Chaucerian Polity: Absolutist Lineages and Associational Forms in England and Italy
Chaucer's encounters with the great Trecento authors - Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch - facilitate the testing and dismantling of time-honored terms such as medieval, Renaissance, and humanism. The author argues that no magic curtain separated "medieval" London and Westminster from "Renaissance" Florence and Milan; as a result of his Italian journeys, all sites were interlinked for Chaucer as parts of a transnational nexus of capital, cultural, mercantile, and military exchange. In his travels, Chaucer was exposed to the Trecento's most crucial material and ideological conflict, that between a fully developed and highly inclusive associational polity (Florence) and the first, prototypically imperfect, absolutist state of modern times (Lombardy). The author's articulation of "Chaucerian polity" - through analyses of art, architecture, city and country, household space, guild and mercantile cultures, as well as literary texts - thus opens sightlines through the Henrician revolution to the writings of Shakespeare. In the process, this innovative study of Chaucer's poetry and prose is invigorated by an engagement with approaches gleaned from modern Marxist historiography, gender theory, and cultural studies.
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absolutist Albertano Alceste Anne of Bohemia argues authority Bernab6 Boccaccio body brigata Burckhardt Canterbury Canterbury Tales casibus Chap Chaucerian civic Clerk's Tale compagnye Condottieri countryside court critique cultural Dante death Decameron despotic eloquence England English felaweshipe female feudal Florence Florentine fourteenth century friars Gian Galeazzo Gian Galeazzo Visconti Gilds Griselde guild Henry Hippolita household human humanist Italian John king Knight Knight's Tale labor later Latin Legend Letter-Book literary Lombardy London lord magnates Manciple manuscript masculine medieval Melibee merchants Milan Monk Monk's Tale myghty narrative noted novella parish Pavia peasant Petrarch Petrarchan pilgrim poet poetic political princes Prologue Prudence queen religious Renaissance rhetorical Richard Richard II Riverside Chaucer royal seems sexual social speak story suggests tacendi term Theseus tidynges tradition translation Trecento tyranny urban vernacular violence viris Visconti Wife of Bath woman women writing