Abstract

This article posits that the fourth stanza of the proem to Book Two of Troilus and Criseyde, a passage that reflects on linguistic change, calls attention to such change by deploying the already-antiquated but still-recognized final -e. The discussion considers first how Chaucer positions language change in Troilus, including the envoy (V, 1793–98), before addressing the careful construction of II, 22–28. Chaucer thus highlights discrepancies between written and oral forms of language as well as geographic and temporal differences. A consideration of the extant manuscripts of the poem demonstrates the attention Chaucer's early copyists paid to his deliberate use of written, but silent, final -e.

You do not currently have access to this content.