Cultivating Chaucerian antiquity in The Shepheardes Calender
in Rereading Chaucer and Spenser
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In the Shepheardes Calendar, Chaucer fulfils two distinct but associated functions. First, his name functions as a synecdoche for much of the English literary and linguistic past; words marked with his name are treated as archaic and can be deployed to specific poetic effects. Second, Chaucer is identified as an English analogue to Virgil. By classicising Chaucer through this comparison while also emphasising his linguistic Englishness, the Calendar uses Chaucer to join Latinate and vernacular poetic traditions. This view of Chaucer as a hybrid English-classical figure not only defines his use in the Calendar, but also characterises the way the medieval poet is presented in the 1598 and 1602 Speght editions of Chaucer’s collected Works, the first published after the appearance of the Calendar.

Rereading Chaucer and Spenser

Dan Geffrey with the New Poete


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