The Kankedort Page
Daniel T. Kline, Dept. of English, U of Alaska Anchorage
Woodcut of London, from Richard Pinson's edition of the Canterbury Tales, c. 1526
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"But now to yow, ye loveres that ben here, / Was Troilus nought in a kankedort, . . . "?
Troilus and Criseyde 2: 1751-52

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This website is composed of (to this point) three overlapping projects

bltri.gif (843 bytes) The Kankedort Page
an academic homepage directed primarily at my classes at the U of Alaska Anchorage

bltri.gif (843 bytes) The Chaucer Pedagogy Page
a website directed primarily toward teachers and students of Chaucer and the later Middle Ages

bltri.gif (843 bytes) The Electronic Canterbury Tales
an online compendium and companion to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, indexed by tale

There is some overlap between these three sites, and I will continue to integrate them more completely and expand them more comprehensively.
What is a Kankedort, Anyway?

Generally speaking?
No one really knows, it seems.
The word is recorded only once in the English language, apparently coined by Chaucer to describe the seemingly insoluble dilemma faced by Troilus, the love-sick knight in the great romance Troilus and Criseyde, as he attempts to make his true feelings known to Criseyde.

I really like the word, though
In fact, I think it's my favorite word, if one can have such a thing.
Despite the inability of the best of all dictionary's (the Oxford English Dictionary) inability to trace the etymology of this term with any certainty, I think we all know a "kankedort" when we're in one.

If he tells her the truth, she might reject him, and that would be a fatal blow to the greatest knight in Troy.
If he doesn't tell her, he'll continue to suffer, and he's sure he'll never recover from his love-longing.
If he tells her and she accepts his love (and she is, after all, the daughter of a traitor to Troy), what then?
What will his friends think?  And the town elders? And Criseyde's uncle Pandarus, Troilus's best friend?
And?
And?
Get the picture?

"Kankedort" is, in my mind, the perfect word to describe the www--
not a web (which implies some form of organization and a weaver)
or a superhighway (which implies speed, direction, and destination)--
and the rapid technological changes of the last decade or so.
Heck, it's a good enough term to describe what life seems like (to me, at least) at the end of the millennium.
A multitude of choices, an over saturation of images, a cacophony of competing messages, and all of them vexed.
A kankedort.
Like Kafka, but with a sense of humor.

Specifically speaking?
The Kankedort Page and its cousins, The Chaucer Pedagogy Page and The Electronic Canterbury Tales
Offer my attempt to make some sense out of these new technologies
and how they impact two of my favorite things:
Teaching  English and studying the literature and culture of the Middle Ages.
And like all good kankedorts, this page will continue to grow, change, and never end, really.
That's the nature of kankedorts, I figure.

Have you experienced a kankedort of some sort?
And who hasn't?
Do tell!

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1998, Daniel T. Kline. All rights reserved. Page launched on 01.01.98. Last updated on 12.21.06.