This book investigated the richness and the implicit gendering of ethical possibility in Chaucer’s writing as he negotiates the uneven Stoic-Christian territory of ethics. The overall position that emerges is that Chaucer especially articulates the sometimes comic, but also melancholy, contrast between ethical ideals of self-control and prudential contentment on one hand, and violence and uncontained passion on the other. After touching on various possible ways of explaining and historicizing this, the conclusion finds most plausible the suggestion that Chaucer’s ethical preoccupation was a way of expressing disquiet at the divisions and wreckage unleashed through English society in the 1380s.
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