‘Double Sorrow’

The Complexity of Complaint in Chaucer’s Anelida and Arcite and Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid

in Critical Survey
Author:
Jacqueline Tasioulas University of Cambridge jt257@cam.ac.uk

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Abstract

The connection between Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid and Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde is made evident from the outset of Henryson’s poem. It is not, however, the only work of Chaucer’s that infuses the Testament, for the Scottish poet reaches towards Anelida and Arcite in the complaint d’amour that is delivered at the climax of the work. This article considers the effect that the echoes of this text have upon judgement of Cresseid and of Troilus, and the complex embedded layers of what constitutes ‘truth’, whether for the lover, the narrator or the reader. It explores the notion of ‘doubleness’ of thought in both works, initiated by Chaucer in his exploration of the complex loves of Anelida and Arcite, and pursued by Henryson in a poem that takes textual and amatory doubleness as its foundation.

Contributor Notes

Dr Jacqueline Tasioulas is University Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Clare College.

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