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Sacrifice Your Love: Psychoanalysis, Historicism, Chaucer
by L.O. Aranye Fradenburg
University of Minnesota Press, 2002
Paper: 978-0-8166-3646-4 | Cloth: 978-0-8166-3645-7
Library of Congress Classification PR1933.P679F73 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 821.1

A long-awaited reevaluation of Chaucer through the lens of sacrifice by a major figure in medieval studies.

Historicism and its discontents have long been central to the work of Louise Fradenburg, one of the world's most original and provocative literary medievalists. Sacrifice Your Love brings this interest to bear on Chaucer's writing and his world, rethought in light of a theory of sacrifice and its part in cultural production. Fradenburg writes the "history of the signifier"--a way of reading change in the symbolic order--and its role in making sacrifice enjoyable.

Sacrifice Your Love develops the idea that sacrifice is a mode of enjoyment-that our willingness to sacrifice our desire is actually a way of pursuing it. Fradenburg considers the implications of this idea for various problems important in medieval studies today-how to understand the religiosity of cultural forms, particularly chivalry, in the later Middle Ages and how to understand the ethics of Chaucer's famously nondidactic poetry-as well as in other fields of inquiry.

A major rethinking of Chaucer, Sacrifice Your Love works in depth as well as across a broad range of topics from medievalism to psychoanalysis, advancing both the theory and practice of a new kind of historicist approach.

L. O. Aranye Fradenburg is professor of English, women's studies, and comparative literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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