- Cultural Reformations
- List of Illustrations
- List of Abbreviations
- List of Contributors
- National Histories
- Literary Histories
- Enclosed Spaces
- The Eucharist
- The Saints
- Vernacular Theology
- When English Became Latin
- Heresy and Treason
- Naughty Printed Books
- Utopian Pleasure
- Poetic Fame
- London Books and London Readers
- The Reformation of the Household
- Active and Contemplative Lives
- Autobiography and the History of Reading
Abstract and Keywords
Poetry is intertwined with fame: it needs to be known, and to be associated with a named poet. In their dramatization of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, William Shakespeare and John Fletcher declare that Chaucer is more famous than Petrarch or any contemporary English poets. Shakespeare’s attitude to Chaucer thus highlights the contrast between the high admiration with which he was received in the sixteenth century and the widespread refusal in modern times to recognize him as England’s laureate poet. Numerous other poets, including Edmund Spenser and Ben Jonson, paid tribute to Chaucer throughout the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This article examines Chaucer’s fame as a poet, his own attitude to fame, and its relation to humanism, Catholicism and Protestantism.
Helen Cooper is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge. Her books include Pastoral: Medieval into Renaissance (Brewer, 1978), The Canterbury Tales, Oxford Guides to Chaucer (Oxford University Press, 1989), and The English Romance in Time: Transforming Motifs from Geoffrey of Monmouth to the Death of Shakespeare (Oxford University Press, 2004). She has particular interests in links between the medieval and early modern, including both "after Chaucer"; and "before Shakespeare."
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