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. December 10, 2008. Accessed May 22, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Chaucers-House-Fame-Cultural-Nature-Fame/94404.
"Chaucer's "The House Of Fame": The Cultural Nature Of Fame." Essayworld.com. December 10, 2008. Accessed May 22, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Chaucers-House-Fame-Cultural-Nature-Fame/94404.
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Added: 12/10/2008 06:49:33 AM
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