Literary critic, poet and philologist as well as medievalist, with a particular interest in the powers and effects of poetic language, Marie Borroff brings the full range of her expertise to bear on problems of central importance in the poetry of Chaucer and his nameless contemporary, the Gawain--or Pearl--poet. This collection of essays, much of it previously unpublished, represents a major contribution to the study of late Middle English literature.
Often called the first great English novel, Troilus and Cressida, a tragic love story set during the siege of Troy, is Chaucer's masterpiece. Troilus, a valiant warrior, is scornful of love until he catches a glimpse of Cressida. With the help of his friend and her uncle Pandarus, Troilus wins Cressida over. But their happiness is destroyed when, summoned to a Greek camp, Cressida seeks the protection of one Diomede and ultimately betrays Troilus.
Chaucer's longest complete poem is the supreme evocation of doomed courtly love in medieval English literature. Set during the tenth year of the siege of Troy, the poem relates how Troilus - with the help of Criseyde's wily uncle Pandarus - persuades her to become his lover, only to be betrayed when she is handed over to the Greek camp and yields to Diomede.