Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4559
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  • Title: John Capgrave and the Chaucer Tradition [influence of Chaucer upon Capgrave's "Life of Saint Katherine" and the social and religious forces affecting Capgrave as an author].
  • Source: Chaucer Review 30, 4 ( 1996): Pages 389 - 400.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Capgrave, John, Author- Life of Saint Katherine Catherine of Alexandria, Martyr, Saint Chaucer, Geoffrey, Poet- Troilus and Criseyde Hagiography Influences Literature- Verse Sources Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 14- 15
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  • Abstract: Although Capgrave never directly refers to Chaucer, analysis of Capgrave's "Life of St. Katherine of Alexandria" indicates that he had some familiarity with "Troilus and Criseyde" and the "Canterbury Tales." Capgrave's portrait of Katherine approaches the same question of the place of women in society which Chaucer examines in "Troilus and Criseyde." Though Katherine is a saint and Criseyde is not, Katherine shares a number of qualities with Criseyde, including a reading mentality. Capgrave also follows in Chaucer's footsteps where he apologizes for the places where his work lacks something, when he claims to be a translator instead of a creative writer, and when he assures his reader that his account of Katherine's life is accurate. Capgrave discusses several issues that were not considered appropriate to discuss with the laity, but by creating an extremely intrusive narrator he avoids any authorial responsibility and censure. Though the ending of the "Life of St. Katherine" is complex, like the ending of "Troilus and Criseyde," Capgrave reminds readers of authorial troubles, not of the transition from earthly to spiritual existence. Capgrave also expresses concern with how later readers will perceive what he writes [Reproduced by permission of Peter G. Beidler and Martha A Kalnin Diede, editors of "The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography."].
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  • Year of Publication: 1996.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00092002
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