Chaucer lived through a period of extraordinary upheaval: a protracted war with France, devastating plague, the peasants' revolt, religious controversy, and the overthrow of the king. Compact and comprehensive, this book offers a wide-ranging account of the medieval society from which workssuch as The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde sprang, and shows how these and other works manifest that society in fictional form. Significant aspects of the literary scene, such as patronage, audience, and performance, help to place Chaucer's practices in their historical framework, andhis treatment of love, paganism, and reality are framed within their intellectual and philosophical contexts. The modern reception of Chaucer in film and television adaptations is also examined. Seen through the lens of his cultural experience, this is the perfect critical companion to Chaucer'slife and poetry.The book includes a chronology of Chaucer's life and time, suggestions for further reading, websites, illustrations, and a comprehensive index.