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ItemThe injuries of time: Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Speght, and Wade’s boatTRIGG, STEPHANIE ( 2008)The State Library at Melbourne holds a wonderful collection of early Chaucer editions: two leaves from William Caxton’s editions of The Canterbury Tales (from 1478 and 1483), and a more substantial group of relatively rare sixteenth- and seventeenth-century editions. Starting with this impressive group, it is possible to use the Melbourne collection to track the major stages in the long history of editing and printing Chaucer, through John Urry’s lavish but inaccurate edition of 1721, the more scholarly text of Thomas Tyrwhitt in five volumes (1775-78), the numerous texts of various works produced by Frederick J. Furnivall for the Chaucer Society in the late nineteenth century, and the beautiful Kelmscott Chaucer of 1896, printed by William Morris and incorporating wood-cuts designed by Edward Burne-Jones, through to the scholarly and student editions of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These editions often differ considerably from each other. Not only have critical opinions varied substantially over the centuries as to the best manuscripts and the best methods of presenting Chaucer’s work, but the audience and the use anticipated for each edition (for different generations of general readers, scholars or students) also affects the nature of the prefatory material and the commentaries, notes and glossaries that surround the text.
Item“Shamed be …”: historicizing shame in medieval and early modern courtly ritualTRIGG, STEPHANIE ( 2006)This essay explores the relationship between shame and honor in various texts and practices associated with medieval chivalry, and especially in The Order of the Garter. The meaning and significance of the motto of the Order–Honi soit qui mal y pense–is contested, but it emphasizes the close relationship between shame and honor in courtly society. The motto may not be an embedded coded reference to an unknown event; it may have been coined by Edward III to generate a sense of mystery appropriate to a courtly elite. An examination of selected literary texts (incluing Malory’s Works and Shakespere’s Henry VI, Part One) and historical documents describing the ceremonial rituals of heraldic degradation and courtly shame suggests a remarkable continuity in the understanding of courtly shame between the medieval and the early modern period in England. This continuity is ignored by several recent commentators on shame, who unconsciously rehearse and repeat the abjection of the medieval past in contrast to the renaissance understanding of shame.