This book argues that Chaucer's theory of translation is based upon particular hermeneutic procedures of the day applied to the authoritative literary texts in the European cultural tradition. These texts encompass the European tradition extending from Plato through Christian humanism and Jean de Meun to Italian and French contemporaries. The work displays Chaucer's development as a translator from early attempts to render contemporary French poetry in an English courtly idiom to the later masterly translations in Troilus andThe Canterbury Tales. The later translations disdain mirroring Latin and vernacular texts with English and instead read through the surface of a literary source to a sense Chaucer 'discovers' or 'invents'. Throughout the book, emphasis is placed on Chaucer's sensitivity to the poetic possibilities in the polysemy of the English language.
Publisher: University Press of America