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Iterability, Anthropocentrism, and the Franklin’s Tale

  • Shawn Normandin
Chapter
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

This chapter concerns what would seem to be one of Chaucer’s most anthropocentric poems: near the beginning of the Franklin’s Tale, a character expresses fear and hatred of coastal rocks; the rest of the story, preoccupied with human concerns (promises and adultery), seems to reduce the rocks to disposable impediments to human wishes. This chapter shows how the tale’s apparent anthropocentrism unravels itself. Jacques Derrida’s theory of iterability helps readers to understand the inhumanity of the tale’s speech acts, the refusal of language to cooperate with the intentions of the Franklin’s characters. Despite appearances, the Franklin does not entirely void the power of rocks: in the monetary and renunciatory transactions that occupy the end of the tale, minerals continue to influence human speech and behavior.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shawn Normandin
    • 1
  1. 1.Sungkyunkwan UniversitySeoulKorea (Republic of)

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