations of. 101 -2 Ganim. 191 . George. " 168 -71. 128 Hansen. 195 -96. in the Middle Ages. 171. Aron.54 . 3 . 202 n. 204 n. Bakhtin's classification of. 151. 146 -47.57 . as model for Chaucer. 159. 14. 38. 6. 69 . 142. 107 Froissart. 118 . John. distinct from dialogism. 189. 4.53 Henry IV (king of England). 188 . 5. in Beowulf. 40. Northrop. 104. 44 . 182 -84. Elaine. 145 Frye. 8 Gower. grotesque realism. 113. G. 88 . 197 Gurevich. in sotties. The" 165 -68. 14 Hanning. 146 Harvey. 88.71 Hamburger. ecclesiastical. in Man of Law's Tale.45. as tradition. 120 hidden dialogue.29 Gulf War. 161 -63. 23 grotesque. 74 . 13. 145. 120. 129 -32 hierarchies: in Bakhtin. 39. social. 101. 29. 108. 173 -75 Gregory IX. 178 . 50 .83. "Witch and Her CowSucking Bag. 10. 127 -28. 38. The. 157.74. 95. 120 Gregory I. 155 -57.12. 99. 5 . quoted. 5. 199 n. meter of. 17 heteroglossia: in Bakhtin's usage. 23. 28 gender. 6 genres. 106. 126 . 155. 134 -35. Jeffrey. 163 65. 23 .84.75 Helmbrecht ( Wernher der Gartenaere). 146. 188 Freccero. 211 n. Pope (the Great).5. 102 -3. 120 "From Notes Made in 1970-71" ( Bakhtin). inversions of. John. 17. 175 -76. brutality of. 204 n. 210 n. 28 . 26. 82 . 6 . carnivalesque qualities of. grotesque degradation. 191 -94 French poetry. 132 -34. 6 Gehl. 210 n. 102. 1 . 11. 35. Confessio Amantis. 111 "From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse" ( Bakhtin): discussed. Alan. 10. 97. in Dante. 11 . 8 . 82 . 209 n. 39 .86. 53 . 4 Geoffrey of Vinsauf. H. 180 . 85 . 39 40. 10. 95. 197 Geremek. 48 . John. 163. 95 . 5. Victor.92 . as traditional image. 23. in translations. 3. 18 Guthrie. 209 n.4. "Dancers of Colbek. 20. 41 46. 2 . 107. 62 . social order in. 76 . 48. 73 . 181 -82. 174 -77. 144. 45 .46 .
197 Innocent III. in literature. 177 . 190. 6 . 174 Lent.29 Jordan. 119. 10 Iliad (Homer). 2. See also Wycliffites Louis XI (king of France). 11 . 211 -12n. 36. 188. 158. 23 . 186 -88. 8. 204 n. 168 . 206 n. 10.. 94.12. 203 n. 209 n. 192. 14. 11. 171 Lindahl. and dialogism. and realism. Pope [Jules II]. 11 . as universal. 11. 28 . 71 . 13 John of Salisbury. J. 20 Homer. 48. in the Middle Ages. 31 . 201 n. 207 n. 18 Lee. 101 -7.86 Inferno (Dante). L. 146. 186. 193 -94. 147. 88. 114 -20. 122. J. 182. 8 Lollardy. 3 4. 191 -94.12 ideology: conflicts over. 180. 212 n. 122 . Robert. 204 n.35 Kantorowicz. 192 -94 Holquist. 186 -88. 1 Janson. 74 . 112. 202 n. 5. See also folk laughter Le Bras. 212 n. W. 6 . 98 . 12 Jackson. 208 n. 93. 39. 58 Irvine. 86 intertextuality: epic. T. 40. Martin. See also hidden dialogue.12. 8. 70 . 153 Knapp. 70. Ernst. Pope. Roman. Elizabeth.Hirschkop. 200 n. 204 n. H.45. 11 .30. 8 . and language. 43 . in criticism. 6 Kristeva. narrative. H. 197 -98.72. Peggy. Ken. 33 . 2 hybrid constructions. Gabriel. 201 n. 131. 212 n. 177 -78. 61. 114. as resistance. hidden polemic irony. 4. 3. 158. 31 .. 5. 212 n. 212 n. 17. 147. 207 n. in narratives. 4 Jakobson.39. 17 . 6 House of Fame ( Chaucer). Brian. 72. 185. 59 60. Michael: as editor. 85. 108. and oppression. 29 . Odyssey. 1. linguistic. 8 Louis XII (king of France). in performance. 204 n. 192. 10. 57. 210 n. 95. 49. 171 -72. 38 . 18 . 5 -236Julius II.. 40. 81. Iliad. 76. 50. 4 Holt. 28. 31. 85 . 199 n. 120. A.99 . 161.. 201 n. 201 n. W. 183. 6. 196 -97 Kellogg.74 Jusserand. 5. Carl. 8. 6 images of language. 81 historiography.9 historical criticism.32. David. in translation. 145. Julia. 15 laughter: and the carnivalesque. 5 . 6. 54. 186 . as commentator. 82. 195 . 151 . 6. 6 . 201 n. 154 Lodge.
