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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 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