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Chaucer's Neoplatonism

Varieties of Love, Friendship, and Community
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John M. Hill
Studies in Medieval Literature
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Adobe Digital Editions
Adobe DRM [Hard-DRM]

Chaucer’s Neoplatonism covers his major works and the ways in which he has absorbed a Boethian, essentially rational Neoplatonism. By means of that philosophy he poetically engages issues of truth, falsehood, love, friendship, joy, and community. His widely recognized, capacious humanism arises from that engagement.
Troilus and Criseyde, the discussion in
Chaucer’s Neoplatonism
includes the dream visions as well as aspects of
The Canterbury Tales
. It lays out Chaucer’s Boethian-inspired, cognitive approach, drawn mainly from Book V of the
, to whatever subject he treats. Far from courting skepticism, Chaucer gathers many variants of such matters as love, friendship, and community within a meditative mode that assess better and worse instances. He does so to illuminate a fuller sense of the forms that respectively underlie particular manifestations of love, joy, friendship or community. That process is both cognitive and aesthetic in that beauty and truth appear more fully as one assess both better and worse instances of an idea or of an experience. Chapters on the dream visions establish Chaucer’s reasonable belief in the truth-value of fictions, however grounded on exaggerated and mixed tidings of truth and falsehood. Chapters on
Troilus and Criseyde
examine relationships between the main characters given the place of noble friendship within an initially promising but then tragic love story. The drama of those relationships become Chaucer’s major claim to fame before the tales of Canterbury, where, for meditative purposes, he gathers various gestures toward community among the dramatically interacting pilgrims, while also exploring the dynamics of reconciliation.
Chapter Two - Varieties of Supposition and the Truth Value of Story

Chapter Five - Varieties of Joy in Troilus and Criseyde

Conclusion - Chaucer’s Neoplatonic Art

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