Chaucer's preoccupation with love and marriage has been a focus of criticism for more than a century. Here, the love relationships and marriages in six of the Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde, and the Legend of Good Women are reappraised from a fresh direction, using late medieval letter collections and advice literature for women to shed new light on the competing cultures of love and marriage that troubled both Chaucer himself and his contemporaries. Beginning with a concise summary of the history of marriage in fourteenth-century England, and making use of recent research in social history, the volume goes on to analyse letter collections and advice books in order to reconstruct late medieval ideology and practice. Among other elements, the author discusses the flirtatiousness of court culture, the anti-love discourse of advice literature, courtship conventions, rival models of marriage among the bourgeoisie and aristocracy, and the pathos of arranged marriages.
Dr Cathy Hume is currently a visiting scholar at Northwestern University.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 252
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 20 mm
Well-written and insightful, an excellent resource for any Chaucer scholar to add to his or her bookshelf. CITHARA
Casts new light on Chaucer's representation of marriage in relation to 'real human lives' and his 'own social reality'. REVIEW OF ENGLISH STUDIES
[A] rich and extremely interesting book. One of the most rewarding aspects of Hume's work is the invaluable evidence that it builds for the sheer complexity of late-medieval attitudes to love and marriage, both ideologically and in practice. LITERATURE & HISTORY
[B]y bringing the Chaucer canon into dialogue with works whose full cultural significance has yet to be realized, she offers a new way of interpreting how Chaucer responded to and reflected on the expectations and realities of his own time. As Hume demonstrates, the "marriage debate" beyond the Canterbuty Tales universe still has much to contribute to our understanding of Chaucerian love and marriage. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
The first study to apply such a broad and detailed reading of letter collections and advice literature to Chaucer. CHOICE