By John Burnside
A unique of mysterious attractiveness, The Devil's Footprints explores the basic forces of daily life: love, worry, grief, and the wish of redemption.Michael Gardiner has lived in Coldhaven all his lifestyles but nonetheless seems like an interloper. Married yet far-off from his spouse, he discovers institution buddy, Moira Birnie, has killed herself and her sons by way of surroundings their motor vehicle ablaze. despite the fact that, she spared her fourteen-year-old daughter, Hazel. As young ones, Michael and Moira had a quick romance, but extra troubling is the truth that Michael used to be chargeable for the loss of life of Moira's brother, town bully. within the wake of this latest tragedy, Michael turns into keen about Hazel, and she or he convinces him to take her clear of the village and her abusive father, with devastating results.
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Extra info for The Devil's Footprints
But among the ‘sondry thynges’ which books treat of are women, and here we not only have ‘other preve’, but we find the books themselves at variance; in opposition to the antifeminist tradition which is represented in the Legend’s Prologue by the Troilus, there are the ‘sixty bokes olde and newe’ in Chaucer’s possession which the God of Love cites as containing innumerable stories of women who chose to die rather than be unfaithful (G 273–310). How can the notion of literary authority survive such contradictions?
Chaucer must have known perfectly well that Troilus and Criseyde, for the reasons I have already outlined, is not an antifeminist work. Yet he also knew (as his picture of Jankin’s use of his ‘book of wikked wyves’ makes clear) that the subtleties of authorial intention are all too often submerged in the crude interpretations of the reading public. This being so, he both is and is not contributing to the antifeminist tradition in telling of Criseyde. He therefore avails himself of the conventional polarities of the ‘woman debate’ in order to make an equivalent contribution to the opposing stereotype of the suffering ‘good woman’.
At the end of Troilus and Criseyde, he not only apologizes for his story to the female members of his audience12 – Bysechyng every lady bright of hewe, And every gentil womman, what she be, That al be that Criseyde was untrewe, That for that gilt she be nat wroth with me. Ye may hire gilt in other bokes se; 12 The audience addressed may be the implied rather than the actual audience, since Richard Green (1983–4) has shown that the number of women at court was probably small. Such apologies to women for anti-feminist material are frequent enough in medieval literature to be regarded as conventional (Mann, 1991); but Chaucer’s use of the convention is differentiated from that of other writers by his immediate addition of remarks critical of men.
The Devil's Footprints by John Burnside