92 Mannyng. 55 Middleton. 98 Machaut. 190 minne. 102. 122 -23. 9 .84. Jody L.29. 157.9 McClellan. 207 n. 2 .84 . 203 n. 174. as performance. 120 -22. 122 -26. 113.10. 14 Morson. 10. 98. Harvard MS Richardson 22. instability of. 194 Lydgate. 8. See courtly love Minnis. 136 narration: narrative personae.23. 120. 95. 141 -42. 12 marginalia. H. Emile. A. cultural complexity of. 85 86. 210 n. 3 . 207 n. Ruth. 143 -45. 206 n. 205 n. 30.23. 26. 11. 163 -64.26. K. 2 Middle Ages: Bakhtin's views of. 83 . 133 McQuillan. 123. 62. 28 . 172 -73. 129. 163 . 21 . as orthodoxy. 28 . 163 -64. 54 marginal commentary. 210 n. Guillaume de.22. 20 Man of Law's Tale ( Chaucer). 208 n. 81. 13 . illustrations from. 128.59.34. 35 . 11 Mâle. 10 .29. Bakhtin's opposition to. 3. 4 . 106. 208 n. 5. 2. 83 . 63 64 . 158 -60. 204 n. in the Middle Ages. 17 . 128. 208 n. 207 n. George. 129 -34. . 12. 5. See also annaliste school Mersand. 209 n.xix. 134 -36.102. 14 Manuel des Péchés. 30 . 134 -36 manuscripts. 155 . marriage in. 145. 83. 127. 152 -53. 10 medieval studies. 24 25. BL MS Cotton Titus C. 181 -82. Joseph. 104. 149.. 1. William. 11. 182 -83 Medvedev. 1. P. 113 marginality. 209 n. 143 . 88 -92. 33. 99. J. 123 -26. 4. 134. 6 . heteroglossia in. 1. 28. Charlotte. 33 37 . 106 magic. 142 Milton. 189 . Handlyng Synne. 172.6. in Clerk's Tale. 6 McHardy.31. 172. 141. 191 Morse. 29. 12. 31. sexist language in. 142 Meier Helmbrecht. 100.. A. 169.36 . 20 . 130. 167. 12. John.. 19 . 210 n. 136 Margetts. 174 -77. 187 -88. See Helmbrecht memory. 57 . 8 . 205 n. 18 .IV.19. 12. 152 Moi. N. 48.14. 163 -71. Gary Saul.Lukács. 3. BL MS Royal 10 E. Toril. 32 . 137. 94. John. 122. 7 manuscript culture. 82. antipathy to. 32 mentalité. 204 n. 134 -35. literary culture of. 143. 102. 1 monology: Bakhtin sees drama as. linguistic complexity of. 179 . 10. 210 n. 4 meter. in poetry. 1 mouvance. 87 . 95 . Robbert. 113. 160 -61. 165 -68.. 99 marxist criticism. 127. John. 162 -63. Anne. 178 -79. 127. 142 43. 191. 159 -61. 145 Morse.
