Nature, Sex, and Goodness in a Medieval Literary Tradition

Hardcover | September 1, 2004

byHugh White

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'Nature' is a highly important term in the ethical discourse of the Middle Ages and, as such, a leading concept in medieval literature. This book examines the moral status of the natural in writings by Alan of Lille, Jean de Meun, John Gower, Geoffrey Chaucer, and others, showinghow-particularly in the erotic sphere-the influences of nature are not always conceived as wholly benign. Though medieval thinkers often affirm an association of nature with reason, and therefore with the good, there is also an acknowledgement that the animal, the pre-rational, the instinctivewithin human beings may be validly considered natural. In fact, human beings may be thought to be urged almost ineluctably by the force of nature within them towards behaviour hostile to reason and the right.

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'Nature' is a highly important term in the ethical discourse of the Middle Ages and, as such, a leading concept in medieval literature. This book examines the moral status of the natural in writings by Alan of Lille, Jean de Meun, John Gower, Geoffrey Chaucer, and others, showinghow-particularly in the erotic sphere-the influences of n...

Hugh White is CUF Lecturer in English, University of Oxford, and Fellow and Tutor in English, St Catherine's College, Oxford.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.83 inPublished:September 1, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198187300

ISBN - 13:9780198187301

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Table of Contents

Academic NaturesThe Moral Status of the Natural in Middle English Vernacular WritingsNatura Vicaria DeiThe Roman de la RoseFurther French NaturesGowerChaucerWorks CitedIndex