Chapter 4: Subtle Clerks and Uncanny Women

Susan Crane

Chapter 4: Subtle Clerks and Uncanny Women
Crane, Susan
Book chapters
English and Comparative Literature
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Book/Journal Title:
Gender and Romance in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Princeton University Press
Publisher Location:
Princeton, N.J.
The wonders of Chaucer's tales, his flying horse and healing sword, shape-shifting fairy, beloved elfqueen, and illusionist clerk, draw on some of the most familiar manifestations of magic in romance. Magic is a generic marker that signals the inferiority of romance in the hierarchy of genres. The persistent claim leveled against romance magic is that it evades the genuine concerns of the world in favor of seductive falsehoods. In Insular Romance I have argued that the "lying wonders" of romance can comment on political and social concerns,- here I argue that magic becomes in romance a means of expressing gender difference. Participating in the cultural construction of gender and at the same time moving against its restraints, the deployment of magic in romance is far from irrelevant to worldly concerns.
English literature
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Suggested Citation:
Susan Crane, 1994, Chapter 4: Subtle Clerks and Uncanny Women, Columbia University Academic Commons, http://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:8072.

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