Chapter

Reynard in England

Jill Mann

in From Aesop to Reynard

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199217687
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191712371 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217687.003.0007
Reynard in England

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This chapter discusses the two Middle English narratives directly inspired by the Roman de Renart, the thirteenth‐century poem The Vox and the Wolf and Chaucer's Nun's Priest's Tale. The view that these two texts are more properly classed as fables is contested, and it is shown that their narrative style is heavily influenced by the Renart in each case. The Vox imitates the episodic structure of Branch IV of the Renart and reproduces the fox's fantastic description of the heaven that lies at the bottom of a well, while the Nun's Priest's Tale borrows from Branch II, the cock's warning dream, which becomes the centrepiece of the intellectual dispute between Chauntecleer and his wife. In their different ways, both works abandon the sparse narrative and moral seriousness of fable, revelling instead in the power of language to structure and restructure the world.

Keywords: Roman de Renart; The Vox and the Wolf; Nun's Priest's Tale; Chaucer; rhetoric

Chapter.  24074 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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