161 63. 136. 36 . in the Middle Ages. 141. roots of. 8. 129. 196.71 . 2 . 1. 9 Neidhart von Reuenthal. 211 n. 40. 157 . 186 -88. 195 . 144. 88. 205 n. 39. 28. 142 -46. 3 Parson's Tale ( Chaucer).37. Gillian. 23 . 2 Overing. 113. 157 . 204 n. 204 n. 195 -96 Pardoner's Tale ( Chaucer). 38.53.narrative voice 40. 157. 10 performance: dramatic. 186 -88 Orme. use of carnivalesque forms by. 3 . 178 -79. 65. Friedrich. 74 parody: as challenge to authority. Richard. 157 Nun's Priest's Tale ( Chaucer). 5. characteristics of. 6 . 94. 89 Pelikan. 57 Neuse. 167. 82 . 45. William. 4 novel: Bakhtin's theory of. 86. 156. 184 . 8.71. 74 . 87. 92. 178 -79 patriarchy. 1 . 26. 5. 136 -37. 13. Barbara. 55. 2 Odyssey (Homer). 48 . 157. 212 n. 6 offical culture: and carnival. 183. 190. 62. 81 Pearsall.. 1 New Historicism. 28 oral tradition. 7 Petrarch. 36 . 85. 27. 26. Robert O. 13. 68 . 154. 7. 136 37. 126. 190 . 144.4. 3 . 149 Nordmeyer. 163 -64. and identity.32. 143. 172. medieval origins of. 133 Perfetti.. of self. 156 -57. 12. 151. Stephen. limited tolerance in. 52 . J. 149. 9 Panzer. 16 . of oral poetry. 63. 107. 113. 155 -56 Parshall. Catholic Church Ogilvy. 211 n. 154 -55. 69 . 4 -237nominalism. 179 Near. 160 Petit de Julleville. 27 Nolan. 23. chronotopes in. 144. 146. 2. Derek. 148 -49. 30 . 87. 208 n. Bakhtin's interest in. 52. 81. 157. 62. George 201 n. 212 n. 210 n. as heteroglossia. 190. Bakhtin's writings on. 61. as critique of authority. 195 Patterson. 187 -88. 176 -78. 66. 123. 3 .2. 5. Nicholas. 167. 8 Nichols.84. A. mixture with popular culture. 203 n. 201 n. as combination of styles. 43. 1 . D. 3 . 183 -84. 6. 23 Payne. Lisa R. 192. 75. Francis.5. 210 n. 129 . 49. 206 n. 145. power of. Là 9 opold. Jaroslav. 123. 148. 99. popularfestive. 203 n. 69 . in epic.. 161 62.70. 43 Paradiso (Dante). Michael. 136 -37 novelistic discourse: allegory and. 211 n. 210 n. 117. See also authority. 179.75. Lee. 83. 5 Parliament (French). 4 . 158 -59. 208 n. 136 -37. potential for laughter in. of literary forms. 9 Paden. Linda. 211 n.
126. 104 Romance. 91. Gargantua and Pantagruel. 6 . 15 . 99. 23. 126. 144. 125. 58 print culture. rhythmic. world of. 13 poetry and poetic language.. 206 n. unofficial culture popular-festive form. 155 polyglossia: in Chaucer's borrowings. 144 Reusner. 173. shaped by discourse. 1 . 29 . 187 . naive. 201 n. 46 .32. 176 -77 Raymund of Pennaforte. 86. 126. 159 -76 postmodernism. Douglas. 15 Robertson. 190 -91 popular culture: depicted. as high style. Ernst von.47.12. 211 n. 104 -7 sacrilege. 142. 35 . Bakhtin's interest in. 31. 136 Purgatorio (Dante). as source material. 50. 23. 136 . 127. 2 . 8 Roman de la Rose. See also folk culture. 145. Jr. 160. 211 n. 19. 160 Rabelais and His Worm ( Bakhtin): delayed in publication. 12. 9 "Problem of the Text. 4. 190. 30. medieval.89. The" ( Bakhtin). 5. 172 -76 Said. 122. 123. 168 -70. 132 pseudo-Augustine. 1. 6 . quoted. 122 -23. 201 n. 86 . 11 . 57 . 14. Franà 7 ois. 36. narrative as. 143 . 129 33.58. political. 81. discussed.30. 45 . 34 . 26.36. power to shape discourse.42. in the Middle Ages. 92. 112 -13. 197 Richard II (king of England). 210 n. 1. 30. 108. 111 Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics ( Bakhtin): discussed. 48. 11. vs. as constitutive of the vernacular. 88. 22 Pinti.7. 3. 61 . 5 . medieval vs.2. 163. quoted. 31 . 136 "Problem of Speech Genres. 178 -79. 1 . 207 n.8. 191 . 162 . 18 Robinson.64. magic in. 23 readers: critics as. 152 .Picot. 11. 67. See also audience Redfield. -2385. 9 Piers Plowman. 197 Quotation: in the Middle Ages. W. image of the. 206 n. 195 .72. 14 . in the Middle Ages.47 rhetoric: of characters. 26. 40.. 38. 12. 60. Matthew. James. Edward. 147 -48. 35 . in novelistic discourse. 2. 147 Roberts. 7. 123 -29. ix. 35 . 93 . 110 -11. of translations. heteroglossia and. 8. 87 . 41 . 1 . 112. 127 28 Rabelais. 46 . shared with upper class. 178 . 13. 102 polyphony: in Dostoevsky. 158.89. road. Daniel. 193 . 124. contemporary. 185 -87. 95. in Bakhtin and Medieval Voices. 134 . 206 n. Utta. 134 -36. 129. 12. 106 -7. D. 204 n. 200 n. 180 -82 Prasse. 187 Reeve's Tale ( Chaucer). 71 . 149 -50. 50. 83. 109 -10. 196 . 209 n. Emile. content. 17. 159 -63. 203 n. 107 . The" ( Bakhtin). in manuscripts. 116. 76. 99. 165.
