The Poetry of ChaucerBook - 1977
The Poetry of Chaucer offers a reading of his poetry harmonious with the character of Chaucer as his own age knew and understood him. This new work by John Gardner is designed to complement his biography of Chaucer being published by Alfred A. Knopf.
The Poetry of Chaucer is not simply one more sensitive reading of the poet’s work, nor is it, simply, a modern writer’s comment on the work of one of his two greatest English predecessors. Gardner’s reading of the poetry of Chaucer provides a persuasive synthesis of virtually the whole body of scholarly work done on Chaucer in the past twenty years?the period of the critical revolution in Chaucerian studies. It may well be considered, for years to come, the definitive statement on how and why Chaucer wrote verse.
One purpose of Gardner’s The Poetry of Chaucer is to make the new evidence available to the nonspecialist. But Gardner’s larger purpose is to show how the various kinds of new evidence fit together, to demonstrate how, for the reader willing to look down from the mountaintop, seemingly conflicting readings of Chaucer’s poetry can be recognized as parts of a harmonious whole. Gathering and assessing the results of the past twenty years of Chaucer studies, adding striking new evidence derived from his own close analysis of Chaucer’s poetry, and for the first time emphasizing the importance, throughout Chaucer’s work, of the most significant philosophical movement of Chaucer’s age, so-called Nominalism, Gardner creates a coherent image of Chaucer and Chaucer’s art.