Exchanging Terms

Ardis Butterfield

in The Familiar Enemy

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574865
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722127 | DOI:
Exchanging Terms

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This chapter investigates the language of diplomacy in more detail, looking at evidence from Froissart's Chroniques of his views on language and language use, and at the role language played in the battles for supremacy between English and French diplomats, lords, and kings. We see from a broad range of writing how potential linguistic misunderstandings are used as a subtle means of exerting diplomatic leverage on both sides of the Channel. The literary form of the envoy, revived by poets working in diplomatic roles, records a sensitivity to the role of language in cross‐cultural exchange. Two of Chaucer's major narratives, the Knight's Tale and Troilus and Criseyde, are saturated with this language of negotiation and represent subtle accounts of the tensions involved in fraternal relationships caught up in war.

Keywords: Froissart; Froissart's Chroniques; Chaucer; Knight's Tale; Troilus and Criseyde; medieval diplomacy; envoy

Chapter.  24164 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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