Document Details

Document Type:   Thesis
Title:   Borrowing in Context: The Importance and Artistic Implications of Chaucer's Use of Sources in the Merchant's Tale
Author:   Austin Taylor McIntire
College:   Liberal Arts
Degree Program:   English, M.A.
Degree:   Master of Arts
Committee Director:   Kateryna Schray
Document Availability:   Document available for World-Wide access.
Date of Defense:   May 2011

In this thesis, I consider the implications of Chaucer not only as a man of his age but also as a poet who made deliberate decisions to borrow, imitate, and adapt the work of others, specifically in the context of The Merchant's Tale. Chapter I of this thesis establishes the significance of the medieval understanding of auctor and auctoritas during the medieval literary period and, furthermore, examines Chaucer's artistic output both during his career as a court poet and following his removal to Kent in an attempt to reach a clearer understanding of Chaucer's use of source material when composing The Canterbury Tales. Chapter II of this thesis traces the shifting presentation of The Merchant's Tale in source and analogue study and establishes the strong likelihood of Chaucer's knowledge of and familiarity with the Decameron. A closing discussion of Chaucer's use of Deschamp's Le Miroir de Mariage and Boccaccio's Decameron II, 10 and VII, 9 in The Merchant's Tale leads to important conclusions regarding the importance of these sources in Chaucer and broader conclusions regarding Chaucer's artistic aspirations as a poet. 

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