Originally published in 1992. Although they were apparently much appreciated in his own time, Chaucer’s lyrics have for most of the modern era been the most neglected of his poetic productions. This work offers a comprehensive overview of Chaucer’s lyric corpus. The author extends his scope to include in-depth discussions of literary and cultural influences that have their impact on Chaucer’s lyrics. Students who come to Chaucer’s poems for the first time will here receive an excellent introduction to each poem, the important literary issues surrounding the poem as defined by previous scholarship, and Ruud’s own clear style and balanced judgment. The persuasive proofs for Chaucer’s lyric innovations and his special style of poetry will also be of interest to Chaucerian specialist academics. The book traces Chaucer’s development as a lyric poet, from more conventional early works to more individualized later ones.
Preface 1. "This woful song and this compleynte I make": The Lyric Defined 2. "Flee fro the prees and dwelle with sothfastnesse": Universal Love 3. "‘No man is al trewe,’ I gesse": The Personal Voice 4. "So muche wo and eek so litel blis": Courtly Love 5. "Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat": The Individual Voice 6. "Ther mot be cause wherfore that men pleyne": The Lyric with Narrative 7. "Then ende I thus, sith I may do no more": The Place of Chaucer’s Lyrics