Nature as Destiny in 'Troilus and Criseyde.'
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The interpretation of Chaucer's Troilus has always been bedeviled by the fact that it is a work of the late fourteenth century, a period whose intellectual complications baffle the modern student of literature. It is an age when the same person can appear to us to be an arch-conservative and a radical at the same time. Thomas Bradwardine, that major English thinker, affirmed the power of God's providence in the strongest Augustinian terms against contemporary "neo-Pelagians" like Gabriel Biel while cheerfully dismantling Aristotle's physics to make way for the modern science of mechanics.(1) Because Chaucer was an exceptionally well-informed writer, whose reading and travels gave him access to a wide range of old and new ideas, many of these debates found their way into his poetry. To his readers belongs the task of assessing those ideas as they appear in his works.
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