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Chaucer: Literature, History And Ideology

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Chapter Summary

One of the noble deeds performed by the young Theseus, one familiar to Chaucer from Ovid's Metamorphoses, was his defeat of the cruel Procrustes who made his victims lie on a bed to which they were then fitted by being stretched if they were too small or by having any over-hanging limbs hacked off if they were too big. For many readers, this book, in arguing for the moral consistency of the 'Knight's Tale' when read in relation to works of political theory such as Giles of Rome's De Regimine Principum, may seem to be guilty of the sin of forcing Chaucer's tale to correspond to the Procrustean bed of a preconceived interpretation, one which ignores either the specificity of this particular text or its broader nature as 'literature' or 'poetry'.

Keywords: Chaucer; Giles of Rome; Ideology; Theseus

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