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2. Popular Love: The Ballad, Troilus & Criseyde, and the Canterbury Tales
About this Lecture
The poems in the previous module were highly formal in their exploration of love. In this module, we explore love as it is found in more popular forms. We begin by thinking about the ballad form, looking at a poem called ‘Lord Randall’, and the beginnings of the association of love and death. The contradictions of love are further explored in Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde’, in which Troilus gives us the first expression of the torment of love: “If no love is, O God, what fele I so?” Finally, we look at female representations of love; first, the Wife of Bath, whose “natural inclinations” may be the first expression of lust in the English language; and then, Palamon in the Knight’s Tale, who appears to be at the mercy of his female lover.
This course explores the theme of love from the earliest English literature to the present day – from authors that you have likely heard of, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Byron and Keats, to authors that are perhaps less well-known. This is a course that celebrates love in all it forms and between all kinds of people.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2018, August 15). Love Through the Ages - Popular Love: The Ballad, Troilus & Criseyde, and the Canterbury Tales [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/love-through-the-ages/popular-love-the-ballad-troilus-criseyde-and-the-canterbury-tales
McRae, John. "Love Through the Ages – Popular Love: The Ballad, Troilus & Criseyde, and the Canterbury Tales." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/love-through-the-ages/popular-love-the-ballad-troilus-criseyde-and-the-canterbury-tales