As I was busy working on research for the Decameron I realized my Canterbury Tales/Decameron project was going nowhere. In fact, I recognized this not long after beginning, but I persisted in the hopes of having missed something. Yet unfortunately I will have to let that go – further probing will simply lead me to force the issue, much like beating a round peg into a square hole, finding “evidence” that simply is not there. However, during that time I have spoken to other medievalists, and have found my Chaucer project has far more promise and originality than I had ever believed. I mean, I had always assumed I was conducing the research end of things for something else down the line, but I was thinking in terms of term papers or perhaps conferences. Out of the ten parts of the project so far, if I consolidate a couple, and treat the rest as background information, I apparently have four very strong points. As it stands right now, because this was an informal query, designed for blogging purposes and more or less conducted for my own benefit, the project is totally disorganized. There is no order to things (despite my arguing for an ordering of the actual tales!). Yet, instead of one long project I have been advised that at this stage smaller ones would be best. So right now I am working on Gamelyn, refining and developing it further, basically taking my blog post and reworking it as if I was writing a 20 page paper for a class. So far it is coming along.
In the meantime I have also been working on another idea looking at Chaucer’s other works (Duchess, Parliament, Fame, and Troilus and Criseyde) in light of the Pearl Poet, the name given to an anonymous writer of the Cotton Nero A.x which includes four poems, Pearl, Purity, Patience, and the infamous Sir Gawain.
It is clear that the two sets converse with each other, but to what extent is yet undefined, and consequently what I have been pouring over for the past four hours. I obviously do not believe I will find some sort of irrevocable answer tonight, but this will definitely keep me busy (along with Gamelyn) for the next several weeks, if not longer.