Chaucer's tale : 1386 and the road to Canterbury / Paul Strohm.

Strohm, Paul, 1938- [Browse]
New York, New York : Viking, 2014.
xv, 284 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations, maps (some color) ; 22 cm


Summary note
  • A "microbiography of Chaucer that tells the story of the tumultuous year that led to the creation of The Canterbury Tales"-- Provided by publisher.
  • This is the eye-opening story of the birth of one of the most celebrated literary creations of the English language. The middle-aged Chaucer did not enjoy the literary celebrity he has today--far from it. He was living quietly in London with a modest bureaucratic post, writing poetry for a small audience of intimate friends. For more than a decade, Chaucer had stayed precariously afloat in London's fierce factional politics. Aided by a strategic marriage and ties to the court of Richard II, he had enjoyed favor from two envied and despised men: the overbearing John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and the unscrupulous wool profiteer and London Mayor, Nicholas Brembre. Suddenly, swept up by events beyond his own control, he lost it all. During the autumn of 1386 he was expelled from his London dwelling, humiliated in Parliament, pressured out of his job, and forced into exile in Kent. Unbroken by these worldly reversals, Chaucer pursued a new life in art. Cut off from his London audience, he invented a portable one--a tale-swapping pilgrim band. He converted his previously private literary career into a public one, in the grandest of terms. At the loneliest time of his life, Chaucer made the revolutionary decision to keep writing, to change the nature of what he was writing, and to write for a national audience, for posterity, and for fame.--From publisher description.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references (pages 259-277) and index.
  • Chaucer's crisis
  • A married man
  • Aldgate
  • The wool men
  • In Parliament
  • The other Chaucer
  • The problem of fame
  • Kent and Canterbury
  • Laureate Chaucer.
  • 9780670026432 (hbk.) :
  • 0670026433 (hbk.)
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