A Concise Companion to Chaucer (Concise Companions to by Corinne Saunders

By Corinne Saunders

This concise spouse presents a succinct advent to Chaucer’s significant works, the contexts within which he wrote, and to medieval suggestion extra usually. Opens with a common introductory part discussing London existence and politics, books and authority, manuscripts and readers. next sections specialise in Chaucer’s significant works – the dream visions, Troilus and Criseyde and The Canterbury stories. Essays spotlight the major spiritual, political and highbrow contexts for every significant paintings. additionally covers very important basic themes, together with: medieval literary genres; dream concept; the Church; gender and sexuality; and examining Chaucer aloud. Designed in order that each one contextual essay will be learn along one in all Chaucer’s significant works.

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Furthermore, although Alceste begins by talking specifically about the god of Love, she has certainly moved into the world of the fourteenth century by the time she refers to ‘tyraunts of Lumbardye’ – the Visconti despots of Milan, whom Chaucer visited and negotiated with in 1378 and to whose notorious behaviour he refers elsewhere in his work (Wallace 1997). By lines 356–7 Alceste is making a general comment about the responsibilities of any ruler. The passage both warns against the lies of chattering courtiers (‘For in youre court is many a losengeour / And many a queynte totelere accusour’) and urges the ruler to reasonable behaviour, seeming most concerned about tyranny – mentioned three times in four lines.

Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire: The Literature of Social Classes and the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 32 Politics and London Life Middleton, Anne (1978). ‘The Idea of Public Poetry’. Speculum 53, 94–114. Ormrod, W. M. (2003). ‘The Use of English: Language, Law, and Political Culture in Fourteenth-century England’. Speculum 78, 750–87. Pearsall, Derek (1992). The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford: Blackwell. Riley, H. T. (1868). Memorials of London and London Life.

We might also think of the uncertain morality of another group who came together in a tavern – the Canterbury company itself. The imagery of the short tale conjures up a picture of a marketplace. Perkyn is compared to the ‘goldfynch’ (I, 4367) and to the ‘berye’ (I, 4368), he is as full of sexual love as the hive is of honey (I, 4373) and, when his master decides to sack him, he compares the apprentice to a ‘roten appul’ (I, 4406). These terms evoke an image of the countryside in the city, reminiscent both of the immigrant labour that flooded into London from the countryside in the fourteenth century, particularly in the wake of the plague, and of the produce and goods that were sold in London, in the markets and shops.

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