New approaches to Chaucer

Carolyn Dinshaw

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    Chaucer at Ground Zero This essay was begun on the day that the last load of debris was removed from the site of the World Trade Center disaster of September 11, 2001. My desk at New York University is about a mile from Ground Zero, as the site became known. I easily could have attended the ceremony that day markingthe end of recovery and clean-up, but I did not go to that vast literal and metaphorical pit. In factI would not revisit it, lest I never return from all that loss. Instead, I wrote about the Middle Ages. If I attempted - however unintentionally - to regain via the medieval a measure of wholeness, safety, and grounding lost in the trauma of September 11, it certainly wasn't the first time the past erahas been invoked to perform such a recovery. Indeed, it has been recently argued that British historians in the 1950s undertook 'an obsessive search for the archival identity of Robin Hood' upon 'the loss of the raj'. Not long after that postcolonial grieving, a leading American Chaucerian hoped that 'the recognition of valid realities established by earlier generations' might provide protection against another gaping hole, what he called 'that rancid solipsistic pit' of modernity. In these scholarlyinstances the medieval, and particularly Chaucer, was used in a process of mourning, or rather, if weaccept Freud's distinctions, in a melancholic refusal of loss, the putative modern-day loss of good love, revealed truth, and fullness of being.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Chaucer, Second Edition
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Pages270-289
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9780511999000
    ISBN (Print)0521815568, 9780521815567
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

    Fingerprint

    Geoffrey Chaucer
    Medieval Period
    Recovery
    Sigmund Freud
    Wholeness
    Robin Hood
    World Trade Center
    Disaster
    September 11 Attacks
    Ceremony
    Hole
    1950s
    Historian
    Grounding
    Trauma
    Modernity
    Grieving
    Safety

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities(all)

    Cite this

    Dinshaw, C. (2004). New approaches to Chaucer. In The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer, Second Edition (pp. 270-289). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521815568.016

    New approaches to Chaucer. / Dinshaw, Carolyn.

    The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, 2004. p. 270-289.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Dinshaw, C 2004, New approaches to Chaucer. in The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, pp. 270-289. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521815568.016
    Dinshaw C. New approaches to Chaucer. In The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. 2004. p. 270-289 https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521815568.016
    Dinshaw, Carolyn. / New approaches to Chaucer. The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer, Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, 2004. pp. 270-289
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