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 Volume 13/1: includes forum The Ghetto as a Victorian Text
 

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   Newest Articles

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 Agatha Frischmuth

 Musical Macrostructures in The Gold Bug Variations and Orfeo by Richard Powers; or, Toward a Media-Conscious Audionarratology
 A. Elisabeth Reichel

 New Modes of Listening
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 Narrating Sounds
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Updated Up To 18/01/2017
Volume 14, Issue 2 (March 2016) : 187-216
Anti-Dualism and Social Mind in Chaucer’s Clerk’s Tale

Anna Narinsky
Rubric A: Narrative as a Way of Thinking
Rubric B: English Poetry

Abstract

 

In Chaucer’s Clerk’s Tale, Walter’s search for signs of discontent and mental anguish on his wife’s inscrutable countenance invites an analysis of the minds of its characters. Walter’s and Griselda’s mental functioning merits attention from the perspective of contemporary cognitive theories such as Alan Palmer’s concept of the social mind. This perspective reveals Chaucer’s concern with the problem of human minds’ being closed off from the observer or else their thinking being transmittable. The prominence of the intermental processes of the Saluzzans in Clerks’ Tale suggests a view of intelligence as shared rather than dualistic. The anti-dualistic stance is reinforced by his protagonists’ eventual failure to bracket their minds off from each other and their people. However intently Walter and Griselda hide their thoughts behind the impenetrability of their faces and physical behaviour, as the narrative progresses their minds become not only readable but also unified. 


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