DISCUSS THE CULTURAL NATURE OF FAME AND ITS TEXTUAL
EXPRESSION WITH REFERENCE TO ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:
ORAL HEROIC POETRY, CHAUCER'S DEPICTION IN THE HOUSE OF FAME
AND THE MODERN CONSTRUCTION OF THE CANON OF ENGLISH
YOU SHOULD FOCUS YOUR ANALYSIS ON THE INTERPLAY OF ORAL
AND LITERARY TRADITIONS IN THESE CONTEXTS.
Many critics have noted the complexities within Chaucer's The House of Fame, in
particular, the complexities between the oral and the literary. The differences between
these methods are constantly appearing; Chaucer is well aware of rapidly changing
communicative practises and contrasts the preservation of utterance with the longevity
of literary texts. He achieves this by discussing the nature of 'Fame' and the
difficulties that arise from it. 'Fame' can both destroy and create. It can result in the
eternal preservation of great works and their creators. However, Chaucer is quick to
note the precarious nature of 'fame' noting the unreliable process of attaining it and its
potentially momentary existence.
Every creator with their respective work/s naturally
crave and desire 'fame'; they want their subjects to remain fresh in the minds of their
audience. Chaucer, while neither totally praising the written nor the oral, reveals how
essentially the written word is far more likely to become eternal as opposed to the oral.
The relative 'fame' of any work is dependent on many factors. Many traditional and
classical ideas result in the formation of the English canon, yet as Chaucer indicates,
the 'fame' of these works can easily become annihilated. The arrival of new readers
with different ideals and thereby changing tradition, can reject classical or 'canonical'
work and their 'fame' will melt into nothingness.
Most stories, histories and legends that emerge from oral heroic poetry are to
herald the achievement of the powerful...