Chaucer's "The House Of Fame": The Cultural Nature Of Fame



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'S DEPICTION IN THE
HOUSE OF FAME AND THE MODERN CONSTRUCTION OF THE CANON OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.

YOU SHOULD FOCUS YOUR ANALYSIS ON THE INTERPLAY OF ORAL AND LITERARY TRADITIONS
IN THESE CONTEXTS.


Many critics have noted the complexities within Chaucer's The House of Fame,
in particular, the complexities between the oral and the literary. The
differences between these methods are constantly appearing; Chaucer is well
aware of rapidly changing communicative practises and contrasts the preservation
of utterance with the longevity of ...

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of their audience. Chaucer, while neither totally praising the written
nor the oral, reveals how essentially the written word is far more likely to
become eternal as opposed to the oral. The relative "fame" of any work is
dependent on many factors. Many traditional and classical ideas result in the
formation of the English canon, yet as Chaucer indicates, the "fame" of these
works can easily become annihilated. The arrival of new readers with different
ideals and thereby changing tradition, can reject classical or "canonical" work
and their "fame" will melt into nothingness.
Most stories, histories and legends that emerge from oral heroic poetry are
to herald the achievement of the powerful and wealthy so that their histories
will not fade from the memories of the population. The stories of Beowolf are a
clear example of this, as within these stories, (whether embellished or no),
Beowolf's fame and legend reaches the modern reader hundreds of years later.
Clearly, Beowolf is ...

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plays on all these meanings and its
implications, yet his ideas are clouded and obscured so it is difficult to
define whether his arguments are mocking, condemning or celebrating. J. Stephen
agrees with Shelia Delany's argument in her book, The House of Fame: The Poetics
of Skeptical Fidelism and believes that The House of Fame is indeed "a
sceptical poem". However, Russell is rather extreme in his view, believing that
Chaucer is "writing to deconstruct the tyranny of the written word". It is
difficult to agree with this view, and although there are elements to suggest
this may be the case, one would tend to agree with Delany's argument, that
Chaucer "preferred to transcend the choice ...

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"Chaucer's "The House Of Fame": The Cultural Nature Of Fame." Essayworld.com. August 30, 2004. Accessed August 19, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Chaucers-House-Fame-Cultural-Nature-Fame/13533.
"Chaucer's "The House Of Fame": The Cultural Nature Of Fame." Essayworld.com. August 30, 2004. Accessed August 19, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Chaucers-House-Fame-Cultural-Nature-Fame/13533.
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Added: 8/30/2004 12:05:33 AM
Category: Book Reports
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