Chaucer, Gower, And The Vernacular Rising: Poetry And The Problem Of The Populace After 1381

Paperback | April 11, 2013

byLynn Arner

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Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising examines the transmission of Greco-Roman and European literature into English during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, while literacy was burgeoning among men and women from the nonruling classes. This dissemination offered a radically democratizing potential for accessing, interpreting, and deploying learned texts. Focusing primarily on an overlooked sector of Chaucer’s and Gower’s early readership, namely, the upper strata of nonruling urban classes, Lynn Arner argues that Chaucer’s and Gower’s writings engaged in elaborate processes of constructing cultural expertise. These writings helped define gradations of cultural authority, determining who could contribute to the production of legitimate knowledge and granting certain socioeconomic groups political leverage in the wake of the English Rising of 1381. Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising simultaneously examines Chaucer’s and Gower’s negotiations—often articulated at the site of gender—over poetics and over the roles that vernacular poetry should play in the late medieval English social formation. This study investigates how Chaucer’s and Gower’s texts positioned poetry to become a powerful participant in processes of social control.

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Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising examines the transmission of Greco-Roman and European literature into English during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, while literacy was burgeoning among men and women from the nonruling classes. This dissemination offered a radically democratizing potential for accessing, int...

Lynn Arner is Associate Professor of English and of Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock University in Canada.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.48 inPublished:April 11, 2013Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271058943

ISBN - 13:9780271058948

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1 Chaucer’s and Gower’s Early Readership Expanded

2 Against the Greyness of the Multitude: Poetry, Prestige, and the Confessio Amantis

3 Time After Time: Historiography and Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

4 In Defense of Cupid: Poetics, Gender, and the Legend of Good Women

5 Chaucer on the Effects of Poetry

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“This study is welcome and valuable in returning literature, which has been studied as an isolated phenomenon, to the rich social fabric of which it is a part. Literature, and culture generally, have an autonomy in which man’s most penetrating self-interrogations take place. This is therefore not the last word, but it is an important word.”

—Patrick Madigan, Heythrop Journal