Introduction: Going Between

  • Gretchen Mieszkowski
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Go-betweens: a queen, a prince, a steward, a merchant, a wizard, a witch, ladies-in-waiting, comrades-in-arms, governesses, nurses, tutors, priests, servants, former prostitutes, peddlers, and beggars. Throughout medieval English and Western European literature, from the top to the bottom of the social scale, go-betweens bring couples together for courtship, marriage, a love affair, or simply for sex. These figures are crucial to a wealth of medieval texts—some famous, some little known—and they are an essential component of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. This book uncovers this tradition, the web of cross-fertilizing texts that ultimately yield Chaucer’s three main characters: the lover, the lady, and the go-between.


Love Affair Romance Convention Medieval Literature Opposed Conception Sexual Compliance 
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  1. 1.
    For example, see William Witherle Lawrence, “The Love Story in ‘Troilus and Cressida,’ ” in Shaksperian Studies by Members of the Department of English and Comparative Literature in Columbia University, ed. Brander Matthews and Ashley Horace Thorndike (New York: Columbia University Press, 1916), pp. 202–03 [187–211].Google Scholar
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    John V. Fleming, Classical Imitation and Interpretation in Chaucer’s Troilus (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990), pp. 157–59.Google Scholar
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    Leyla Rouhi, Mediation and Love: A Study of the Medieval Go-Between in Key Romance and Near-Eastern Texts, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 93 (Leiden: Brill, 1999), pp. 120–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Joseph de Morawski, ed., Pamphile et Galatée, Jean Brasdefer (Paris: Champion, 1917), pp. 105–55.Google Scholar
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    William Matthews, “The Wife of Bath and All Her Sect,” Viator 5 (1974): 413–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Paul Strohm, Social Chaucer (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989), p. 112.Google Scholar
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    Gretchen Mieszkowski, “Chaucer’s Much Loved Criseyde,” Chaucer Review 26.2 (1991): 109–32.Google Scholar

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© Gretchen Mieszkowski 2006

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  • Gretchen Mieszkowski

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