The Neighboring Text: Chaucer, Boccaccio, Henryson (Paperback)
  • The Neighboring Text: Chaucer, Boccaccio, Henryson (Paperback)
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The Neighboring Text: Chaucer, Boccaccio, Henryson (Paperback)

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Paperback 296 Pages / Published: 30/05/2011
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Most medieval texts were not really texts in the modern sense of printed, bound, stand-alone volumes, but were instead scribal productions that circulated in manuscript form, often alongside unrelated writings, thereby producing what seem to be haphazard compilations. In The Neighboring Text: Chaucer, Boccaccio, Henryson, George Edmondson argues that we have tended to apply a vertical, linear model of literary history to this late medieval manuscript culture. By contrast, he brings recent work in the fields of psychoanalysis and political philosophy to bear on the question of literary history to develop a countermodel informed by a horizontal ethos of "neighborliness".

Edmondson analyzes the different ways that three canonical texts - Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde; its source, Boccaccio's Il Filostrato; and its fifteenth-century Scottish derivative, Robert Henryson's Testament of Cresseid - treat two figures, Troilus and Criseyde, and how those differences affect our understanding of literary history. He argues that what makes them neighboring texts is their shared concern with the subject of medieval Trojan historiography in general, and their very different treatments of Troilus in particular. At the same time, Edmondson supplements the medieval ideal of neighborliness with the psychoanalytic understanding of the neighbor as a figure both proximate and strange: at once the building block of community and its stumbling block. The result is a repositioning of the three works as a textual neighborhood - one in which the legendary history of Troy is transformed from the basis of imaginary national genealogies to a figure for the aggression and enjoyment, the conflicting gestures of identification and estrangement, that shape the neighbor relation.

Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
ISBN: 9780268027759
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Over thirty years ago, Richard Rorty said that 'we are in for another few hundred years of getting adjusted to the availability of the psychoanalytic vocabulary.' The appearance of George Edmondson's The Neighboring Text is surely an eloquent demonstration of just how fast such adjustment is happening and how developed critical uses of this psychoanalytic vocabulary has become. In the same spirit, it is also true to say that this is surely a book ahead of its time."--Review of English Studies
"The Neighboring Text in many ways proceeds from the ground-shifting studies of historicists who work with psychoanalytic concepts, like Ingham and Aranye Fradenburg. But, making full critical use of a specialized psychoanalytic vocabulary, it also offers a new model for assessing the relations between texts in a culture in which the imperative to neighbor love was taken seriously and potentially influenced a medieval reader's response to a text."--Comitatus

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