Chaucerian Conflict: Languages of Antagonism in Late Fourteenth-Century London

Front Cover
Clarendon Press, Nov 30, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 224 pages
0 Reviews
Chaucerian Conflict explores the textual environment of London in the 1380s and 1390s, revealing a language of betrayal, surveillance, slander, treason, rebellion, flawed idealism, and corrupted compaignyes. Taking a strongly interdisciplinary approach, it examines how discourses about social antagonism work across different kinds of texts written at this time, including Chaucer's House of Fame, Troilus and Criseyde, and Canterbury Tales, and other literary texts such as St Erkenwald, Gower's Vox clamantis, Usk's Testament of Love, and Maidstone's Concordia. Many non-literary texts are also discussed, including the Mercers' Petition, Usk's Appeal, the guild returns, judicial letters, de Mezieres's Letter to Richard II, and chronicle accounts. These were tumultuous decades in London: some of the conflicts and problems discussed include the Peasants' Revolt, the mayoral rivalries of the 1380s, the Merciless Parliament, slander legislation, and contemporary suspicion of urban associations. While contemporary texts try to hold out hope for the future, or imagine an earlier Golden Age, Chaucer's texts foreground social conflict and antagonism. Though most critics have promoted an idea of Chaucer's texts as essentially socially optimistic and congenial, Marion Turner argues that Chaucer presents a vision of a society that is inevitably divided and destructive.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Chaucerian Conflict
Slander the House of Fame and the Mercers Petition
Troilus and Criseyde and the Treasonous Aldermen of 1382
Troynovaunt in the Late Fourteenth Century
Thomas Usks Social Fantasies
The Canterbury Fellowship and Urban Associational Form
The Language of Peace and Chaucers Tale of Melibee

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Marion Turner gained her doctorate from Oxford in 2002. She was then a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and is now a Lecturer in Medieval Literatures at King's College London. She has published several articles on Chaucer and his contemporaries, and has also appeared several times on television and radio discussing medieval literature and history.

Bibliographic information