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Chaucerian Beckets
Helen Barr

1 The figure in the Canterbury stained glass: Chaucerian Beckets Canterbury is the destination that Chaucer’s pilgrims never reach. While ‘folk’ from every ‘shires ende’ go to seek the cathedral shrine of the holy, blessed martyr Thomas Becket, the saint who helped them when they were sick, neither the assembly that gathers in Southwark nor those other persons who emerge en route come to their journey’s end.1 The narrative’s topographical momentum falters about two miles away from Christ’s Church at the end of an unknown village somewhere not far from Blean

in Transporting Chaucer
Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

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Reading sacred space in late medieval England
Laura Varnam

Introduction: Reading sacred space in late medieval England In the anonymous fifteenth-century continuation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales known as The Canterbury Interlude and the Merchant’s Tale of Beryn, the pilgrims finally arrive at the sacred destination of their pilgrimage, Canterbury Cathedral, their terrestrial Jerusalem (Figure 1). The Knight and his companions make for the shrine of St Thomas Becket but the Pardoner, the Miller, and the Host linger in the nave and look around them in wonder at the architecture and the stained glass: The Pardoner and

in The church as sacred space in Middle English literature and culture
Author: Helen Barr

What happens when Chaucer turns up where we don’t expect him to be? Transporting Chaucer draws on the work of the British sculptor Antony Gormley alongside more traditional literary scholarship to show that Chaucer’s play with textual history and chronological time prefigures how his poetry becomes incorporate with later (and earlier) texts. The shuttling of bodies, names, and sounds in and amongst works that Chaucer did write anticipates Chaucerian presences in later (and earlier) works that he did not. Chaucer’s characters, including ‘himself’ refuse to stay put in one place and time. This book bypasses the chronological borders of literary succession to read The Canterbury Tales and Chaucer’s Dream Vision poetry in present company with Chaucerian ‘apocrypha’, and works by Shakespeare, Davenant and Dryden. Conventional models of source and analogue study are re-energised to reveal unexpected (and sometimes unsettling) literary cohabitations and re-placements. Transporting Chaucer presents innovative readings of relationships between medieval texts and early modern drama, and between literary texts and material culture. Associations between medieval architecture, pilgrim practice, manuscript illustration, and the soundscapes of dramatic performance reposition how we read Chaucer’s oeuvre and what gets made of it. Written for scholars and students (undergraduate and graduate) who work in medieval English literary studies and early modern drama, Transporting Chaucer offers a new approach to how we encounter texts through time.

Johannes Wolf

lettering informs me that this is The Book of Margery Kempe . Immediately below these words is an image of a medieval woman – colouring and profile indicate this is a reproduction from stained glass. Long orange hair tumbles down over her shoulders and her head is framed by a halo. Her eyes are directed downwards at a carefully measured angle; her right hand extends from crossed arms to form a blessing. Plunging from the top right-hand corner are a series of arrow-like rays signifying divine inspiration accompanied by the dove of the Holy Ghost. She is a holy woman, a

in Encountering The Book of Margery Kempe
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Thomas Tolley

upper nobility. Spectacular complexes involving a fusion of the arts (architecture, sculpture, painting and stained glass) – such as Edward III’s completion of St Stephen’s Chapel at Westminster (1350–63) or the Beauchamp tomb and chapel at St Mary’s, Warwick (1441–52) – evidently required resources far beyond the means of most landed families. The gentry, however, certainly

in Gentry culture in late-medieval England
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Transporting Chaucer
Helen Barr

Introduction: Transporting Chaucer At the gate of Canterbury Cathedral in February 2011, a porter informed me that access to the Becket stained glass in Trinity Chapel I had come to research was off limits. There was a service happening. There was, however, a new statue of Becket in the crypt that might interest me. The statue seemed some compensation for having to wait for the glass so I dutifully trotted off to the crypt and searched with increasing puzzlement for the new artwork. Only, there was no statue. Nor, seemingly, Thomas Becket. At first. The

in Transporting Chaucer
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Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman
Alexa Alfer and Amy J. Edwards de Campos

metaphors and images which make productive comparisons between the perceived crisis of language and the socio-historical upheavals that appear to be rocking the foundations of society. Consider, for example, this description of the reconstructed stained glass window in St Simeon’s church: It once had gaudy nineteenth-century stained glass

in A. S. Byatt
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André Benhaïm

of amazing stained-glass windows. This is what one could gather from the first memory told in detail in ‘Combray’, when the Narrator evokes the bedroom in which, to entertain him and assuage his anxiety, his parents placed a magic lantern that ‘in the manner of the master-builders and glass-builders of gothic days it substituted for the opaqueness of the walls an impalpable iridescence, supernatural phenomena of many colours’ (à l’instar des premiers architectes et des maîtres verriers, substituait à l’opacité des murs d’impalpables irisations, de surnaturelles

in 1913: The year of French modernism
Ekphrasis and historical materiality in Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece
Rachel Eisendrath

, which purled up to the sky’. For Renaissance readers, this description may have evoked not so much the illusionistic experience of a voice, as rather a curling speech scroll, also known as a banderole (commonly used in the period to represent speech in tapestries, book illustrations, etchings, paintings, and stained-glass windows). Ekphrasis in Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece 33 Shakespeare directs our attention to the object itself, instead of to the illusion that this object is supposed to create: About him [Nestor] were a press of gaping faces… Some high

in Ekphrastic encounters