Chaucer's Book of the Duchess

April 2018
4 black and white illustrations
254 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Chaucer Studies

Chaucer's Book of the Duchess

Contexts and Interpretations

Edited by Jamie C. Fumo

First entire collection centred on Chaucer's Book of the Duchess, making a compelling case for its importance and value.
The Book of the Duchess, Chaucer's first major poem, is foundational for our understanding of Chaucer's literary achievements in relation to late-medieval English textual production; yet in comparison with other works, its treatment has been somewhat peripheral in previous criticism.
This volume, the first full-length collection devoted to the Book, argues powerfully against the prevalent view that it is an underdeveloped or uneven early work, and instead positions it as a nuanced literary and intellectual effort in its own right, one that deserves fuller integration with twenty-first-century Chaucer studies. The essays within it pursue lingering questions as well as new frontiers in research, including the poem's literary relationships in the sphere of French and English writing, material processes of transmission and compilation, and patterns of reception. Each chapter advances an original reading of the Book of the Duchess that uncovers new aspects of its internal dynamics or of its literary or intellectual contexts. As a whole, the volume reveals the poem's mobility and elasticity within an increasingly international sphere of cultural discourse that thrives on dynamic exchange and encourages sophisticated reflection on authorial practice.

Jamie C. Fumo is Professor of English at Florida State University.

Contributors: B.S.W. Barootes, Julia Boffey, Ardis Butterfield, Rebecca Davis, A.S.G. Edwards, Jeff Espie, Philip Knox, Helen Phillips, Elizaveta Strakhov, Sara Sturm-Maddox, Marion Wells.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Reopening the Book of the Duchess - Jamie C. Fumo
Codicology, Text, and the Book of the Duchess - Julia Boffey and A S G Edwards
Idleness, Chess, and Tables: Recuperating Fables in Chaucer's Book of the Duchess - B. S. W. Barootes
'Noon other werke': The Work of Sleep in Chaucer's Book of the Duchess - Rebecca Davis
Discovering Woe: The Translation of Affect in Chaucer's Book of the Duchess and Spenser's Daphnaïda - Marion Wells
Alcyone's Grave: Inscription and Intertextuality in Chaucer, Spenser, and Ovid - Jeff Espie
Tribute to a Duchess: The Book of the Duchess and Machaut's Remede de Fortune - Sara Sturm-Maddox
'Hyt am I': Voicing Selves in the Book of the Duchess, the Roman de la rose, and the Fonteinne Amoureuse - Philip Knox
'Counterfeit' Imitatio: Understanding the Poet-Patron Relationship in Machaut's Fonteinne amoureuse and Chaucer's Book of the Duchess - Elizaveta Strakhov
The Shock of the Old? The Unsettling Art of Chaucer's Antique Citations - Helen Phillips
Response: The Book of the Duchess, Guillaume de Machaut, and the Image of the Archive - Ardis Butterfield


This collection makes a significant contribution to the literature on Chaucer, medieval rhetoric, political allegory, codicology and book studies, and the works of Guillaume de Machaut. CHOICE

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