This new introduction to Chaucer has been radically rewritten since the previous edition which was published in 1984. The book is a controversial and modern restatement of some of the traditional views on Chaucer, and seeks to present a rounded introduction to his life, cultural setting and works. Professor Brewer takes into account recent literary criticism, both challenging new ideas and using them in his analysis of Chaucer's work. Above all, there is a strong emphasis on leading the reader to understand and enjoy the poetry and prose, and to try to understand Chaucer's values which are often seen to oppose modern principles.
A New Introduction to Chaucer is the result of Derek Brewer's distinguished career spanning fifty years of research and study of Chaucer and contemporary scholarship and criticism. New interpretations of many of the poems are presented including a detailed account of the Book of the Duchess. Derek Brewer's fresh and narrative style of writing will appeal to all who are interested in Chaucer, from sixth-form and undergraduate students who are new to Chaucer's work through to more advanced students and lecturers.
Table of Contents
Prelude 1. In the Beginning 2. Education 3. The Courtly Life 4. The English and European Literary Traditions 5. Courtier and Soldier 6. 'The Book of the Duchess I'; Quest and Commemoration 7. 'The Book of the Duchess II'; Dreaming the Spoken and Written Self 8. 'The Book of the Duchess III'; Death, Laughter, Repetition
9. Diplomat and Civil Servant; Private and Public Trouble 10. From 'House of Fame' to 'Parliament of Fowls'; Discontent and Search 11. 'The Parliament of Fowls'; Communiality and Conflict 12. The Fair Chain of Love: The Consolations of Philosophy and Verse 13. Love and Death; 'The Tale of Palamon and Arcite' 14. 'Troilus and Criseyde I'; From a View to a Death 15. 'Troilus and Criseyde II': The Lore of Love 16. 'The Legend of Good Women'; Cupid's Saints 17. Prologue to the 'Cantebury Tales' 18. 'The Cantebury Tales I'; Love and Rivalry; Tragedy and Comedy 19. 'The Cantebury Tales II'; Constancy and Inconstancy; Love and Anger; Trouthe and Gentilesse 20. 'The Cantebury Tales III'; Family Honour; You Find What you Look For 21. 'The Cantebury Tales IV'; A Gift Returned; Virginity and Martyrdom; Parody and Prudence; Flattery and Reversal 22. 'The Cantebury Tales V'; Spirit and Matter; Restraint and Repentance 23. Closure and Beyond
D. S. Brewer