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Rime Royal (general note) - Harvard Chaucer site
When Chaucer first began writing the dominant form of verse was the English four-beat couplet, probably derived from the French octosyllabic (eight syllable) couplet, though often more free in the number of syllables allowed in the line. Chaucer's earliest works were in this form. -- Chaucer used this four-beat line for the last time in the House of Fame. He experimented with a variety of stanza forms in iambic pentameter (ten syllables, with five stressed syllables) and in The Legend of Good Women he used (for the first time in English) the iambic pentameter couplets familiar to every reader of The Canterbury Tales. Readers who know this form from later writers, such as Alexander Pope, should note that Chaucer's verses are not "heroic" or "closed" couplets -- what 16thC critic George Gascoigne called "riding rime". -- Rime Royal is a stanza that Chaucer adopted in his middle years, when he was greatly influenced by the Italian writers, most notably Giovanni Boccaccio. This is the stanza Chaucer used in his great Troilus and Criseyde (which he based on Boccaccio's Il Filostrato). It consists of seven iambic pentameter lines riming ababbcc. -- Where Chaucer got the form is not known; it was never used in English before Chaucer. In French a similar stanza called chant royal sometimes appears in lyric poetry, and it has been held that Chaucer adopted the form from the works of Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300-1377). Or Chaucer may have adapted the Italian ottava rime, which consists of eight eleven-syllabled lines. riming abababcc; -- To adapt ottava rima to a seven-line form he had merely to drop the fifth line.
Chaucer  English_lit  poetry  Medieval  Italy  Renaissance  Boccaccio  Pope  meter  versification  style 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
The High Style (general note). - Harvard Chaucer site
Chaucer's contemporaries and successors regarded works in that style as his finest accomplishment. His younger contemporary, John Lydgate, hailed Chaucer as the first to "distill and rain the golden dew-drops of eloquence" into the English tongue. -- The style was partly a matter of diction, with a heavy use of Latin and French borrowings and partly a matter of versification, including the elegant rime royal stanza, which became the standard for elegant verse in the centuries that followed. But even more important was the skilled use of the arts of a matter of "rhetoric," which was understood to be not the art of persuasion as we usually define it today, but the art of producing elegantly-adorned verse. Thus Petrarch, the Italian poet, is regarded as a "rhetor," and rhetoric is regarded as the art of great poetry:
Chaucer  English_lit  poetry  Medieval  language  style  rhetoric  topos 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
The Loss of Final -e - Harvard Chaucer site
It is worth noting that this aspect of Chaucer's verse was unknown for centuries. By Shakespeare's time the final -e had been lost. That is why, though Shakespeare's pronunciation differed from our own, it is possible to read his works in a modern pronunciation: the rhythm of his lines remains the same, no matter how the vowels are pronounced, because except for a few exceptions ("Out damnéd spot!"), Shakespeare treated what had become in his time the "silent e" in the same way we do. Consequently, when Shakespeare read Chaucer he omitted the final -e, treating it as silent. The meter was ruined; though Shakespeare greatly admired Chaucer, he and his contemporaries thought that Chaucer was an archaic poet who could not write a smooth and pleasing meter in those distant early times. So too did John Dryden, who idolized Chaucer but thought he wrote in "the infancy of our Poetry". Not until the the late eighteenth century did scholars discover and demonstrate the importance of the final -e for Chaucer's versification.
Chaucer  English_lit  poetry  language  meter  Shakespeare  Dryden  14thC  15thC  16thC  17thC  18thC 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
The Criyng and the Soun: Chaucer Audio Files | Baragona's Literary Resources
These are links to web pages with excerpts from Chaucer’s works read by professors. The main purpose of these recordings is to help students improve their pronunciation of Chaucer’s Middle English. The emphasis is on accuracy of pronunciation, according to the most current scholarly thinking, though you will notice some individual variation among the readers.
Chaucer  poetry  English_lit  14thC  Medieval 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
Interlinear Translations of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Harvard Chaucer site
These translations of the Canterbury Tales are for those beginning their study of Chaucer's language. They supply merely a pony and by no means can they serve as a substitute for the original, nor even for a good translation. Often the syntax of the interlinear translation will be awkward in Modern English, since the aim is to supply a somewhat literal translation to make clear the meaning of the Middle English words. For the same reason there is no attempt to reproduce in Modern English the spirit and tone of the original (even if that were possible). The translation is more often "word for word" than "sense for sense."
etexts  translation  English_lit  14thC  Chaucer 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMACL) - The House of Fame by Geoffrey Chaucer
The following text is based on that published in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER, ed. W.W. Skeat (Oxford, 1899). This work is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN. This electronic edition was edited, proofed, and prepared by Douglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@AOL.COM), September 1994, based upon a previous e-text of unknown origin. Additional assistance provided by Diane M. Brendan.
etexts  poetry  English_lit  Chaucer  Pope 
may 2014 by dunnettreader
Canterbury Tales Project
The Canterbury Tales Project aims to investigate the textual tradition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to achieve a better understanding of the history of its composition and publication before 1500. Here is how we work: (1) We have established a system of transcription for all the manuscripts and early printed books of the Canterbury Tales into computer-readable form. (2) We transcribe the manuscripts using this system. (3) We compare all the manuscripts, creating a record of their agreements and disagreements with a computer collation program (Collate). (4 )We use computer-based methods, some drawn from evolutionary biology, to help reconstruct the history of the text from this record of agreements and disagreements. (5) We publish all the materials, the results of our analysis, and the tools which we use in electronic form.-- We have published seven CD-ROMs to date, with more coming soon. We have begun internet publication with the Caxtons online, and you can see web samples of our Hengwrt, Miller's Tale and Nun's Priest's Tale CD-ROMs online. Altogether, we have published transcripts and images of over 5000 pages from manuscripts and early editions of the Tales, amounting to around 20% of all surviving fifteenth-century witnesses. -- we are active in promoting mass manuscript digitization: see the website we have established, in partnership with others. We are now at the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing at the University of Birmingham.
website  digital_humanities  English_lit  Chaucer  14thC  15thC  printing  manuscripts 
may 2014 by dunnettreader

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