211 -12n.62. 192 -93 Steinmetz. and politics. 2. 32.71. 196. Burke. and language. 157. 122.48. 42. 206 n.75 Strohm. 126 -27. Lucy. 12 -13.74 Sottie nouvelle du Roy des Sotz. 92 . 5 Sherman. 8. 27 . 20 . Meyer. 203 n. 17. 71 74 Sortie contre le Pape Jules II. 114. 156 -57 sermons. 120 21. 9 Trevisa. 65 . 38.75 . 190. 208 n. 143 -44. R. 13. 58 Thomas. Paul. theory of. 26 Schirmer. 41. 208 n.9. and medieval studies. and Bakhtin. 158. 31 social class. 45. 152 Smithfield Decretals. 120. 202 n. 111.67. Bernhard. 74 .69 Sowinski. 23. 2 . 8. 63.Salter. 9. 2. 28. Peter. Jeremy. 122 tragedy. 117 -20 translation: in the Middle Ages. Peter. 56. 62 . 76 .67 .23. 109 -14. 212 n. 178 -79 Severs. 11 12. in medieval psychomachia. 2. 5.14. 10. David. 50. 58 space between actors and spectators. 207.63. 206 n. 121 . 6 . Mark. 144 street theater. 144 Stepsis. 196 Taylor. 94. 4. 61 . James. 61. 199 n. 65 66. elusiveness in Chaucer.66. 75 Sawtre. 69 . 151. Karl-Heinz. 67 Stalinism: Bakhtin's responses to. in Dante.. 5 subjectivity: in Dostoevsky. 74 . 146. 85. 208 n. 195 -97. 8. 67 sottie: and carnival. 49. 5 skas. 17 . 1. 31 Schapiro. 174 -75 Sotise a buit personnaiges. 211 n. 14 Sturges. 8 threshold: image of. Elizabeth. 32 Sledd. 29 satire: political. 71 . 50 schwank literature. 12. J. 142. A. Lacanian. 4 Statius. 199 n. See also agency Tambling. 147 Sandier.44. William. John of. contemporary. 43. history of. 5. 26. 58. 1 theory. 70. 66 . 6. 200 n. 180. 188 .93 . W. 135. and Allon White. 4 Stallybrass. 81. 14 Shoaf. 66 . 112 Thomas J. Brook. of translation. 14. 5 Second Stylistic Line of the Novel. 41 . 64 . 143. 10 Travis. 27. Tzvetan. 32. 4 . 153 Todorov. Andrew. 19.. 109.5 . 45. as drama. Robert. Robert. 199 n. 120. 211 n. 123. 17. 13 . 47 . 3. 10. 9 -14. 2 .
social order in. 53 Warner. 147. David. 208 n. 31 . 127. 23 Wernher der Gartenaere. 13. 195 Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale ( Chaucer): and Clerk's Tale. 5 Virgil. Simone. 99. 1 Turville-Petre. 131. 43. 10. Thomas. 197 Voloshinov. 40. 211 n. and Julius Gilson. 155 -56. 114 -15. 162. 212 n. 53 . V. See also popular culture Utley. John. 175. Paul.49. Siegfried. 192 -93. 17 -239unoffical culture. and gender.46.54 Wetherbee. 110. carnivalesque qualities of. 39. Francis. 46 . 195..57 . 195 Virgil (character in Dante). 57.47. 5 Wallace. 179.40. 129 -33. Aeneid. distinctiveness of. 41 . 154. Nicholas. 157. 32. 186. 6 Wofford. See also Lollardy Zumthor. 101 -240- . Thorlac. 120.32 Walther von der Vogelweide.19. 115 -18. 39 . 55. 48 53 . 17 . 50 . 133 Wycliffites. Susanne. 2.89 Troilus ( Chaucer). 171. 129. 193 . 144 . 211 n. 201 n. 2 . 5. 203 n. 142 Walsingham. 118. Winthrop. 204 n. 23. 209 n. 39 . didacticism in. Helmbrecht. George F. 112.97. 17 Weil. 182 Wenzel.. 212 n. 53. 42 . 10 Wycliffe. N. 204 n. 88 . 96 .Trivet.
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