Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Chaucer's poetic style - Activities for A2 Page 3

Orality and literacy

Chaucer stands poised between oral and literate cultures and he actively exploits his participation in both.

Firstly, he invites us into the warm, ancient oral world of the listening group of friends to which we in imagination are joined.

Secondly, he invites us into the world of books.
He also makes the stylistic effort to absorb literacy into orality by blending the new world of literate thought into the old but always current world of personal direct speech and relationship.

Style and the speaking voice
  • Notice the oral character of Chaucer’s style with the use of direct address to the audience.

  • Modern poems rely on the stability of print in which the poet/narrator and reader exist unknown to each other.

  • Oral storytelling is at the centre of “The Canterbury Tales”. (There are several narrators/tellers and a group of listeners.)

  • The paradox is that the poet’s speaking voice is also addressed to us.

See page two for instructions

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I teach Film, Media and English Lit.