Chaucer And The House Of Fame Essay

, Research Paper

Question 7.

DISCUSS THE CULTURAL NATURE OF FAME AND ITS TEXTUAL

Expression WITH REFERENCE TO ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:

ORAL HEROIC POETRY, CHAUCER & # 8217 ; S DEPICTION IN THE HOUSE OF FAME

AND THE MODERN CONSTRUCTION OF THE CANON OF ENGLISH

LITERATURE.

YOU SHOULD Concentrate YOUR ANALYSIS ON THE INTERPLAY OF ORAL

AND LITERARY TRADITIONS IN THESE CONTEXTS.

Many critics have noted the complexnesss within Chaucer & # 8217 ; s The House of Fame, in

peculiar, the complexnesss between the unwritten and the literary. The differences between

these methods are invariably looking ; Chaucer is good cognizant of quickly altering

communicative practises and contrasts the saving of vocalization with the length of service

of literary texts. He achieves this by discoursing the nature of & # 8220 ; Fame & # 8221 ; and the

troubles that arise from it. & # 8220 ; Fame & # 8221 ; can both destruct and make. It can ensue in the

ageless saving of great plants and their Godheads. However, Chaucer is speedy to

observe the unstable nature of & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; observing the undependable procedure of achieving it and its

potentially fleeting being. Every Godhead with their several work/s of course

crave and desire & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; ; they want their topics to stay fresh in the heads of their

audience. Chaucer, while neither wholly praising the written nor the unwritten, reveals how

basically the written word is far more likely to go ageless as opposed to the unwritten.

The comparative & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; of any work is dependent on many factors. Many traditional and

classical thoughts result in the formation of the English canon, yet as Chaucer indicates,

the & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; of these plants can easy go exterminated. The reaching of new readers

with different ideals and thereby altering tradition, can reject classical or & # 8220 ; canonical & # 8221 ;

work and their & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; will run into void.

Most narratives, histories and legends that emerge from unwritten heroic poesy are to

announce the accomplishment of the powerful and affluent so that their histories will non melt

from the memories of the population. The narratives of Beowolf are a clear illustration of

this, as within these narratives, ( whether embellished or no ) , Beowolf & # 8217 ; s celebrity and fable

reaches the modern reader 100s of old ages subsequently. Clearly, Beowolf is still really much

dependent on the conventions of unwritten traditions and written to go forth a lasting

reminder of Beowolf, to implement Beowolf & # 8217 ; s celebrity. The usage of & # 8220 ; Hwaet & # 8221 ; to tag the

start of an oration, emphasises the continuance of unwritten tradition. Most unwritten civilizations

( normally illiterate ) , base on balls on narratives and fables learnt from the old coevals,

fundamentally utilizing the authorization of recalled memory, non as an existent informant ; instead & # 8216 ; I

hold heard it said` than & # 8216 ; I know this to be true` .

The importance of the footings & # 8216 ; auctor` and & # 8216 ; auctoritas & # 8217 ; is noted by A.J. Minnis.

Minnis states the importance of the & # 8216 ; auctoritas & # 8217 ; , citing Aristotle who defines this as

the & # 8220 ; opinion of the wise adult male in his chosen discipline. & # 8221 ; The great fear and

regard shown towards authors of antiquity is clearly apparent in Chaucer & # 8217 ; s The House

of Fame, yet there remains a definite incompatibility within Chaucer & # 8217 ; s work. While

Chaucer is clearly familiar with many classical authors and their plants, such as ; Virgil & # 8217 ; s

Aeneid, several plants of Ovid, Boccacio and Dante, Chaucer & # 8217 ; s work raises several

inquiries about the classical authors, the nature of written texts and the complexnesss

of & # 8221 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; . The term & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; had a myriad of significances in Middle English, it could

mean & # 8220 ; repute & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; renown & # 8221 ; , or & # 8220 ; rumor & # 8221 ; . Chaucer plays on all these significances and

its deductions, yet his thoughts are clouded and obscured so it is hard to specify

whether his statements are mocking, reprobating or observing. J. Stephen agrees

with Shelia Delany & # 8217 ; s statement in her book, The House of Fame: The Poeticss of

Disbelieving Fidelism and believes that The House of Fame is so & # 8220 ; a doubting verse form & # 8221 ; .

However, Russell is instead utmost in his position, believing that Chaucer is & # 8220 ; composing to

deconstruct the dictatorship of the written word & # 8221 ; . It is hard to hold with this position, and

although there are elements to propose this may be the instance, one would be given to hold

with Delany & # 8217 ; s statement, that Chaucer & # 8220 ; preferred to exceed the pick between

traditions instead than to perpetrate himself whole heartedly to a individual rational

place or a consistent point of position & # 8221 ; .

