Framing devices

Robyn Starkey rohina at
Thu Apr 3 22:33:26 EST 2003

>I find that a convincing theory. But how many incomplete frames does Chaucer
>have, in fact? Some of his poems are incomplete simply by virtue of being
>unfinished (Canterbury Tales, House of Fame, Legend of Good Women, Romaunt
>of the Rose),

Well, the argument includes the theory that this incompleteness is 
deliberate, especially when compared to the supposedly finished poems which 
have such abrupt endings.

>but others, like the Book of the Duchess and the Parliament of
>Fowls, do return to the dreamer at the end, even if only for a line or two -
>and I think the same is true of Langland's Piers Plowman, btw (a DWJ
>favourite as we know). Formally their frames are complete, even if all the
>effort has been lopsidedly put in at the beginning, like one of those
>escritoires where the front is marquetry and twirly bits and the back hasn't
>even been varnished.


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