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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The literary theory of the medieval schools, found in academic prologues or commentaries, is often articulated in an analytical and explicit language. However, in both Latin and vernacular literary texts literary self-theorization may also be expressed in figured and metaphorical form. An example would be Guillaume de Machaut’s “Prologue,” but other widespread and recognizable literary theoretical figures include the dream, the mirror, the reading of a book, or the conversation overheard. It is important for scholarship in Middle English literature to focus more on these “imaginative” articulations of literary theory. This article examines one particular literary-theoretical figure, the chanson d’aventure (“the song of adventure”), which, depending on how it is put together, can perform an array of literary self-commentaries.

Keywords: medieval literary theory, Middle English literature, figuration, chanson d’aventure, dream, mirror, reading, Guillaume de Machaut, medieval schools

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