By Christine M. Rose, Elizabeth Robertson
In 13 stories of representations of rape in Medieval and Early glossy literature via such authors as Chaucer, Shakespeare and Spenser, this quantity argues that a few kind of sexual violence opposed to girls serves as a starting place of Western tradition. the quantity has reasons: first, to discover the resistance those pervasive representations generate and feature generated for readers - particularly for the feminine reader- and moment, to discover what those representations let us know approximately social formations governing the relationships among women and men. extra quite, Rose and Robertson have an interest in how representations of rape happen a given culture's knowing of the feminine topic in society.
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Additional info for Representing Rape in Medieval and Early Modern Literature
He may be acknowledging female speech and desire even as he questions the misogynistic stance. Still, one cannot help finding in Chaucer's work a concomitant showcasing of women's victimization and silencing. Elizabeth Robertson, for example, while acknowledging the events in Chaucer's works as literal rapes, says that Chaucer, in the Ovidian tradition, utilizes rape for its power of transformation and for its ability to represent the strengths and limits of art as a force for social criticism.
In a finely balanced and tremendously memorable poetic passage, we witness January's distasteful aged lust and his subsequent ridiculous glory in his possession of the delectable May. Concomitantly, but in a darker key, we also behold May's docile acceptance of his abhorrent amorous advances and her mental distance from them. It is well worth quoting from the joyless bedroom scene: And Januarie hath faste in armes take His fresshe May, his paradys, his make. He lulleth hire, he kisseth hire ful ofte; With thikke brustles of his berd unsofte, Lyk to the skyn of houndfYssh, sharp as brereFor he was shave al newe in his manereHe rubbeth hire aboute hir tendre face, And seyde thus, "Allas!
As Derek Pearsall observes, "The story has been deliberately emptied of that movement of affection, that tingling of sexual desire, that is present in the closest analog ... ' ... " 5° Additionally, a baby sleeps in a cradle in the center of all the raping and beatings, so the further threat of violence to the child hangs over the tale, yoked to the comic fabliau slapstick trappings. Even so, there is an alarming absence of harm in the narrator's recounting of the rape. " (4230-33). ). The Reeve-narrator demonstrates indeed that rape is not the issue here; it is the revenge that counts.