Thomas A. Prendergast and Professor Stephanie Trigg, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor of English Literature (eds.,). 30 Great Myths about Chaucer, Wiley, 2020.
The facts and fictions that continue to shape our understanding of Chaucer and his place in literary tradition
Is Chaucer the father of English literature? The first English poet? Was he a feminist? opportunist? A spy? Is Chaucer’s language too difficult for modern readers? 30 Great Myths about Chaucer explores the widely held ideas and opinions about the medieval poet, discussing how ‘myths’ have influenced Chaucer’s reception history and interpretations of his poetry through the centuries.
This unique text offers original insights on the character of Chaucer, the nature of his works, the myths that inform our conceptions of Chaucer, and the underlying causes of these myths. Each accessible and engaging chapter focuses on a specific myth, including those surrounding Chaucer’s romantic life, political leanings, religious views, personal struggles, financial challenges, ideas about chivalry, representations of social class, and many others. More than simply correcting inaccurate facts or clarifying common misconceptions about Chaucer, the text delves deeper to address how the myths have shaped the critical interpretation and enduring literary legacy of Chaucer. This innovative volume:
- Explores how generations of readers continue to shape understanding of Chaucer
- Highlights the intersection of medievalism and Chaucer studies
- Helps readers detach myths about Chaucer from critical readings of his works
- Examines whether myths about Chaucer are based on historical fact or literary interpretation
- Discusses the history of reading Chaucer in contexts of biography, criticism, and popular culture
30 Great Myths about Chaucer is an indispensable resource for academics, researchers, graduate students, upper-level undergraduates, and general readers with interest in Chaucer and early English and Middle Ages literature.