Article

The Consolations of Philosophy

Jamie C. Fumo

in The Oxford Handbook of the Elegy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199228133
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199228133.013.0007

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The Consolations of Philosophy

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This article highlights that ‘Elegy as a pure or self-articulated form did not exist in medieval England; when employed by modern critics with reference to poems such as Pearl or Book of the Duchess, the term is no more than a matter of critical convenience’. After offering its caveat about the nomenclature of elegy, it moves on to echo the thesis about the self-reflexive nature of the genre. However, this reflexivity plays itself out in a tension between a Stoic-Boethian assertion of loss and the creative potential of loss, a potential that yields poetry with a recuperative function. Moreover, the association of poetic identity and the ‘medieval’ more generally, with the temporal constructions of elegy is elaborated. For both Lydgate and Hoccleve, Chaucerian elegy serves as a point of origin for the development of a vernacular poetic identity and a national myth of English poetry.

Keywords: philosophy; later medieval elegy; Chaucerian elegy; Lydgate; Hoccleve; English poetry; poetic identity

Article.  8804 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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