Chaucer’s Afterlife

Adaptations in Recent Popular Culture


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About the Book

This study explores Chaucer’s present-day cultural reputation by way of popular culture. In just the past two decades his texts have been adapted to a wide variety of popular genres, including television, stage, comic book, hip-hop, science fiction, horror, romance, and crime fiction. This cultural recycling involves a variety of functions but Chaucer’s primary association is with the idea of pilgrimage and the prevailing tenor is populist satire. The target is not only cultural elitism but also the dominant discourse of professional Chaucerians. Academics in turn may have doubts about the value of popular Chaucer; popular culture theory, however, would maintain that such skepticism has less to do with critical discrimination than the assertion of social distinction. Nonetheless, the fact that Chaucer has a popular afterlife, and remains an ideological product over which competing groups lay claim, attests to his current cultural vitality.

About the Author(s)

Kathleen Forni is an associate professor of English at Loyola University Maryland. She lives in Baltimore.

Bibliographic Details

Kathleen Forni
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 176
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7344-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0267-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface      1

Introduction: The Popular and the Professional      7

1. Modes of Intertextual Engagement 21

2. Chaucer the Detective 61

3. Chaucer on the TV Screen: The BBC’s Canterbury Tales

  and Jonathan Myerson’s Canterbury Tales 84

4. The Canterbury Pilgrimage and African Diaspora 106

5. The Chaucer Brand 122

Chapter Notes 133

Bibliography 151

Index 165

Book Reviews & Awards

“Recommended”—Choice; “a solid contribution…valuable”—Parergon; “incisive”—Studies in Popular Culture; “the book is in many ways a testament to Chaucer’s enduring usefulness. Forni succeeds in presenting a range of material in a fluid and engaging manner”—Oxford University Press Journals.