#298. Chaucer が英語史上に果たした役割とは? (2)[chaucer][lydgate]


 [2010-01-09-1]の記事への追加.Chaucer の英語が英語史上でどのような意義をもつかについての議論に関連して,Horobin (1--2) が15世紀以来に出されてきたいくつかの評価を紹介している.以下に整理してみる.

And eke my maister Chaucer is ygrave
The noble Rethor, poete of Brytayne
That worthy was the laurer to haue
Of poetrye, and the palme atteyne
That made firste, to distille and rayne
The golde dewe dropes of speche and eloquence
Into our tunge, thurgh his excellence
  (John Lydgate, ''Life of Our Lady'', Book 2, Lines 1628--34)

The firste fyndere of our fair langage (Thomas Hoccleve, The Regement of Princes, line 4978)

[Chaucer's] diction was in general like that of his contemporaries. (Dr Johnson's "History of the English Language" in his Dictionary published in 1755)

. . . the English language must have imbibed a strong tincture of the French, long before the age of Chaucer, and consequently that he ought not to be charged as the importer of words and phrases, which he only used after the example of his predecessors and in common with his contemporaries (Thomas Tyrwhitt, ed. The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer. London: 1775--78. xxiii.)

Chaucer employed the London speech of his time, and a minute comparison of his usage with that of the contemporary London archives shows the two to correspond in all essentials. He not only did not invent or alter the grammatical inflections, but he also appears to have added few words to the English vocabulary. (Robinson, F. N., ed. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford, 1957. xxx.)

. . . Chaucer wrote in the English familiar to him from business as well as from court circles in London and Westminster. . . . In some respects, especially in the technique of verse, he was a great innovator, and a substantial number of words and phrases, many of French origin, are first recorded in his work. But the influence he had on the English language seems to have been more a matter of style than substance. (Davis, Norman. "Language and Versification." The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Ed. Benson, Larry D. xxvi.)

 Lydgate (see [2010-02-13-1]) や Hoccleve などの15世紀の Chaucer の追随者たちは,当然,Chaucer の英語をあがめ奉るのだが,18世紀くらいにはすでに冷静な目で Chaucer の英語を評価する者が現れてきている.Chaucer の英語に何らかの英語史的な意義を認めるという立場には,Horobin を含め現代の研究者は比較的慎重な態度を示しているようだ.

 ・Horobin, Simon. The Language of the Chaucer Tradition. Cambridge: Brewer, 2003.

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