Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 10400
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Farvolden , Pamela.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Love Can No Frenship: Erotic Triangles in Chaucer's "Knight's Tale" and Lydgate's "Fabula duorum mercatorum"
  • Source: Sovereign Lady: Essays on Women in Middle English Literature.  Edited by Muriel Whitaker.  Garland Publishing, 1995.  Pages 21 - 44.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Chaucer, Geoffrey, Poet- Canterbury Tales- Knight's Tale Courtly Love Exchange of Women Friendship in Literature Literature- Verse Love in Literature Lydgate, John, Poet- Fabula Duorum Mercatorum Male Friendship
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 14- 15
  • Related Resources: "Pamela Farvolden turns to an intriguing topic in her comparison of two works by Chaucer and Lydgate. Male friendship is increasingly seen as a stronger bond than the courtly love of hero and heroine in medieval romance. "Love Can No Frenship": Erotic Triangles in Chaucer's 'Knight's Tale' and Lydgate's Fabula duorum mercatorum" develops this theme. Although there are distinct differences in the two stories, the role of the woman is similar in each: she is an object of exchange used "to facilitate the relationship between the two men." (24) Farvolden asserts that Lydgate's tale makes the connections "among courtly love, male friendship, and the exchange of women" explicit while they remain implicit in the Knight's story. (35) The theme of male bonding is, however, even further accentuated in Boccaccio's Teseide, which was Chaucer's source. In Boccaccio's version the two knights do not begin to quarrel over Emilia until Arcita is to be freed from prison. Until that time, they enjoy observing her and conversing together about her. Chaucer turns their initial vision into an immediate quarrel which continues until Arcite is mortally wounded. Boccaccio's point is that the feminine is an almost diabolical disruption of male solidarity, a disruption which causes death and destruction. Chaucer modifies this dark view and makes the friendship between the two knights more fragile. Emily is an object of exchange between Theseus and the victorious knight, whereas in Lydgate's story the lady is literally exchanged between the two merchants. The analogy is a valid one, but certain shades of difference might be further acknowledged." From the review written by Elizabeth Walsh of "Sovereign Lady," "Medieval Review" (TMR ID: 96.12.11). [Reproduced by permission of the "Medieval Review."].
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  • Year of Publication: 1995.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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