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Unexpected Plato: philosophical approaches to Chaucer's writing.

Macy, Timothy John 2007. Unexpected Plato: philosophical approaches to Chaucer's writing. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the way in which Plato and Platonic theories appear overtly and opportunistically in Chaucer's writings. It looks at some of the more evident ways in which the poet invokes the philosopher, but also argues that Chaucer 'cherry-picks' what he wants from Plato, and (in some cases), changes the fundamental premise of the philosophical tenet upon which the original is based in order to make a creative statement. A theme of the Platonic notion of contrarieties will run throughout the thesis at times it will necessarily discuss at some length the philosophical heritage inherited by the late fourteenth century. I will look firstly at ways in which Plato appears in Chaucer's more famously philosophical works before focusing on some of the less 'popular' Canterbury Tales, and will, in turn also draw attention to issues in Chaucer that can be seen to have been initiated by ancient philosophy, insofar as Chaucer is likely to have received them, or to have been aware of their arguments. At no time does this thesis argue for a direct transmission or connection between the writings of Plato and those of Chaucer. Rather, I argue that in Chaucer we see peculiar elements of Platonic theory (either an appropriation or a challenge thereof), and that such a philosophical approach from a reader both adds to a critical debate regarding the relationship between Chaucer and philosophy, and deepens an appreciation of the way in which some of Chaucer's more maligned texts are, in fact, some of his most rewarding.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
ISBN: 9781303209444
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2016 23:12
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54603

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