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Nature, Sex, and Goodness in a Medieval Literary Tradition | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Nature, Sex, and Goodness in a Medieval Literary Tradition

Hugh White

Abstract

‘Nature’ is a highly important term in the ethical discourse of the Middle Ages and, as such, a leading concept in medieval literature. This book examines the moral status of the natural in writings by Alan of Lille, Jean de Meun, John Gower, Geoffrey Chaucer, and others, showing how — particularly in the erotic sphere — the influences of nature are not always conceived as wholly benign. Though medieval thinkers often affirm an association of nature with reason, and therefore with the good, there is also an acknowledgement that the animal, the pre-rational, the instinctive within human beings ... More

Keywords: Middle Ages, medieval literature, Alan of Lille, Jean de Meun, John Gower, Geoffrey Chaucer

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2000 Print ISBN-13: 9780198187301
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187301.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Hugh White, author
St Catherine's College, Oxford