By Corinne Saunders
This concise spouse presents a succinct advent to Chaucer’s significant works, the contexts within which he wrote, and to medieval idea extra mostly. Opens with a common introductory part discussing London lifestyles 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 foremost non secular, political and highbrow contexts for every significant paintings. additionally covers vital normal themes, together with: medieval literary genres; dream concept; the Church; gender and sexuality; and studying Chaucer aloud. Designed in order that each one contextual essay could be learn along certainly one of Chaucer’s significant works.
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Additional resources for A Concise Companion to Chaucer (Concise Companions to Literature and Culture)
He thus implies that the tale is an attack on the Host himself, asserting that ‘herberwynge by nyghte is perilous’ (I, 4332). This comment has particular resonance in the context of late fourteenth-century London. In 1381 a regulation was passed that a hosteler must allow no one for whom he would not answer to lodge in his inn, and in 1384 the mayor and aldermen blamed innkeepers’ harbouring of criminals for an upsurge in criminal activity in London and the suburbs (Riley 1868: 453; Cartin 1996: 194).
All these works seem to belong to the first part of Chaucer’s poetic career, which largely precedes the composition of the Canterbury Tales. But there are important historical gaps in our knowledge. We lack any physical evidence of the original circulating forms of these early works that would give us a clearer understanding of who was reading them in Chaucer’s lifetime and what their views on his poems might have been. The earliest surviving manuscript of the Book of the Duchess dates from more than seventy years after its postulated date of composition.
Indeed, Chaucer’s own words reveal a degree of scepticism about the transmission of his works. Near the end of Troilus and Criseyde he includes this prayer for his book: And for ther is so gret diversite In Englissh and in writyng of oure tonge So prey I God that non myswrite the, Ne the mysmetre for defaute of tonge; And red wherso thow be, or elles songe, That thow be understonde, God I biseche! (V, 1793–8) His words recognize the reality of late fourteenth-century English as a dialectal language, varying in forms from region to region in ways that raise uncertainty about whether it will be ‘understonde’.
A Concise Companion to Chaucer (Concise Companions to Literature and Culture) by Corinne Saunders