IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 809: Social Contexts: Chaucer and the Cely Letters

Tuesday 8 July 2008, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:William Watts, Department of English, Butler University, Indiana
Paper 809-bThe 'Hert' of the Matter: Hunting in The Book of the Duchess
(Language: English)
Ryan Judkins, Department of English, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Index terms: Daily Life, Language and Literature - Middle English, Social History
Paper 809-cWhat Made Each Writer Write Differently in the Cely Letters (an Update): Concerning Collocations of Auxiliaries and Verbs
(Language: English)
Osamu Ohara, Department of English, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo
Index terms: Computing in Medieval Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English

Paper -b:
This paper argues that, in The Book of the Duchess, Chaucer portrays the Black Knight, not his lady, as the ‘hert’ in the hunting scene, contrary to earlier criticism. Several reasons support this identification: the hart is a male deer, not a female; the knight’s speech consistently and self-referentially refers to his ‘hert’; the ‘hert-hunting’ which concludes the dreamer’s interrogation has been a ‘hunting’ of the knight’s heart and feelings, not a less-obvious reference to his dead lady; the knight’s trepidation towards his lady plays on a belief that the hart was cowardly; and, most interestingly, the hart is symbolically associated with the male aristocrat, both as man’s hunted soul and as the transformed knight.
Paper -c:
In the previous paper, from the socio-historical linguistic point of view, I showed that in the Cely Letters the writers had their own collocations of auxiliaries ‘shall’ and ‘will’ and the following verbs, and that, making use of these collocations, they expressed the hierarchy of superior-inferior relationships among them. In this paper, as a sequel of this investigation, examining the other auxiliaries and their collocations in the letters, I would like to show that they are also effectively used as markers to signify what the writers are aware of concerning the superior-inferior relationships with the recipients of the letters.