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Introduction: Chaucer and Ecopoetics

  • Shawn Normandin
Chapter
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

This introductory chapter addresses the tension between the political urgency of ecocriticism and the rhetorical complexity of Geoffrey Chaucer’s poems. Chaucer often shifts his focus from nonhuman to human worlds, but this movement destabilizes his representations of humanity and shows how humanity is dependent on nonhumans. Humans’ compromised autonomy reveals itself in language, the supposed guarantor of their difference from nonhumans. This chapter reviews the history of ecopoetics and develops an alternative form of ecopoetics that draws upon the theoretical insights of Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, Timothy Morton, and others. The chapter defends its claims with close readings of William Wordsworth’s “There Was a Boy” and several works by Chaucer: the Pardoner’s Tale, the Parliament of Fowls, and the General Prologue.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Shawn Normandin
    • 1
  1. 1.Sungkyunkwan UniversitySeoulKorea (Republic of)

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