The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Andreas, James R. "'Wordes betwene': The Rhetoric of the Canterbury Links." 29 (1994): 45-64.
Bakhtin's theories of discourse are presaged in the works of Geoffrey of Vinsauf from which Chaucer borrows in the Canterbury Tales. This foreshadowing is most clear in Chaucer's views of language in which the word becomes a magical illusion allowing "the living and the dead [to] speak to one another through the magical medium of the utterance" (45). Such conversation is most apparent in the links between the Canterbury Tales. The feast metaphor accurately describes the amplificatio present throughout the tales. Chaucer also seems to use Vinsauf's trope of expolitio, in that Chaucer implies something is more important that what he says. Both Vinsauf and Bakhtin posit that the "most crucial aspect of languge . . . is the fact that it can . . . replicate itself with ever finer gradations of meaning and expression" (50). For Chaucer the activity of translation provides an opportunity for renewal which creates delight. The links between the tales not only provide the opportunity for dialogue, but they also characterize and aculturate each speaker. The nature of speech as dialogue is most apparent in the Man of Law's Prologue. The links also provide a space in the narrative for laughter to occur.