Geoffrey Chaucer (Authors in Context)

Peter Brown
Oxford World's Classics

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.

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The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer
The Social Body
The Literary Scene
Society and Politics
Intellectual Ideas
Science and Technology
New Contexts


Peter Brown is Professor of Medieval English Literature at the University of Kent at Canterbury. He has taught at the Universities of Exeter, Connecticut, and California at Los Angeles, and at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He has published widely on Chaucer and other aspects of medieval culture and has edited A Companion to Chaucer (Blackwell, 2000), Companion to Medieval English Literature and Culture 1350-1500 (Blackwell, 2007). His most recent book is Chaucer and the Making of Optical Space (Peter Lang, 2007).