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An interpretation of The Canterbury Tales within the context of medieval thinking about the nature and function of the senses

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Copyright © 2001, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted May 2001.

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The Canterbury Tales is one of the landmarks in the history of English literature that evokes an interpretation from all who pass by. Given the sheer age of the text, it is hard to believe a new interpretation is possible. Yet Carolyn P. Collette's study of Chaucer's greatest work is truly innovative. Interpreting the text from a completely new angle, the author examines the stories within the framework of medieval psychology, and makes accessible to the modern reader the ideas about the nature and function of the senses that Chaucer's medieval mind would have taken for granted. Beautifully crafted, easy to read and with a stunning grasp of the medieval psychology, Species, Phantasms, and Images is a brave new foray into an unexplored interpretation of one of the greatest works of the English language.
Carolyn P. Collette is Professor of English, Mount Holyoke College and an Executive Editor of the New Chaucer Society.