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Chaucer: His Life, His Works, His World Paperback – February 11, 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is approximately evenly divided between history and literary analysis. We learn of Chaucer's role as a soldier in the wars with France; of his role as appointed court poet and custom's officer; of the black death; of his travels to Italy; we are given a great deal of detail about his literary influences on the Continent and his major literary works, not limited to the Canterbury Tales. Really more for the literary medieval scholar, though anyone interested in history might like it. We learn that Chaucer was probably in London at the time of the Peasants' Revolt.
I took a class on Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", and I read this book as a prelude to the course. I feel that this work provided me with crucial context for Chaucer and his world, and enabled me to appreciate reading the "Tales" in their original Middle English at a much greater level. Thank you Dr. Howard!
The challenge, as Howard admits, is that facts for the Middle Ages are few, and liable to change. For much of this, Howard has to reason on probabilities. For instance, I consulted this wanting more on Dante and Boccaccio, given as a grad school prof (himself a medievalist) asserted Chaucer was likely the first person in England to read the Commedia, as he knew Italian so as to make his diplomatic visit there. Howard supplements this fact with supposition--Chaucer may have met Boccaccio, may have had a quarrel with him, may have therefore not cited him by name in his later literary works, may have rubbed a man twice his age the wrong way. This is all intriguing, but as Howard might have admitted, he has had to fill out much of the bare bones of Chaucer's record with such insights, and so the book turns more a depiction of Chaucer's world and works than his life, and this does fill the book. It is more readable, but it does have to make tangents.
It does, however, with insight. As Howard presented the pilgrim's perspective well in earlier studies, so here.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If the business of a review is to compare one treatment of a subject with others as if we by some restriction cannot have all available to us, then I might find something to... Read morePublished on May 6, 2014 by Amazon Customer
This work is an immersion into both the life of Chaucer and the world in which he lived. It is history at its most comprehensively researched, written with a flare that seldom... Read morePublished on July 23, 2013 by Dai-keag-ity