Fama, or fame, is a central concern of late medieval literature. Where fame came from, who deserved it, whether it was desirable, how it was acquired and kept were significant inquiries for a culture that relied extensively on personal credit and reputation. An interest in fame was not new, being inherited from the classical world, but was renewed and rethought within the vernacular revolutions of the later Middle Ages. The work of Geoffrey Chaucer shows a preoccupation with ideas on the subject of fama, not only those received from the classical world but also those of his near contemporaries; via an engagement with their texts, he aimed to negotiate a place for his own work in the literary canon, establishing fame as the subject-site at which literary theory was contested and writerly reputation won. Chaucer's place in these negotiations was readily recognized in his aftermath, as later writers adopted and reworked postures which Chaucer had struck, in their own bids for literary place. This volume considers the debates on fama which were past, present and future to Chaucer, using his work as a centre point to investigate canon formation in European literature from the late Middle Ages and into the Early Modern period. Isabel Davis is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at Birkbeck, University of London; Catherine Nall is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. Contributors: Joanna Bellis, Alcuin Blamires, Julia Boffey, Isabel Davis, Stephanie Downes, A.S.G. Edwards, Jamie C. Fumo, Andrew Galloway, Nick Havely, Thomas A. Prendergast, Mike Rodman Jones, William T. Rossiter, Elizaveta Strakhov.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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