Be A Part of Chaucer’s Tale

canterbury tales writing - photo by Daniel Laughland / Flickr

For many people, The Canterbury Tales is not only Geoffrey Chaucer’s great masterwork, but one of the cornerstones of English literature.

Chaucer the Love Poet: A Study in Historical Criticism

Wife of Bath

This thesis is an historically based inquiry into the aesthetic function and moral significance of the themes of marriage, fornication, and adultery in Chaucer’s poetry about sexual love

Chaucer in Iceland

chaucer in iceland

My project is called Chaucer in Iceland and its main aim was to take the congress in Iceland as a case study for looking at the impact of Scandinavia identity on contemporary medieval studies.

Hearing, smelling, savoring, and touching in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Medieval meal

Chaucer’s scholar’s have long recognized the poet’s keen sense of observation and have commented upon the poet’s ability to transfer his visual images to his writing.

The Wife of Bath: Standup Comic

The Wife of Bath, depicted by William Blake, d. 1827

In this article I argue that the prologue to The Wife of Bath’s Tale is also an exercise in carnival, and that rather than being a true autobiography of Alisoun of Bath, it is a joke routine for a standup comic.

What a Bunch of Tools: Zombie Saints and Their Use Within Medieval Communities

Saint Anthony Finds the Hermit Saint Paul Dead in the Arms of Angels

This thesis focuses on this phenomenon through the scope of the living dead saints of the Middle Ages, concentrating directly on instances of undead saints found in the most widely disseminated, read, and recounted collection of saints lives of the time, The Golden Legend.

INTERVIEW: A Conversation with SD Sykes about Plague Land

Burial of plague victims - The Black Death

My interview with fiction author, SD Sykes about her fantastic medieval crime novel, Plague Land.

Understanding Chaucer’s Knight

Chaucer knight

he Knight in The Canterbury Tales is best viewed as neither a wholeheartedly approving embodiment of the values presented in the courtly literature and chivalric romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries nor a vicious marauder preying on innocent Christians, but rather as a relatively realistic, albeit somewhat idealized reflection of a living, breathing knight at the close of the fourteenth century.

Narratives of resistance: arguments against the mendicants in the works of Matthew Paris and William of Saint-Amour

The Confirmation of the Franciscan Rule (Cappella Sassetti, Santa Trinità, Florence) - 15th century

The rise of the new mendicant orders, foremost the Franciscans and Dominicans, is one of the great success stories of thirteenth-century Europe. Combining apostolic poverty with sophisticated organization and university learning, they brought much needed improvements to pastoral care in the growing cities.

Guilt and Creativity in the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer

I argue that as Chaucer develops his own expansive, questioning poetics in The House of Fame and The Canterbury Tales, he problematises the principle of allegory on which the legitimacy of literary discourse was primarily based in medieval culture and the final fragments of The Canterbury Tales see Chaucer struggling, increasingly, to reconcile the boldness and independence of his poetic vision with the demands of his faith.

MOVIE REVIEW: ‘A Knight’s Tale’

A Knight'sTale movie poster

Staying home on a Sunday night? Looking for a fun medieval movie to watch? Here is my review of ‘A Knight’s Tale’ for your Sunday night selection!

Theories of the Nonsense Word in Medieval England

house of fame

The goos the cokkow and the doke also
So cryede kek kek kokkow quek quek hye

Alphabet Poems: A Brief History

Chaucer ABC

As a collector of alphabet books, and sometime editor of a newsletter on the subject, I have had many opportunities to consider the history of the alphabet poem. Although alphabet poems may take a wide range of forms, most are generally divided into twenty-six parts (lines, couplets, stanze…), one for each letter.

The Biennial Chaucer Lecture: For the Birds

falcon

In The Squire’s Tale, Chaucer draws on the genre of romance as a way into thinking about the cultural place of falcons.

A Burnable Book – novel starring Chaucer and Gower gets strong reviews

a burnable book

A Burnable Book is the title of Bruce Holsinger’s new historical thriller, set in the 14th century, with Geoffrey Chaucer as one of the main characters

The “Discrete Occupational Identity” of Chaucer’s Knyght

Chaucer’s Knyght - knights

Popular critical opinion favors reading the pilgrim Knyght of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales as the representative of the idealized chivalric knight; however, the pilgrim Knyght bears the hallmark of the early professional soldier that began to evolve as early as the eleventh century.

Valentine’s Day Medieval Love: Books for that special someone

love-sex-marriage-in-middle-ages-sourcebook-conor-mccarthy-paperback-cover-art

Love is in the air! Here are a few medieval books on the topic of love for your Valentine.

Chaucer’s female characters in the Canterbury Tales: Born to thralldom and penance, and to been under mannes governance

The Wife of Bath 2

This essay will also demonstrate that in order to be considered a good wife a woman
needed to be humble and obedient and to accept her fate as being subject to male authority figure without resistance.

The Canterbury Tales as Framed Narratives

The Pilgrims panel in Canterbury Cathedral is actually a 20th century forgery

Although I think that the notion of modern art as organic must be qualified and questioned, there is a certain force and validity to Jordan’s distinction between medieval and modern art. Modern art expects the parts to be somewhat subordinate to the whole. The dominant stress of New Criticism was on the organic nature of art.

Queer times: Richard II in the poems and chronicles of late

Richard II in the 1390s

The article focuses on the representation of deviant sexual behavior in 14th-century English poetry and other chronicles. The portrayal of King of England Richard II as a rebellious youth, which is interpreted as perverse and lacking manliness, and the propaganda needed to offset this perception are discussed. Historical information is given about the political culture and power of the church. The murder of Edward II after being accused of sodomy by the Bishop of Hereford is mentioned.

Chaucer’s reading list: Sir Thopas, Auchinleck, and Middle English romances in translation

Geneviève Receiving King Mark’s Letter, by the Master of the Vienna Mamerot. Romance of Tristan; France, Bourges? dated 1468. Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.41, f. 24v (detail).

One frustration of engaging in any branch of European medieval studies as an academic pursuit is that few claim expertise about the ancient or Roman worlds, but seemingly everyone on an internet discussion forum believes him or herself knowledgeable about the medieval period, usually based on patently false beliefs.

I Wol Yow Nat Deceyve: The Pardoner’s Virtuous Path in The Canterbury Tales

The pardoner, one of the pilgrims in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

The Pardoner of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is usually perceived as terrible and morally bankrupt. As a result, he is often categorized as an evil and one-dimensional character.

Chaucer’s Solar Pageant: an Astrological Reading of the Canterbury Tales

A Zodiac illustration from a medical almanac, 1399. The man’s pointing finger serves as a warning against the powerful forces of the stars. Photo courtesy British Library

This thesis proposes a correlation between the twenty-four Canterbury Tales and an external ordered system, namely the twelve signs of the zodiac, from which one might infer Chaucer’s intended ordering of the Tales.

Editing Chaucer

canterbury tales chaucer

Over the centuries many authors have attempted to re‐write or adapt the work of Geoffrey Chaucer, including John Dryden, Alexander Pope, and William Wordsworth. This trend has continued into the 21st century, as Chaucer has been reaffirmed as an English literary icon

A Medieval Madwoman in the Attic: Chaucer’s Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales

The Wife of Bath 2

Anyone interested in Chaucer knows the description of the Wife of Bath in the General Prologue by heart, ‘her gap teeth, her wimple, her hat, her five husbands, her heavy coverchiefs [. . .] her deafness, [. . .] [and] her remedies of love’

medievalverse magazine