Cover

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Title Page, Series Editors, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book has been a very long time in the making. I have been sustained throughout by the Department of English with Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne, a most extraordinary cluster of reading communities. Under the various headships of Stephen Knight, Terry Collits, Ken Ruthven, and Simon During, the department has always been a challenging and...

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: The Congenial Souls of Chaucer and His Readers

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pp. xiii-xxiv

The cover of the Riverside paperback edition of Chaucer's works features a famous fifteenth-century image of pilgrims on horseback. The group rides out beyond the city walls; the bright reds and blues of their clothes and the elaborate detail of their horses' trappings gleam against the background of soft green grass. The top third of the picture is divided into three...

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1. Speaking for Chaucer: Canon and Community

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pp. 1-39

In 1980, Charles Muscatine addressed the New Chaucer Society. "While it does look," he remarked, "as if it would be highly un-Chaucerian to be too solemn or too pious about Chaucer scholarship, none of us is under the obligation, after all, to be Chaucerian. Chaucer would have been the first to insist, rather, on our being ourselves, and doing well what our talents and temperaments...

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2. Signing Geoffrey Chaucer: Models of Authorship

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pp. 40-73

Where does Chaucer begin and end? In one sense, the difference between medieval poet and modern literary critic is stable and absolute: there is no danger of our mistaking one for the other, no likelihood that on the basis of my absurd opening, even without its prosaic anachronisms, I'd be suspected of having discovered and translated a new, complete text of Chaucer's...

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3. Writing Chaucer: The Fifteenth Century

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pp. 74-108

There is no doubt that Chaucer's name signifies a powerful cultural effect in the early fifteenth century. He is early named as father or master, inspiring a range of poetic subjectivities among his followers and imitators. It is only later, and more gradually, that his name is countersigned in a way that constitutes "Chaucer" as the object of critical attention, as well as a model for...

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4. Loving Chaucer in the Privacy of Print: The Sixteenth Century

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pp. 109-143

Lydgate's prologue to the Siege of Thebes carefully defines its own poetic trajectory from the margins of Chaucer's text into its own epic narrative. Of course, the idea of following in Chaucer's poetic footsteps does not depend on such physical proximity to Chaucer's texts or the idea of supplementing his works so...

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5. Translating Chaucer for Modernity

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pp. 144-156

Reading the sixteenth-century editions of Chaucer produces an uncanny sense of familiarity and unfamiliariry. In the format and ordinatio of these books, their structure of introduction, text, commentary, and glossary, we recognize the disposition and some of the content of modern editorial and critical material around the literary text. And yet current editorial and critical...

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6. Reading Chaucer outside the Academy

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pp. 157-194

The modern recognition of Dryden's preface as an inaugural document for Chaucer criticism depends on a number of factors in almost irresistible combination. Dryden's appreciation of Chaucer's qualities as a comic realist is given critical ballast by his own more serious act of installing Chaucer into a classical and European literary pantheon. Moreover, his ready...

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7. Reforming the Chaucerian Community: The Late Twentieth Century

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pp. 195-238

Throughout the twentieth century, Chaucer studies maintained their distinctive position on the cusp of medieval and literary studies within the institutions of higher learning. It has been a situation of considerable strength. As a canonical writer, Chaucer still appears regularly, if not universally, in the syllabus of tertiary, and sometimes secondary education, where...

Notes

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pp. 239-272

Index

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pp. 273-280

About the Author

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pp. 281-281

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About the Series

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pp. 282-284

STEPHANIE TRIGG is senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Her publications include an edition of Winner and Waster for the Early English Text Society; two edited essay collections, Medieval English Poetry and...