Renaissance heroes

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Tue Aug 5 11:31:04 EDT 2003


>Hm. Mediaeval, yes, but renaissance I'm not so convinced about. I come at it
>mainly from a literary perspective, and there are a lot of very distinctive
>individuals from Chaucer onwards. The Wyf of Bath, for example - she has
>little allegiance to family mores!

What do you mean? She got married 5 times, surely that's supportive of 
family values. ;) We can argue about whether the portraits in Chaucer's GP 
are of individuals or types (I incline towards the latter, because of the 
indefinite article "a monk", not "the monk"), but the point I was trying to 
make was not that there are not distinctive individuals, but that being a 
distinctive individual is not the be-all and end-all that it is perceived 
to be in modern times. Individual people can still have collective values.

>ME: Modern European history may be written from that perspective, but the
>literature of the period (say from about 1400 onwards) emphasises that same
>individualism. You can even see it in Chaucer's career, in the movement from
>the very mediaeval, stained-glass-window treatment of "The Boke of the
>Duchesse" or "The Parliament of Fowles" to the handling of teh psychological
>complexities of "Troilus and Criseyde".

Well, again, I would argue that a lot of what one "sees" is pretty much 
informed by one's own cultural perspective. If you are looking for emergent 
individualism, you will find it. On the other hand, if you are looking for 
other perspectives, there's evidence for that, too. I would argue quite 
strongly that there isn't the huge change you imply from early Chaucer to 
the later works, but again, that's probably an issue of a different 
perspective.

>ObDWJ: this is pretty much teh period DWJ is playing with in "Magicians of
>Caprona", of course, though it seems that her Renaissance Italy is
>contemporary with the semi-Edwardian world of Cat and Chrestomanci. Or is it
>Victorian? "Stealer of Souls" has more of a mid-nineteenth-century feel to
>it, but the accident that kills Cat's parents is very Edwardian in feel.

I always assumed Caprona was Edwardian because that's the time period in 
Chrestomanci's world. Is there any indication that he time-travels to visit 
the families? Also, they have cars, so I thought it was like an alternate 
Italy which had kept closer to its renaissance origins.

Robyn 
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