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Chaucer in Context

A Golden Age of English Poetry

Edited By Gerald Morgan

The study of the work of Geoffrey Chaucer – still regarded as a literary genius more than 600 years after his death – centres on the problems of detailed readings of his poetry (including in some cases the textual authority for these readings) and the historical context that gives them meaning. In some ways, the modern understanding of the shaping historical context was undermined in the second half of the twentieth century by the dogmatism of Robertsonian Augustinianism, as a basis for the interpretation of medieval literature in general and of Chaucer’s poetry in particular, and at the same time by the reactions of determined opposition provoked by this approach. Undeniably, medieval views often fail to coincide with modern ones and they are frequently uncomfortable for modern readers. Nevertheless, Chaucer’s brilliance as an observer of the human scene coexists with and irradiates these unfamiliar medieval ideas. The essays in this volume explore in detail the historical context of Chaucer’s poetry, in which orthodox Catholic ideas rather than revolutionary Wycliffite ones occupy the central position. At the same time, they offer detailed readings of his poetry and that of his famous contemporaries in an attempt to do justice to the independent and original work of these poetic masters, writing in the great royal households of England in the period 1360-1400.


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Notes on Contributors 295


Notes on Contributors MARY CARR is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and is writing a doc- toral thesis on Langland and Spenser at Balliol College, Oxford. ANNE J. DUGGAN is Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at King’s College London. Principally known for her work on Thomas Becket, her interests include Roman, canon and English Common Law and the twelfth- century papacy, with special emphasis on the so-called ‘new law’ of the decretals. Her studies on Adrian IV and Celestine III have already appeared, chapters on Alexander III and Eugenius III are in press and another on Innocent II is in preparation. Her principal Becket publications include The Correspondence of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1162–1170, Oxford Medieval Texts, 2 volumes (2000), Thomas Becket (Reputations) (2004) and Thomas Becket: Friends, Networks, Texts and Cult (2007). ALAN J. FLETCHER is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English Language and Literature at University College Dublin and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy. Among his publications are the revised and expanded second edition of The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre (with Richard Beadle, 2008), Drama, Performance and Polity in Pre- Cromwellian Ireland (2000), Late Medieval Popular Preaching in Britain and Ireland: Texts, Studies, and Interpretations (2009) and a forthcoming book, The Presence of Medieval English Literature (2012). He is currently working on a critical edition of the entire corpus of Latin liturgical drama extant from the British Isles. SIMON HOROBIN is Professor of English Language and Literature and Tutorial Fellow at...

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