Chaucer 1340-1400: The Life and Times of the First English Poet

Biased conservative journalist writing about Chaucer — curious, but not convincing. Compares Troilus and Criseyde with Casablanca (yep, the movie). Takes exception to the views of Terry Jones, “pacifist” (dixit West, scathingly) and liberal comedian. Fulminates against marxist, feminist and postmodernist theory. Irritatingly insists on attributing narrators’ and characters’ opinions to Chaucer. Sneers nastily at Chesterton: “Unlike Chesterton, who often wrote as though he had wine or something stronger in his veins, Chaucer was obviously an abstemious man.” (p. 44) And doesn’t even try to hide his homophobe and misogynist feelings: “By Henry II Eleanor bore and raised two disastrous English kings, Richard the the Lionheart and John, whose unstable bloodline continued throughout the fourteenth century with the homosexual Edward II and the still more neurotic Richard II […]” (p. 13); “Although Eleanor spent sixteen years confined in castles because of her part in young Henry’s rebellion, she had already poisened the minds of her three remaining sons, Geoffrey, Richard and John. It was Geoffrey who said that, in the Plantagenet family, sons always hated their fathers, and he too went to an early, embittered death. But it was Richard, the brave and handsome Coeur de Lion or Lionheart, on whom Eleanor worked her most baleful corruption by love. Their relationship has been the subject of a play and a film, The Lion in the Winter, and could serve as a Freudian psychological case-history on how a selfish woman can turn her son into a homosexual.” (p. 16)

And so on.

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Chaucer 1340-1400: The Life and Times of the First English Poet
by Richard West. Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2000

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