Chapters (Layout Features)

Chapter 4: Subtle Clerks and Uncanny Women

Crane, Susan

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.


  • thumnail for Chapter_4__Subtle_Clerks_and_Uncanny_Women.pdf Chapter_4__Subtle_Clerks_and_Uncanny_Women.pdf application/pdf 981 KB Download File

Also Published In

Gender and Romance in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Princeton University Press

More About This Work

Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Published Here
December 8, 2009