By Glenn Burger
Bringing the worries of queer concept and postcolonial reviews to endure on Chaucer's Canterbury stories, this bold publication compels a rethinking not just of this so much canonical of works, but in addition of questions of sexuality and gender in pre- and postmodern contexts, of problems with modernity and country in historiography, or even of the company of historiography itself.
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Extra resources for Chaucer's Queer Nation (Medieval Cultures, Volume 34)
The chaotic desire of Palamon and Arcite is organized by the restraint of the Knight as tale-teller directing our attention to Theseus as embodiment of properly ordered masculine desire. In turn, the magisterial artistry of Theseus and the tale as a whole allows desire to be directed even higher to the purified order of Egeus’s Boethian mastery of individual desire. Yet, as Deleuze notes, following Georges Bataille, “the language of Sade is paradoxical because it is essentially that of a victim.
Another field—much broader, much less polemical—has opened up before us: the field of nonmodern worlds. ”2 This does not mean that modernity is simply the false consciousness of moderns; Latour is instead careful to grant the idea its own effectiveness, its own historicity. ”3 As a result, Latour is able to suggest different spatial and conceptual models for imagining temporal relationships and our relationships to history: Let us suppose, for example, that we are going to regroup the contemporary elements along a spiral rather than a line.
35 Patterson is, of course, situating his remarks within the context of an argument that in the Tales Chaucer is intent on stepping out from under the oppressive weight of a courtly tradition of “making” to develop new modes of expression and representation. And the Miller’s Tale will indeed seem a “false start” if we remain locked within traditional models of domination/revolt and of progress and modernity as the defining terms for the Tales. Situating this supposed “false start” in the context of Sedgwick’s “deformative,” however, we see instead how the emergence of the (problematized) first person at this moment in the Tales becomes a richly productive question rather than a stabilizing presumption.