heretical doctrines of John Wyclif and his Lollard followers, doctrines which provided an all-out attack on the wealth, power and status enjoyed by the clerical estate and which were to find a sympathetic audience even amongst some members of the royal court. As the son of a London vintner, a member of royal and aristocratic households, a civil servant and a diplomat, Geoffrey Chaucer enjoyed a privileged
3 Chaucer’s hands When the Pardoner boasts of his preaching prowess in the Prologue to his tale, he explicitly draws attention to his hands: Myne handes and my tonge goon so yerne That it is joye to se my bisynesse. (VI.398–9) But who can tell what ‘bisynesse’ these busy hands sign: rhetorical eloquence, inspirational moral teaching, or fraudulent extortion? Who sees these hands, and when? Although he talks in the present tense, at this moment, the Pardoner’s hands are suspended between his former congregations, the Canterbury pilgrims, and future audiences
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.
This article investigates how Chaucer‘s Knight‘s and Squire‘s tales critically engage with the Orientalist strategies buttressing contemporary Italian humanist discussions of visual art. Framed by references to crusading, the two tales enter into a dialogue focusing, in particular, on the relations between the classical, the scientific and the Oriental in trecento Italian discourses on painting and optics, discourses that are alluded to in the description of Theseus Theatre and the events that happen there. The Squire‘s Tale exhibits what one might call a strategic Orientalism designed to draw attention to the Orientalism implicit in his fathers narrative, a narrative that, for all its painstaking classicism, displays both remarkably Italianate and Orientalist features. Read in tandem, the two tales present a shrewd commentary on the exclusionary strategies inherent in the construction of new cultural identities, arguably making Chaucer the first postcolonial critic of the Renaissance.
This book on Geoffrey Chaucer explores the relationship between Chaucer's poetry and the change and conflict characteristic of his day and the sorts of literary and non-literary conventions that were at his disposal for making sense of the society around him. Critics who consider the social meaning of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales fall into two main schools: those who present his social thought as an expression of the dominant spirit or ideology of his day and those who see Chaucer as possessing a more heterodox voice. Many of the present generation of Chaucer critics have been trained either as 'Robertsonians' or as 'Donaldsonians'. For D. W. Robertson, even those medieval poems which do not explicitly address religious issues were frequently intended to promote the Augustinian doctrine of charity beneath a pleasing surface; for E. Talbot Donaldson, there are 'no such poems in Middle English'. The book sets out the basics of the Augustinian doctrine of charity and of medieval allegorical theory and examines 'patristic' interpretations of Chaucer's work, particularly of the 'Nun's Priest Tale'. It looks at the humanist alternative to the patristic method and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the patristic approach. The book also outlines some of the major medieval discourses about sexual difference which inform Chaucer's depiction of women, in particular, the tendency of medieval writers to polarise their views of women, condemning them to the pit or elevating them to the pedestal.
This is a much-needed volume that brings together established and early career scholars to provide new critical approaches to the relationship between Geoffrey Chaucer and Edmund Spenser. By reading one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages alongside one of the greatest poets of the English Renaissance, this collection poses questions about poetic authority, influence and the nature of intertextual relations in a more wide-ranging manner than ever before. With its dual focus on authors from periods often conceived as radically separate, the collection also responds to current interests in periodisation. This approach will engage academics, researchers and students of medieval and early modern culture.
For 700 years, Geoffrey Chaucer has spoken to scholars and amateurs alike. How does his work speak to us in the twenty-first century? This volume provides a unique vantage point for responding to this question, furnished by the pioneering scholar of medieval literary studies, Stephanie Trigg: the symptomatic long history. While Trigg's signature methodological framework acts as a springboard for the vibrant conversation that characterises this collection, each chapter offers an inspiring extension of her scholarly insights. The varied perspectives of the outstanding contributors attest to the vibrancy and the advancement of debates in Chaucer studies: thus, formerly rigid demarcations surrounding medieval literary studies, particularly those concerned with Chaucer, yield in these essays to a fluid interplay between Chaucer within his medieval context; medievalism and ‘reception’; the rigours of scholarly research and the recognition of amateur engagement with the past; the significance of the history of emotions; and the relationship of textuality with subjectivity according to their social and ecological context. Each chapter produces a distinctive and often startling interpretation of Chaucer that broadens our understanding of the dynamic relationship between the medieval past and its ongoing re-evaluation. The inventive strategies and methodologies employed in this volume by leading thinkers in medieval literary criticism will stimulate exciting and timely insights for researchers and students of Chaucer, medievalism, medieval studies, and the history of emotions, especially those interested in the relationship between medieval literature, the intervening centuries and contemporary cultural change.
6 Chaucer and hagiographic authority Jennifer L. Sisk While much has been written about Chaucer’s debt to French, Italian and Classical literature,1 comparatively little attention has been devoted to Chaucer’s engagement with hagiography, even though writing about the saints was the most popular and widespread medieval narrative tradition.2 Chaucer’s own legend of St Cecilia is generally regarded as the first (or most) literary example of vernacular hagiography produced in late medieval England, but his engagement with the tradition goes far beyond the
The references to Geoffrey Chaucer in A View of the Present State of Ireland seem surprisingly minor if we compare them to the older poet’s looming presence in Spenser’s verse. Chaucer appears only twice in Spenser’s prose dialogue on Irish colonial reform. In each case, his writings serve as a source of lexical evidence about contemporary Irish material and legal culture. Hardly comparable in scope and significance to Spenser’s emulation of and competition with Chaucer in his poetry, these references
). IF Chaucer’s descriptions of the pilgrims and characters of the Canterbury Tales are constructed in terms of inherited stereotypes and literary conventions ( Chapter 1 ), the question which primarily concerns us here is how Chaucer adapted such conventions to the needs and issues of his own time and what their significance was for his contemporary audience. In general, critics who consider the