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Greene, E.L. (1987). American Imago. XL, 1983: Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde: Narrator-Reader Complicity. Wolfgang E. H. Rudat. Pp. 103-113.. Psychoanal Q., 56:423.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XL, 1983: Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde: Narrator-Reader Complicity. Wolfgang E. H. Rudat. Pp. 103-113.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:423

American Imago. XL, 1983: Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde: Narrator-Reader Complicity. Wolfgang E. H. Rudat. Pp. 103-113.

Edward L. Greene

In Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde intimations of an incestuous involvement between Pandarus the uncle and Criseyde the niece appear repeatedly. However, Chaucer is not explicit about this. Rudat refers to a 1979 "standard-setting article" by Evan Carton which states that the reader of this work takes on the responsibility of making explicit what Chaucer cleverly leaves only implied though sexually suggestive. Rudat then attempts to demonstrate that the narrator's complicity in the author-reader interaction does indeed give us a scene of incest, though not in the literal sense Carton suggests. Through careful examination of the text itself, with intensive analysis of the mythological references which abound in the work, Rudat builds a case to suggest that incestuous feeling and fantasies are abundant. It is quite clear from the text that Troilus and Criseyde's sexual encounter is the vicarious actualization of Pandarus' own incestuous fantasies. Furthermore, the verbal play between niece and uncle is replete with sexual innuendo and may very well have functioned as a symbolic intimacy, carrying the fantasy to a level of reality one step closer to actuality though never crossing the line. This is a good example of how unacceptable impulses frequently are partially gratified through symbolic expression in polite society by verbal banter and teasing, but always within the bounds of propriety.

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Article Citation

Greene, E.L. (1987). American Imago. XL, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 56:423

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