The Broken Flood of the Miller’s Tale

  • Jameson S. Workman
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Christianity inherits the poetic imbalance of classical literature’s Old Man, his “natural immortality,” which—to my knowledge—remains peerless in the catalogue of Platonic oxymoron. The ambrosial plunderbund of Olympus merges into a more brooding and self-sacrificial singularity. A harder, incarnate deathlessness joins the contest to describe the aporetic divergence of eternity and perpetuity. Chaucer seems to have adapted without much fuss to this dual genealogy in the history of ideas: “And forthi yif we wollen putten worthi names to thinges and folwen Plato, lat us seyen thanne sothly that God is ‘eterne’, and that the world is ‘perpetuel’” (Boece, V pr. vi, 96–98). From a different vista, the Miller’s Tale magnifies the same debate: Does poetry belong to the current “perpetuel” world where Tithonus exists by sheer tenacity or the delayed “eterne” one where he exists by sheer inevitability?


Fine Clothes Canterbury Tale Church Bell Snow Globe Fall World 
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© Jameson S. Workman 2015

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