Chaucer and Religious Controversies in the Medieval and Early Modern Eras
228 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268105822 | April 2019
Hardcover | 9780268105815 | April 2019
eBook (PDF) | 9780268105846 | April 2019
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268105839 | April 2019
Chaucer and Religious Controversies in the Medieval and Early Modern Eras adopts a comparative, boundary-crossing approach to consider one of the most canonical of literary figures, Geoffrey Chaucer. The idea that Chaucer is an international writer raises no eyebrows. Similarly, a claim that Chaucer's writings participate in English confessional controversies in his own day and afterward provokes no surprise. This book breaks new ground by considering Chaucer's Continental interests as they inform his participation in religious debates concerning such subjects as female spirituality and Lollardy. Similarly, this project explores the little-studied ways in which those who took religious vows, especially nuns, engaged with works by Chaucer and in the Chaucerian tradition. Furthermore, while the early modern "Protestant Chaucer" is a familiar figure, this book explores the creation and circulation of an early modern "Catholic Chaucer" that has not received much attention. This study seeks to fill gaps in Chaucer scholarship by situating Chaucer and the Chaucerian tradition in an international textual environment of religious controversy spanning four centuries and crossing both the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. This book presents a nuanced analysis of the high stakes religiopolitical struggle inherent in the creation of the canon of English literature, a struggle that participates in the complex processes of national identity formation in Europe and the New World alike.
Nancy Bradley Warren is professor of English at Texas A&M University. She is the author of a number of books, including The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350–1700 (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010).
"This study traces the history of Chaucer reception in the context of Christian controversies spanning four centuries, from the time of Chaucer up to the English Augustan Age and the Puritan project in America. It tells a compelling story that—to the best of my knowledge—has until now remained largely untold." ~Jennifer Sisk, University of Vermont
“This careful and creative work of scholarship is an important contribution to the study of Chaucer’s legacy.” ~Choice
"In her latest book, Nancy Bradley Warren—who in her previous publications has already shed so much light on the complex relays among literature, religion, gender, politics, authority, and historical periodization across the late medieval / early modern divide—focuses her considerable powers of insight on the works of Chaucer, taking them as both a meditation upon and catalyst or “touchstone” of these relays. In a dazzling set of chapters that span Chaucer’s own time and place through the religious conflicts in early modern Britain to colonial New England, Warren demonstrates the myriad ways in which Chaucer’s works have served as a labile signifier underlying contested constructions of the mutually implicated categories of orthodox and heterodox, masculine and feminine, and nation and canon." ~Robert Meyer-Lee, Agnes Scott College
“Nancy Bradley Warren’s study . . . singles out a series of moments in the history of Chaucer’s reception, using responses to various of his works as points of entry into investigation of forms of piety or of religious dissent.” ~The Times Literary Supplement