The Legacy of Apollo: Antiquity, Authority and Chaucerian Poetics

The Legacy of Apollo: Antiquity, Authority and Chaucerian Poetics

by Jamie Fumo


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The Legacy of Apollo: Antiquity, Authority and Chaucerian Poetics by Jamie Fumo

Apollo, the classical god of poetry, truth, light, and the healing arts, held a special fascination for poets and scholars in the late-medieval period. As the English vernacular gained literary prestige in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, poets harnessed the precedent and authority of classical antiquity in order to grant themselves historical legitimacy. Uniquely positioned at the junctures of Latin and vernacular, pagan and Christian, human and divine, the figure of Apollo emerged as an impetus for change in the period's creative re-conceptualization of artistic identity and poetic inheritance.

In The Legacy of Apollo, Jamie C. Fumo presents a series of connected readings of classical and medieval texts that shape the god's pre-modern legacy. By examining Ovid's Metamorphoses and its commentaries, Virgil's Aeneid, mythographic manuals and iconography, popular sermons, saints' lives, and a range of Chaucerian works, Fumo innovatively brings the fruits of current scholarly practices of intertextuality to a body of medieval subject matter. This wide-ranging work traces the resonances of Apollo up to the cusp of the early modern period and reveals the medieval development of a newly self-conscious poetics of inspiration in England.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442641709
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 09/01/2010
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jamie C. Fumo is an associate professor in the Department of English at McGill University.

Table of Contents


  1. Apollo as Human God: Ovid and Medieval Ovidianism
  2. The Medieval Apollo: Classical Authority and Christian Hermeneutics
  3. Imperial Apollo: From Virgil’s Rome to Chaucer’s Troy
  4. Fragmentary Apollo: The Squire’s Tale, The Franklin’s Tale, and Chaucerian Self-Fashioning
  5. Domestic Apollo: Crises of Truth in the Manciple’s Tale

What People are Saying About This

Michael Kensak

'The Legacy of Apollo is one of the most important books on Chaucer in recent years. Wide-ranging and elegant, Jamie Fumo's work provides an important recontextualization of Chaucer's narrative persona in neglected classical and medieval traditions.'

Suzanne Yeager

'The wonderful breadth of Jamie Fumo's engaging examination of classical forms in the Middle Ages offers valuable new interpretations of Chaucer's work and rare insight into medieval tropes of narrative authority.'

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