Historians on Chaucer: The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

Hardcover | December 15, 2014

EditorStephen Rigby

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As literary scholars have long insisted, an interdisciplinary approach is vital if modern readers are to make sense of works of medieval literature. In particular, rather than reading the works of medieval authors as addressing us across the centuries about some timeless or ahistorical "humancondition", critics from a wide range of theoretical approaches have in recent years shown how the work of poets such as Chaucer constituted engagements with the power relations and social inequalities of their time. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, medieval historians have played little part in this"historical turn" in the study of medieval literature.The aim of this volume is to allow historians who are experts in the fields of economic, social, political, religious, and intellectual history the chance to interpret one of the most famous works of Middle English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer's "General Prologue" to the Canterbury Tales, in itscontemporary context. Rather than resorting to traditional historical attempts to see Chaucer's descriptions of the Canterbury pilgrims as immediate reflections of historical reality or as portraits of real-life people whom Chaucer knew, the contributors to this volume have sought to show whatinterpretive frameworks were available to Chaucer in order to make sense of reality and how he adapted his literary and ideological inheritance so as to engage with the controversies and conflicts of his own day. Beginning with a survey of recent debates about the social meaning of Chaucer's work,the volume then discusses each of the Canterbury pilgrims in turn. Historians on Chaucer should be of interest to all scholars and students of medieval culture whether they are specialists in literature or history,

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As literary scholars have long insisted, an interdisciplinary approach is vital if modern readers are to make sense of works of medieval literature. In particular, rather than reading the works of medieval authors as addressing us across the centuries about some timeless or ahistorical "humancondition", critics from a wide range of the...

Stephen Rigby was educated at Sheffield and London universities. He has published widely on social theory, medieval English social and economic history, Middle English literature, and medieval political theory. Alastair Minnis is currently the Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of English at Yale University. Formerly he taught at the Queen...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:512 pagesPublished:December 15, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199689547

ISBN - 13:9780199689545

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Table of Contents

Stephen Rigby and Alastair Minnis: PrefaceStephen H. Rigby: Reading Chaucer: Literature, History and IdeologyCaroline M. Barron: Chaucer the Poet, Chaucer the PilgrimStephen H. Rigby: The KnightCraig Taylor: The SquireAnthony J. Pollard: The YeomanKatherine J. Lewis: The Prioress and the Second NunMarilyn Oliva: The Nun's PriestMartin Heale: The MonkG. Geltner: The FriarRichard Goddard: The MerchantCharles F. Briggs: The ClerkAnthony Musson: The Sergeant of LawPeter Coss: The FranklinGervase Rosser: The Five GuildsmenChristopher M. Woolgar: The CookWendy R. Childs: The ShipmanCarole Rawcliffe: The Doctor of PhysicRuth Mazo Karras: The Wife of BathDavid Lepine: The ParsonMark Bailey: The PloughmanPaul Freedman: The MillerNigel Ramsay: The MancipleDavid Stone: The ReeveIan Forrest: The SummonerRosemary Horrox: The PardonerMartha Carlin: The HostStephen Rigby: Conclusion: Historicism and its Limits