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Chaucer reciting Troylus and Criseyde: early 15th century manuscript of the work at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Troilus and Criseyde is a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer which re-tells in Middle English the tragic story of the lovers Troilus and Criseyde set against a backdrop of war in the Siege of Troy. It was composed using rime royale and probably completed during the mid 1380's. Many Chaucer scholars regard it as the poet's finest work. As a finished long poem it is certainly more self-contained than the better known but ultimately uncompleted Canterbury Tales.

Although Troilus is a character from Ancient Greek literature, the expanded story of him as a lover was of Medieval origin. The first known version is from Benoît de Sainte-Maure's poem Roman de Troie, but Chaucer's principal source appears to have been Boccaccio who re-wrote the tale in his Il Filostrato. Chaucer's version can be said to reflect a less cynical and less misogynistic world-view than Boccaccio's, casting Pandarus as well-intentioned and Criseyde as fearful and sincere rather than simply fickle. It also inflects the sorrow of the story with humour.

The poem had an important legacy for later writers. Robert Henryson's Scots poem The Testament of Cresseid imagined a tragic fate for Cressida not given by Chaucer. In historical editions of the English Troilus and Criseyde, Henryson's distinct and separate work was sometimes included without accreditation as an "epilogue" to Chaucer's tale. Shakespeare's verse drama Troilus and Cressida, although much blacker in tone, was also based in part on the material.

Troilus and Criseyde is usually considered to be a courtly romance, although the generic classification is an area of significant debate in most Middle English literature.

References

Further reading

  • Boitani, Piero and Jill Mann. The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • Brown, Peter, ed. A Companion to Chaucer. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.
  • Dinshaw, Carolyn. Chaucer's Sexual Poetics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.
  • Fradenburg, L. O. Aranye. Sacrifice Your Love: Psychoanalysis, Historicism, Chaucer. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.
  • Hansen, Elaine Tuttle. Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
  • Mann, Jill. Feminizing Chaucer. 2nd ed. Rochester, NY: D.S. Brewer, 2002.
  • McAlpine, Monica. The Genre of Troilus and Criseyde. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978.
  • Patterson, Lee. Chaucer and the Subject of History. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.
  • Robinson, Ian. Chaucer and the English Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972.
  • Robinson, Ian. Chaucer's Prosody: A Study of the Middle English Verse Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971.
  • Strohm, Paul. Social Chaucer. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989.
  • Wallace, David. Chaucerian polity: Absolutist Lineages and Associational Forms in England and Italy. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.

External links

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Troilus and Criseyde
by Geoffrey Chaucer
Published in 1385, Troilus and Criseyde is Geoffrey Chaucer's poem in rhyme royal (rime royale) re-telling the tragic love story of Troilus, a Trojan prince, and Criseyde. Many Chaucer scholars regard this as his best work, even including the better known but incomplete Canterbury Tales.— Excerpted from Troilus and Criseyde on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

See also Shakespeare's later rendition, at Troilus and Cressida

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