An exhibition on Chaucer launches today at the Bodleian Libraries. Chaucer Here and Now explores the many creative responses to Chaucer and asks why this medieval author still fascinates so many people today.
Curated by Professor Marion Turner, the exhibition presents Geoffrey Chaucer as you haven't seen him before. Not as the “Father of English Literature”, but as a dynamic, global author, whose works have been reworked and reinterpreted over time and around the world. Each generation reinvents Chaucer, taking inspiration from his work, and finding new meanings. The exhibition also features a selection of photographs of current English students, with quotations about what reading Chaucer means to them today.
Professor Turner said, "This exhibition is about the creativity of readers and how they have responded to Chaucer across time and around the world – from the earliest scribes to Zadie Smith, folios to films, Caxton to The Cachoeira Tales, Brazil to Ukraine. You can watch the animated tales, marvel at the manuscripts, even make your own cartoon pilgrim to add to our pilgrimage wall. Chaucer really is here and now."
The exhibition runs from 8 December 2023 to 28 April 2024 at the St Lee Gallery, Weston Library (Bodleian Libraries). Admission is free. Find out more on the Bodleian Libraries website.
The exhibition has already been reviewed on multiple news sites:
The Observer: 'No flatulence, no sex in trees: Victorian children’s sanitised Chaucer to go on display'
The Times (behind a paywall): 'Chaucer Here and Now review - centuries of stories and gorgeous manuscripts'
The Telegraph (behind a paywall): Chaucer Here and Now: The Canterbury Tales creator as you've never seen him before
The exhibition is accompanied by a book, edited by Professor Marion Turner, featuring a fascinating collection of essays exploring the different ‘Chaucers’ that readers, writers and artists have imagined across time.
Find out more about the Chaucer Here and Now book.
Photos by Ian Wallman