A spirited look at the uses and abuses of Chaucer's work in modern culture.
In this learned, lively, and wide-ranging book, Steve Ellis conducts us on a tour of the appearances that the greatest writer of Middle English has made throughout English-speaking culture in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Surveying the uses to which Chaucer has been put in modern times, Ellis presents a compelling picture that goes beyond the figure and work of the great writer to show us the reach of his imaginative power as it touches and shapes our own.
In novelists' and poets' responses to Chaucer, children's versions of his work, modern translations, adaptations for stage, television, radio, and film, and the marketing of Chaucer's "heritage," Ellis traces Chaucer's presence among us-from the permutations of his writings in the work of such authors as William Morris, W. B. Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, James Joyce, Henry James, and D. H. Lawrence to its presentation in the Canterbury Tales Experience museum in Canterbury, England. Animated, witty, as critically acute as it is far-reaching, this work, appearing in the sixth centenary of Chaucer's death, tells us much about a writer at the heart of our cultural tradition and, perhaps, more about that tradition itself.
Steve Ellis is professor of English literature at the University of Birmingham, England.
Medieval Cultures Series, volume 24
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