As literary students have lengthy insisted, an interdisciplinary procedure is essential if sleek readers are to make experience of works of medieval literature. particularly, instead of examining the works of medieval authors as addressing us around the centuries approximately a few undying or ahistorical 'human condition', critics from quite a lot of theoretical methods have in recent times proven how the paintings of poets resembling Chaucer constituted engagements with the facility relatives and social inequalities in their time. but, possibly unusually, medieval historians have performed little half during this 'historical turn' within the learn of medieval literature. the purpose of this quantity is to permit historians who're specialists within the fields of monetary, social, political, spiritual, and highbrow historical past the opportunity to interpret essentially the most well-known works of heart English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer's 'General Prologue' to the Canterbury stories, in its modern context. instead of resorting to standard old makes an attempt to work out Chaucer's descriptions of the Canterbury pilgrims as quick reflections of ancient fact or as images of real-life humans whom Chaucer knew, the individuals to this quantity have sought to teach what interpretive frameworks have been to be had to Chaucer with the intention to make feel of fact and the way he tailored his literary and ideological inheritance as a way to interact with the controversies and conflicts of his personal day. starting with a survey of contemporary debates in regards to the social which means of Chaucer's paintings, the quantity then discusses all of the Canterbury pilgrims in flip. Historians on Chaucer may be of curiosity to all students and scholars of medieval tradition whether or not they are experts in literature or heritage.
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Additional info for Historians on Chaucer: The 'General Prologue' to the Canterbury Tales
28 Jill Mann, Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire: The Literature of Social Classes and the General Prologue to the CanterburyTales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973). 26 Chaucer the Poet and Chaucer the Pilgrim / 33 he says ‘Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous’(I: 251); of the Prioress that she was ‘so charitable and so pitous’ (I: 143); of the Merchant that he was ‘a worthy man with alle’ (I: 283); the Sergeant of the Law was ‘discreet’ and ‘of greet reverence’ (I: 312);29 the Franklin was ‘a worthy vavasour’ (I: 360); the craftsmen seemed each to be ‘a fair burgeys’ (I: 369); the Shipman ‘was a good felawe’ (I: 395); there was no one in the world who could match the Doctor of Physic in speaking of physic and surgery; nor anyone in England who was as skilled at his job as the Pardoner; the Wife of Bath was ‘a worthy womman al hir lyve’ (I: 459); the Summoner was ‘a gentil harlot and a kynde’ (I: 647) whilst the Manciple and the Reeve are both admired for being cleverer than those who paid their wages.
196; Gower, Mirour de l’Omme, II. 20845–56. Mann, Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire, pp. 17–37, 197. 74 Mann, Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire, pp. 132–3, 190–4; Le livre du chevalier de la Tour Landry pour l’enseignement de des filles, ed. Anatole de Montaiglon (Paris: P. Jannet, 1854), pp. 75 Mann also emphasizes the effects of the morally neutral details which are included in the portraits of many of the pilgrims, such as the Merchant’s beaver hat (I: 272), arguing, once more, that their effect is to create nuanced characters rather than simply to reiterate moral stereotypes.
34, 37; Rigby, Chaucer in Context, pp. 42–53. See also Jean E. Jost, ‘Potency and Power: Chaucer’s Aristocrats and their Linguistic Superiority’, in Liam O. Purdon and Cindy L. Vitto, eds, The Rusted Hauberk: Feudal Ideals of Order and their Decline (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1994), pp. 49–76, at 52–3. 69 Strohm, Social Chaucer, pp. 181–2. , Chaucer: An Oxford Guide (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 384–99, at 397–8. 70 Michaela Paasche Grudin, Chaucer and the Politics of Discourse (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996), pp.