Chaucer, in his description of Virgil & # 8217 ; s Aeneid decides to change the events within

Virgil & # 8217 ; s narrative. There is ever the job of what can be considered & # 8220 ; true & # 8221 ; , the

jobs of genuineness and originality remain. These great authors that Chaucer frequently

mentions, like Virgil, Ovid, Boccacio, Boethius and Dante are & # 8216 ; auctors` who carry

great weight and authorization, yet, as this is Geffrey & # 8217 ; s dream he is able to pull strings the

events within The House of Fame. Thus Geffrey has the power of both the unwritten and

written & # 8216 ; auctor` , he has heard the narratives before, ( in Ovid and Virgil ) yet can & # 8216 ; retell`

these events to the reader with possibly even more & # 8216 ; auctoritas & # 8217 ; as he can besides province to

the reader that & # 8216 ; I was at that place so I can state you the truth` . However, Chaucer & # 8217 ; s & # 8216 ; auctoritas`

is diminished because even though he was an existent informant, it was still a dream, a

hazy and unpredictable country which can neither be wholly rejected nor believed and

recognized. These deductions show that Chaucer was possibly rejecting the & # 8216 ; auctoritas & # 8217 ;

of these authors, uncovering the possible disagreements within any text, written or unwritten,

and how narrative events are able to alter depending on the dependability of the & # 8216 ; auctor` .

The mocking of Geffrey and his scholarly life and aspirations would besides bespeak

Chaucer & # 8217 ; s disfavor of the scholarly and academic universe of the fourteenth century. Geffrey is

caricatured as a book-worm, unable to grok events outside the universe of books.

The Eagle speaks to Geffrey of the futility and emptiness of a bookman ; & # 8220 ; Thou goost

hom to thy hous anoon, /And, besides domb as any stoon, /Thou sittest at another

book/Tyl to the full daswed Y thy expression ; /And lyvest therefore as an heremyte, /Although thyn

abstynence Y lyte. & # 8221 ; ( 655-660 ) During the Eagle & # 8217 ; s impressive soliloquy the

intelligent Geffrey can merely reply in instead dull-witted monosyllabic words ;

& # 8220 ; Gladly & # 8221 ; , & # 8221 ; Noo? why? & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; Yis & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; Wel & # 8221 ; . Geffrey is besides portrayed as a instead weak

and stupid chap, despite his scholarly wonts. When one compares him to the classical

heroes of classical mythology, he realises that he is a mere person and afraid ; & # 8216 ; & # 8221 ; Oh

God, & # 8221 ; thoughte I, & # 8220 ; that madest kynde, /Shal I noon other weyes dye? & # 8217 ; . Unlike the

heroes of old, Geffrey is cognizant that he is no brave hero ; & # 8220 ; nether am Ennock, Ne

Elye, /Ne Romulus, ne Ganymede. & # 8221 ; ( 557-558 ) Despite these negative representations,

there still remains elements of regard and awe towards classical Hagiographas and the

strong belief entrusted in these plants every bit contained in the line, & # 8220 ; In certeyn, as the book

us tellis. & # 8221 ; ( 426 ) The same regard is reflected in a address made by the Eagle to

/ & gt ;

Geffrey ; & # 8220 ; Loo, this sentence Y knowen kouth/ Of every philosophres mouth, / As

Aristotle and daun Platon, / And other clerkys many oon ; / And to confirme my

resoun, /Thou wost wel this, that spech is soun, & # 8221 ; ( 757-762 ) It seems as though

Chaucer is researching both elements of what is the true & # 8216 ; auctor` and inquiries the thought

of & # 8216 ; auctoritas` .

It is of import to size up the word picture of & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; within Chaucer & # 8217 ; s work as it

remains a important point in the formation of the modern canon of English literature. As

noted earlier, celebrity has many significances and can intend & # 8220 ; repute & # 8221 ; , & # 8220 ; renown & # 8221 ; or

& # 8220 ; rumor & # 8221 ; . Chaucer describes the more negative effects of celebrity, how it is granted to

people with small or no virtue and how transeunt the nature of & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; can be. When

Dido feels despairing and provinces, & # 8220 ; O wel-awey that I was born! & # 8221 ; she is non churlish

with Aeneas or Virgil, but expletives, & # 8220 ; O wikke Fame! & # 8221 ; . Harmonizing to Russell, it is Virgil & # 8217 ; s

Fame that has & # 8220 ; immortalised & # 8221 ; the ill-famed behavior of Dido and she is made the

ageless scoundrel, continually playing her wicked function whenever one opens and reads the

Aeneid. In this manner Dido is siting a cyclical machine where she is destined to a life of

ever-renewed & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; and Dido & # 8217 ; s clearly despises this. The nature of & # 8220 ; Fame & # 8221 ; , is frequently

transient and fleeting. Chaucer takes note of the immense blocks of ice with the

engraved names of the celebrated. However, some of these names are exposed to the Sun

and are runing off, clearly these are the people who will lose their & # 8220 ; Fame & # 8221 ; and

disappear into obscureness. Other names are preserved as they are protected from the

heat of the Sun. The manner in which the personification of & # 8220 ; Fame & # 8221 ; , the figure of the

goddess of Fame, grants & # 8220 ; Fame & # 8221 ; is hit-or-miss and unlogical. Peoples of small virtue, are

granted & # 8220 ; Fame & # 8221 ; by accomplishing ill-famed workss, while others of virtue are bluffly refused

& # 8220 ; Fame & # 8221 ; . In this manner & # 8220 ; Fame & # 8221 ; is shown as a complete enigma, a strange and

unmanageable force, non granted on the position of value and logic, more to make with

opportunity than ground.

