Medieval Mythography, Volume 3:
The Emergence of Italian Humanism, 1321-1475

Jane Chance

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"An extraordinary achievement and a fitting final volume in the Medieval Mythography series. It contains stunning, original treatments of the three enormous figures of the later Middle Ages: Dante, Boccaccio, and Christine de Pizan."--J. Stephen Russell, author of Chaucer and the Trivium: The Mindsong of the Canterbury Tales

"There is nothing comparable available in any language. Chance’s first-rate knowledge of the texts in a variety of languages is equaled by her knowledge of the secondary literature as well as contemporary literature."--Jon Solomon, Robert D. Novak Professor of Western Civilization and Culture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


With this volume, Jane Chance concludes her monumental study of the history of mythography in medieval literature. Her focus here is the advent of hybrid mythography, the transformation of mythological commentary by blending the scholarly with the courtly and the personal.

Chance’s in-depth examination of works by the major writers of the period demonstrates how they essentially co-opted a thousand-year tradition. Their intricate narratives of identity mixed commentary with poetry, reinterpreted classical gods and heroes to suit personal agendas, and gave rise to innovative techniques such as "inglossation"--the use of a mythological figure to comment on the protagonist within an autobiographical allegory. In this manner, through allegorical authorial projection of the self, the poets explored a subjective world and manifested a burgeoning humanism that would eventually come to full fruition in the Renaissance.

No other work examines the mythographic interrelationships among these poets and their unique and personal approaches to mythological commentary.

Jane Chance, Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor Emerita of English at Rice University, is a recent recipient of an honorary doctorate of letters from Purdue University. She has published twenty-two books, including Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power; The Genius Figure in Antiquity and the Middle Ages; and The Mythographic Chaucer: The Fabulation of Sexual Politics, as well as the first two volumes of Medieval Mythography.
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A superb mountain of material. The goddess of Ambition who frowned on Anaeas has smiled on Prof. Chance. This book is a wonderful accomplishment.-- Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

Chance’s analyses are frequently engaging.-- The Medieval Review

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