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date: 27 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In On Beauty and Being Just, Elaine Scarry argues that error is part and parcel of the human understanding of beauty. Medieval writers regarded beauty with some suspicion; in the modern era, it is typically associated with “taste” and judgement. This article examines the notion of beauty as depicted in medieval literature by focusing on Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem “Miller’s Tale” and his description of the main actor, Alisoun. It considers how a new aesthetic enters the poem and with it an attempt to redefine both poetry and beauty.

Keywords: Elaine Scarry, error, beauty, Geoffrey Chaucer, Miller’s Tale, poetry, medieval literature

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