Questions for Dr. Holsinger

The plot of The Burnable Book is very complex, placing historical figures in morally questionable spots as the mystery assassination unfolds. How did you balance the desire to paint an accurate picture of medieval England and the desire to remain creatively free to write an interesting mystery novel? Did you receive any criticism about the way you wrote characters such as Chaucer, King Richard, the Earl of Oxford, etc.?

Feb. 13 – The Reeve’s Tale

The Miller’s Tale and the Reeve’s Tale both include themes of cleverness, deceit, and a battle of wits between characters. Does the Reeve’s Tale conclude with a clear winner, like the Miller’s Tale seemed to do with ALisoun? How is the Reeve’s Tale another example of the fabliau?

Feb 1 – The Knight’s Tale Part 3

In this section, the narrator spends a large amount of time describing in detail the three temples for the gods that Theseus has constructed. What do you think these descriptions have to say about the gods they represent? For example, what does the construction of the temple for Venus have to say about courtly love?

Jan 30: The Knight’s Tale Parts 1 & 2

For every good scene in the tale’s first two parts, it seems that a bad one quickly follows i. It opens with Theseus’ victorious march home, but then shows the grieving widow’s troubles, which leads to the return of their husbands’ bodies, but also to Palamon and Arcite’s imprisonment, and so on. What other instances are there of Fortune behaving in a manner similar to this? What do the characters, specifically Palamon and Arcite, have to say about Fortune in regards to their own lives? Is the tale trying to say something here about the relationship between Fortune and free will?