This article begins with an admittedly improbable claim: Chaucerian poetics operates via a process of “hylomorphic recursion.” This phrases means that Chaucer engineers only two elements, Form and Matter, by means of only two relations, Formalist and Materialist. The formalist relation corresponds to medieval realism: universals order particulars. The materialist relation corresponds to medieval nominalism: particulars do not conform to universals. The article deploys this organon to read the Nun's Priest's Tale and propose a new understanding of Chaucer's relationship to the major philosophical positions of the fourteenth century. Critical dispute over the nature of this relationship is unresolved, because Chaucer refuses to decide between realism and nominalism. The article then turns from the Nun's Priest's Tale to condensed readings of the Wife of Bath, the Franklin, the Clerk, and the Pardoner in order to argue that Chaucer has an excellent word for this suspension of decision: love.

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