Chaucer's England

Chaucer's England

by Diana Childress


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"Really a very fine book, constantly interesting and informative, and always very readable ... An inquisitive teenager would just keep reading." -- Traugott Lawler, Professor of English, Yale University

Drawing on historical and archaeological sources, and from Chaucer's own life, this book recreates England in the age of Chaucer for students and teachers of The Canterbury Tales.

Here readers are put directly into the tumultuous fourteenth-century landscape, to see how English society was organized; how it was changing; its religious, political, and economic tensions, including controversies of church and state; warfare; and the plague.

To give a sense of the mindset of Chaucer's characters and original audience, Diana Childress explains science, medicine, and education -- what people learned in school, how they treated illness, what they saw when they looked up at the night sky. She provides the daily details: what people ate and wore, where they lived, what they did for fun, the kinds of work they labored at, how they were paid for it, the laws and mores they abided by. Childress quotes liberally from The Canterbury Tales to show history at work in those living tales for all readers regardless of age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780208024893
Publisher: Shoe String Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/28/2000
Series: Religious Series
Pages: 136
Product dimensions: 6.37(w) x 9.37(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

Table of Contents

Author's Noteix
List of Illustrationsxi
1.England in the Fourteenth Century
The Medieval Landscape1
A Traveling People4
Beyond English Borders9
A Trilingual Country12
A Money Economy14
2.The Social Hierarchy
Images of Society17
The First Estate: "Those Who Pray"20
The Second Estate: "Those Who Fight"24
The Third Estate: "Those Who Work"29
3.Cracks in the Social Structure
Church vs. State35
Critical Views of the Church37
Social Mobility43
4.An Age of Turmoil
Warfare as a Way of Life47
The Black Death54
5.The World of Learning
An Earth-Centered Universe62
Astro Power66
Natural Science72
6.Daily Life: Meeting Basic Needs
Vegetable, Animal, and Mineral Resources80
Industry and Trade81
Daily Bread85
Dressing the Part93
7.Home, School, and Play
Family Life99
Love and Marriage104
Going to School106
Amusements and Pastimes113
Works Consulted125
For More Information129

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