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Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Culture$
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Miranda Anderson and Michael Wheeler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474438131

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474438131.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Horse-Riding Storytellers and Distributed Cognition in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Horse-Riding Storytellers and Distributed Cognition in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Chapter:
(p.66) 4 Horse-Riding Storytellers and Distributed Cognition in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Source:
Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Culture
Author(s):

Guillemette Bolens

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474438131.003.0004

The taming of horses changed humans’ relation to space, movement, and speed. It increased their social agency and environmental impact. In fourteenth-century England, Geoffrey Chaucer writes about the storytelling contest of a group of men and women travelling together on horseback to Canterbury. Bringing an enactive practice of language together with the dynamic of horse-riding, TheCanterbury Tales characterizes its storytelling pilgrims by the way they ride their horses and speak to each other. The pilgrims’ kinesis, narrative skills and cognitive styles are linked to a use of artefacts (e.g., clothing, weapons, stirrups) which defines them as characters. Chaucer conveys such distributed information by working with language in a way that successfully induces readers’ cognitive engagement, and triggers perceptual-motor simulations of situated actions in meaningful ways.

Keywords:   Geoffrey Chaucer, Horse-riding, Storytelling, Sensorimotricity, Motor cognition, Artefacts, Enactive cognition

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