Oxford Handbook on Victorian Medievalism


Looks like it's materializing in 2020, after some delays. Congrats to the editors, Joanne Parker and Corinna Wagner. My own essay is on "Chaucer among the Victorians":


The nineteenth and early twentieth century saw a growing fascination with Geoffrey Chaucer and his texts. English Victorians as well as their contemporaries in other English-speaking countries imagined Chaucer as a predecessor to their own preferred aesthetics, ideologies, and mentalities. During the first half of the nineteenth century, antiquarians and gentlemen scholars discover the writer as part of the general enthusiasm about England’s medieval past. They lay the groundwork for the professional medievalists of the final third of the century, when Chaucer’s texts become the subject of manuscript studies, historical linguistics, and literary studies. This interest among the educated classes is accompanied by a strong interest among the general Victorian public. These readers encounter Chaucer via adaptations, translations, bowdlerized anthologies, children’s versions, and ‘Penny Dreadfuls’. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Chaucer is generally acknowledged as the father of English poetry and the source of immense nationalist pride.


Keywords: Geoffrey Chaucer, antiquaries, editing, manuscript studies, translation, adaptation, children’s literature, nationalism


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