Category Archives: Chaucer (Geoffrey)

With Brexit, UK Betrayed Spirit of Chaucer

Brexit violates everything that Geoffrey Chaucer, Britain’s quintessential poet, stood for.

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Stories Have Always Opened Up the Future

An anthropologist argues that human beings took over the world because they had the ability to compose fictions. Literature continues to point the way forward for us as a species.

Also posted in Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Wife of Bath & U.S. Race Wars

A racial flair-up at our college has given me an opportunity to stress the relevance of the Wife of Bath’s prologue and tale. Like our African American students, she too feels disrespected. One has to dig beneath her seeming confidence to realize how vulnerable she feels, however.

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The Most Commonly Taught Lit

The Open Syllabus project has come up with a list of the most commonly taught books in college–at least according to syllabi that are available on-line. “The Canterbury Tales” leads the list. Shakespeare, of course, is the most represented author.

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The V-Word: Casting Hillary as Duessa

The rightwing attacks on female sexuality have a long tradition, going back to Pliny the Elder, and include Chaucer, Spenser, and Milton. Expect the tradition to continue if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

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Chaucer’s Squire Meets Tennyson’s May Queen

Love is in the May air. As I look at the College students hand in hand, I think of the men as Chaucerian squires, the women as Tennysonian May queens.

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Old Lit as a Transformational Experience

The power of a “King Lear” passage is a refutation of Scott Walker’s attempt to redirect higher education to “work force needs.”

Also posted in Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Warning Labels for the Classics

Suggestions that certain classics come with “trigger warnings” leads of the following reflection.

Also posted in Homer, Milton (John), Sir Gawain Poet, Sophocles, Wilde (Oscar) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Chaucer’s Riff on the Woman at the Well

Seen in the light of the Samaritan woman at the well, Chaucer’s Wife of Bath is one of Christ’s messengers.

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Fighting Lit’s Culture Wars Again?!

A recent Wall Street Journal column is attempting to revive the 1990s culture wars over literature.

Also posted in Dante, Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Lit’s 10 Most Painful Marriage Proposals

Literature 10 most painful marriage proposals.

Also posted in Alcott (Louisa May), Austen (Jane), Bronte (Charlotte), Defoe (Daniel), Gay (John), Hardy (Thomas), Tolstoy (Leo), Wilde (Oscar) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lit’s 10 Strongest Female Characters

Who are literature’s ten strongest female characters? Here’s my list.

Also posted in Alcott (Louisa May), Austen (Jane), Bronte (Charlotte), Defoe (Daniel), Hawthorne (Nathaniel), Ibsen (Henrik), James (Henry), Shakespeare (William), Sophocles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Wife of Bath vs. Military Rapes

Perhaps Chaucer’s Wife of Bath has some good suggestions on preventing sexual assault in the military.

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Christ’s Love for Hot Barley Bread

Chaucer’s Wife of Bath may not be pure, but Jesus would appreciate her great heart.

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Don’t Underestimate Midsummer Madness

The summer solstice and Shakespeare’s famous play appear sentimental to us today. They were not always so.

Also posted in Byatt (A.S.), Kipling (Rudyard), Shakespeare (William), Sir Gawain Poet | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imagine the Wife of Bath vs. Rick Santorum

Candidate for the GOP presidential nominee Rick Santorum opposes birth control on the basis of natural law. Chaucer’s Wife of Bath would take his head off.

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Chaucer Predicted Hugh Hefner Debacle

It sounds to me that Hefner wasn’t cuckolded only because he wasn’t yet a husband. And while I don’t really care about either of them, I take a Chaucerian satisfaction is seeing a pretentious man outplayed at his own game.

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Chaucer and Hugh Hefner’s Wedding

  Here’s a post that has been awaiting a moment when I thought this website could use a comic interlude. I’m not suggesting in any way that Hugh Hefner’s forthcoming marriage (check out Timothy Egan’s horrified response) is as newsworthy as, say, Egypt’s uprising (Monday’s post) or America’s problem with guns (yesterday’s post). But we […]

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What Fictional Fantasy Means

Having taught British Fantasy Literature for the first time last semester, I need to think back on it before it becomes a distant memory.    By reflecting publicly, I can share some of the insights I gained from the course. Two major things I learned are that (1) fantasy is an oppositional genre—by which I […]

Also posted in Andersen (Hans Christian), Barrie (J. M.), Carroll (Lewis), Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Dickens (Charles), Grahame (Kenneth), Grimm Brothers, Haggard (Rider), Keats (John), Kipling (Rudyard), Rossetti (Christina), Shakespeare (William), Sir Gawain Poet, Tennyson (Alfred Lord), Tolkien (J.R.R.) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Palin, Mama Grizzlies, and the Wife of Bath

There was a lot of talk about Sarah Palin’s “Mama Grizzlies” this past election season. The image, which conjures up mothers fiercely defending their threatened young, has never made logical sense to me as a rightwing symbol. After all, shouldn’t mothers be fighting fiercely for social safety net programs (which Sarah Palin attacks) and against […]

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Blasphemy + Laughter, Not All Bad

Spiritual Sunday I was teaching Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale on Friday and had a sudden insight: laughter, even blasphemous laughter, is not an enemy to spirituality. In fact, it can be a means of deepening our connection with the divine. I will make my case through Chaucer. The Miller’s Tale is about as bawdy as it […]

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