Chaucer and Langland: The Antagonistic Tradition

Chaucer and Langland: The Antagonistic Tradition

by John M. Bowers
     
 

ISBN-10: 026802202X

ISBN-13: 9780268022020

Pub. Date: 05/01/2007

Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press

"In Chaucer and Langland: The Antagonistic Tradition, John M. Bowers advances a provocative argument in the field of Middle English literary studies while also providing a comprehensive and extremely useful overview of the most significant Langlandian and Chaucerian criticism of the last half century. This consolidation of decades of scholarship on

Overview

"In Chaucer and Langland: The Antagonistic Tradition, John M. Bowers advances a provocative argument in the field of Middle English literary studies while also providing a comprehensive and extremely useful overview of the most significant Langlandian and Chaucerian criticism of the last half century. This consolidation of decades of scholarship on medieval England's two central poets will provide a constant point of reference both for students and advanced scholars working in Middle English." —Bruce Holsinger, University of Virginia
 
“The twentieth turned out not to have been the century of Deleuze, after all, but the fourteenth still could become the century of Langland. In a series of seemingly counterintuitive, yet deeply resourceful, readings, Bowers compellingly reorganizes medieval and early modern English literary history around the dual figures of Chaucer and Langland. He shows not only how an account of Langland and his readers is indispensable to a full understanding of the emergence of English literature, but that the complex literary afterlife of the fourteenth century is already inscribed in the heterogeneous beginnings of Piers Plowman. This is an important corrective to the comparative neglect of Langland in recent years.” —D. Vance Smith, Princeton University
 
"John Bowers has produced what is in many ways an admirable and ambitious volume of new literary history. He makes what could truly be called a master narrative by pushing to extremes the tendencies and implications of recent scholarship. This ingenious work will provoke thought, citation, and occasional outrage." —David Lawton, Washington University
 
Although Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland together dominate fourteenth-century English literature, their respective masterpieces, The Canterbury Tales and Piers Plowman, could not be more different. While Langland’s poem was immediately popular and influential, it was Chaucer who stood at the head of a literary tradition within a generation of his death. John Bowers asks why and how Chaucer, not Langland, was granted this position. His study reveals the political, social, and religious factors that contributed to the formation of a literary canon in fourteenth-century England.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780268022020
Publisher:
University of Notre Dame Press
Publication date:
05/01/2007
Edition description:
1
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Abbreviations     xi
Introduction: The Antagonistic Tradition     1
Beginnings     43
Langland and 1360     43
Chaucer and 1360     49
Naming Names: "Langland" and "Chaucer"     54
Naming William Langland     56
Langland's Editorial Lives     64
Definitely Geoffrey Chaucer     80
Piers Plowman and the Impulse to Antagonism     103
John Ball, John Wyclif, and "Peres Ploughman"     103
Piers Plowman Before 1381, Piers Plowman After 1381     115
The Public Life of Piers Plowman     122
Context as Criticism     135
Langlandian Writers and Lollard Causes     144
Political Corrections: The Canterbury Tales     157
The Cook     162
The Plowman     167
Pilgrimage Narrative: Canterbury Interlude     173
The Pardoner     180
The House of Chaucer & Son: The Business of Lancastrian Canon-Formation     183
Thomas Hoccleve: The Insider Locked Out     190
John Lydgate: The Outsider Let In     202
The Monk: Prologue to the Siege of Thebes     206
Piers Plowman, Print, and Protestantism     216
Notes     229
Works Cited     331
General Index     389
Manuscripts Index     403

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