Chaucer Here and Now

chaucer here and now book cover

The Geoffrey Chaucer of this book is not the Father of English Literature that you think you know. In this wide-ranging collection of essays you will find wartime Chaucer, postcolonial Chaucer, feminist Chaucer, misogynist Chaucer, radical Chaucer and conservative Chaucer, among many other interpretations.

Featuring beautiful illustrations of early manuscripts and rare editions, Chaucer Here and Now gives a picture of how varied adaptations of and responses to his work have been, from fifteenth- century scribes who finished off incomplete tales, through early printers who constructed Chaucer as the Father of the Nation, to contemporary postcolonial writers such as Zadie Smith. The book moves through years of censorship, the creation of children’s Chaucer, Protestant Chaucer and imperial Chaucer – and the travels of Chaucer all around the world. It also explores Chaucer on film and Chaucer in the present moment.

Today’s creative responses follow in a line of irreverent, partial responses that we can trace back to Chaucer’s very first readers and editors, showing that Chaucer is available for every here and now to remake, rework and reinvent.

This book accompanies the Chaucer Here and Now exhibition at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, running from December 2023 to April 2024.

Find out more about the book.