Artifact as text: the layout of Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas

White, Thomas (2012) Artifact as text: the layout of Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Chaucer's 'Tale of Sir Thopas,' usually discussed only in terms of its wilful and relentless ineptitude, has attracted some sporadic interest on account of its layout in a number of manuscripts of the Tales. This layout, a diagrammatic rendering of the tail-rhyme verse form, is reproduced to a varying extent in around half of the surviving manuscripts of the tale. This thesis seeks, firstly, to examine Chaucer’s apparent intent in utilising this layout, situating it as an important aspect of a tale much more complex than its “drasty” surface would suggest, and than many critics have subsequently given it credit. Secondly, however, in examining those manuscripts in which the layout is produced either partially or in a reduced form, I emphasise the ways in which the manuscript culture of the Medieval period is one of fragmentary texts and unstable relationships between ‘authors’ and their works. Therefore, rather than conceptualising these realisations of the layout as more or less ‘successful’ versions of a Platonic, essentially ahistorical work, I argue that this textual instability results in a variety of forms of the Thopas layout, each of which creates different interpretive spaces for the reader, enacting new reading experiences each time it is realised.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Medieval Romance, Thopas, Textual Materiality, Form, Paratext
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Robertson, Prof. Elizabeth and Smith, Prof. Jeremy
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Mr. Thomas White
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3922
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2015 07:33
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2015 07:34

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