This book examines Chaucer's life and poetry through the lens of his cultural experience. It offers a wide-ranging account of the medieval society from which his works sprang, and examines the works in detail. It considers the intellectual and philosophical contexts, and the modern reception of Chaucer in film and television.
Chaucer lived through a period of extraordinary upheaval: a protracted war with France, devastating plague, the peasants' revolt, religious controversy, and the overthrow of the king. Compact and comprehensive, this book offers a wide-ranging account of the medieval society from which works such as The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde sprang, and shows how these and other works manifest that society in fictional form. Significant aspects of the literary scene, such as patronage, audience, and performance, help to place Chaucer's practices in their historical framework, and his treatment of love, paganism, and reality are framed within their intellectual and philosophical contexts. The modern reception of Chaucer in film and television adaptations is also examined. Seen through the lens of his cultural experience, this is the perfect critical companion to Chaucer's life and poetry. The book includes a chronology of Chaucer's life and time, suggestions for further reading, websites, illustrations, and a comprehensive index.
(Ph.D. Oxford University) is the Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University. He previously taught at London University and the University of California, Berkeley. He has written on the rise of Christianity and the end of the Roman empire. His works include: Augustine of Hippo (1967); The World of Late Antiquity (1972); The Cult of the Saints (1981); Body and Society (1988), The Rise of Western Christendom (1995 and 2002); Poverty and Leadership in the Later Roman Empire (2002). He is presently working on issues of wealth and poverty in the late Roman and early medieval Ch