Following Chaucer

Offices of the Active Life
Lynn Staley

Description

Following Chaucer: Offices of the Active Life explores three representative figures—the royal woman, the poet, and the merchant—in relation to the concept of “office,” which Cicero linked to the health of the republic, but Chaucer to that of the common good. Not usually conjoined to the term “office,” these three figures, situated in the active life, were not firmly mapped onto the body politic, which was used to figure a relational and ordered social body ruled by the king, the head. These figures are points of entry into a set of questions rooted in Chaucer’s understanding of his cultural and historical past and in his keen appraisal of the social dynamics of his own time that also reverberate in the centuries after Chaucer’s death.

Following Chaucer does not trace influence but uses Chaucer’s likely reading, circumstances, and literary and social affiliations as guides to understanding his poetry, within the context of late medieval English culture and the reshaping of the concept of these particular offices that suited the needs of a future whose dynamics he anticipated. His understanding of the importance of the Ciceronian concept of office within the active life, his profound cultural awareness, and his probing of the foundations of social change provide him with a keen sense of the persistent tensions and inconsistencies that are fundamental to his poetry.

Lynn Staley is Harrington and Shirley Drake Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English, Colgate University.

Product Details

  • 272 pages.
  • 6 illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2020
  • Forthcoming
  • 978-0-472-12662-0


Related Products


Pre-Order
  • $75.00 U.S.

nothing

Keywords

  • Chaucer
    Cicero
    medieval noble women
    medieval uses of the Trinity
    medieval merchants
    medieval books of advice for women
    Christine de Pisan
    body politic
    common good
    common profit
    Edmund Spenser
    Elizabeth I
    Thomas Hoccleve
    John Lydgate
    London Lord Mayors' pageants
    the Patriarch Joseph
    Richard II
    Anne of Bohemia
    John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster
    William Langland
    <Piers Plowman>
    poetic identity
    <Libelle of Englyshe Polycye>
    <Havelok the Dane>
    <Canterbury Tales>, <Troilus and Criseyde>, <Parliament of Fowls>

nothing
nothing