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Making Chaucer’s "Book of the Duchess"

Textuality and Reception

Making Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess 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. Focusing on the construction and value of the Book of the Duchess as a book, Jamie C. Fumo explores Chaucer’s concern with acts of writing and the textual mediation of experience. At the same time, Fumo places Chaucer’s poem within the context of his era’s broader concerns with authority, reading practices, and the vernacular.

272 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2015

New Century Chaucer

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

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“Everything Jamie Fumo writes about Chaucer is essential reading. Her new study of the Book of the Duchess brings all her learning, originality and wit to bear on this mysterious and underappreciated poem. The result is a triumph of wide-ranging scholarship and literary interpretation.”

David C. Benson, University of Connecticut

“The bad news: you want to know about Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess, but you’re too busy and the textual territory (sources, the text itself, its late medieval reception, modern scholarship) is vast. The good news: Jamie Fumo’s singularly generous and massively learned book gives us the entire field – everything. For Fumo, writing is at the core of the poem; her unfailingly clear book exfoliates from that perception to the entire field of writing before, in and after the poem itself. A marvel of compression and comprehension.”

James Simpson, Harvard University

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. Reading the Book (I): Critical History – An Overview
2. Reading the Book (II): Themes, Problems, Interpretations
3. All This Back: Reading and Making
4. Rereading the Book (I): The Materials of Transmission
5. Rereading of the Book (II): Literary Reception up to the Sixteenth Century
‘Now hit ys doon’: Conclusion

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