Making Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess: Textuality and Reception is the first comprehensive book-length study of Chaucer’s earliest major narrative poem and its reception. It provides a rigorous and critically balanced assimilation of the Book of the Duchess, the story of its reception and dissemination, and the major trends in its interpretive history into the fabric of twenty-first century Chaucer studies.
Focusing on the construction and value of the Book of the Duchess as a book, this study explores Chaucer’s concern with acts of writing and the textual mediation of experience. At the same time, it contextualises Chaucer’s poem within his era’s broader concerns with authority, reading practices, and the vernacular. By yoking issues of creative and scholarly reception with those of book production and materiality, Jamie C. Fumo’s study innovatively highlights acts of collaboration stemming from the poem’s status as a textual, imaginative act.
Chapter 1. Reading the Book (I): Critical History — An Overview
Chapter 2. Reading the Book (II): Themes, Problems, Interpretations
Chapter 3. All This Black: Reading and Making
Chapter 4. Rereading the Book (I): The Materials of Transmission
Chapter 5. Rereading the Book (II): Literary Reception Up to the Sixteenth Century
‘Now hit ys doon’: Conclusion