One can so chew over what Chaucer considered the greater immorality, the & # 8220 ; dictatorship of the

written word & # 8221 ; or the & # 8220 ; dictatorship of orality & # 8221 ; . One obvious illustration that refutes the earlier

claims of Russell is the negative portraiture of Chaucer & # 8217 ; s House of Rumour. Within this

topographic point is great confusion and upset, & # 8220 ; And therout com so gret a noyse & # 8221 ; ( 1927 ) . The

thought of noise and confusion is once more repeated in ; & # 8220 ; No maner tydynges in to pace./ Ne

ne’er remainder is in that place/ That hit nys fild Fula of tydynges, / Other loude or of

whisprynges ; / And over alle the houses angles/ Ys Fula of rounynges and of jangles. & # 8221 ;

( 1956-1960 ) . These assorted rumors evidently contain embroideries to the truth, if

non a complete fiction. It seems that the negative mob contained within the

House of Rumour is more terrible than the comparative mocking of the written word and

its scholarly establishments. It seems that the written word, despite its many mistakes, is still

more applaudable and & # 8220 ; true & # 8221 ; than that of the spoken word which is far less dependable

than the & # 8216 ; auctoritas` of classical authors.

When one looks at the defects within The House of Fame it brings to oppugn the

building of the modern English canon and how it is formed. Obviously, Minnis & # 8217 ;

claim that the oldest texts were by and large considered the best is an thought that is

prevalent even today. Surely the academic establishments were still a chief factor

sing the formation of the English canon. Like Geffrey and Chaucer who studied

classical authors like Virgil, Ovid and Dante, pupils studied this at school as it was

considered the most & # 8220 ; valuable & # 8221 ; of the texts, once more reflecting the & # 8220 ; older is better & # 8221 ; thought

of & # 8216 ; auctoritas` . Harmonizing to Kaplan and Rose, Dr. Samuel Johnson & # 8217 ; s Lifes of the

Poets was the beginning of the formation of the English canon. Dr. Johnson chooses

the books that he personally felt was admirable and worthy of his congratulations. Already there

is the presence of an & # 8220 ; elitist & # 8221 ; society. Originally, as merely the wealthy and privileged

were able to read and compose, the procedure of the English canon was decided by the key

academic and scholarly figures, who decided to take what the & # 8220 ; right & # 8221 ; type of work

would travel into the English canon and repeatedly studied at establishments, hence

doing it cyclical, ever-renewing and therefore a lasting text that was entrenched

within The House of Fame. Just as the early unwritten heroic poesy was created to do

characters like Beowolf celebrated and hence a lasting reminder to the population,

the written texts besides serve as the ground tackle of & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; . However, there is besides the

passing nature of & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; , merely as names melt into limbo in The House of Fame,

the modern reader & # 8217 ; s neutrality in a text can besides disintegrate the & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; of a text.

Suddenly the assorted canonized texts may non be considered relevant ; an obvious

illustration of this would be the reaching of feminist theories, finally emerging in

academic establishments and & # 8220 ; runing & # 8221 ; the & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; and position of many canonical writers

and texts, who no longer are considered appropriate or enlightening. It would look

that Chaucer & # 8217 ; s word picture of The House of Rumour could besides be right. The power of

the written word has survived far better than that of the spoken. There are few if any

& # 8220 ; rumours & # 8221 ; that remain fresh and clear several hundred old ages subsequently. The spoken word is

carried off in the air current, the changeless murmurs frequently forgotten whereas the written

word has endured for many 100s of old ages.

Clearly Chaucer has mixed feelings toward the power of literacy and orality. Both

can be digesting, but in an progressively more literate society, the usage of orality to

immortalise narrative events is seldom used. As Chaucer indicates, the written word

does stay in The House of Fame whereas the spoken word is more likely contained

within the invariably altering mutters in The House of Rumour. However,

although Chaucer is himself a scholarly and academic adult male like Geffrey, he is still

instead mocking of the academic society and the bookmans who seem to be permaently

fixed within the universe of literature and trusting wholly on book-learning, instead than

experiences from the events in the outside universe of world. Chaucer within his

description of The House of Fame besides inquiries the relevancy of literary plants,

turn outing that the & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; of writers and their plants is a tenative 1. Chaucer is clearly

reveals the beginnings of the English canon and the plants contained within it. He

stresses the fluctuations of & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; and how plants can go a portion an elite

grouping. The modern reader knows, that the books within the English canon may

bit by bit disappear or can reemerge, depending on the attitudes of people like

Geffrey, the readers and bookmans, and of establishments that continually study the

& # 8220 ; classical & # 8221 ; texts. Harmonizing to Chaucer, & # 8220 ; celebrity & # 8221 ; is non considered a baronial

achievement and the consequence of opportunity instead than any literatary virtue or virtuousness.