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Rewriting the Past, Reassembling the Realm

Rewriting the Past, Reassembling the Realm

The Trentham Manuscript of John Gower

(p.208) (p.209) Chapter Four Rewriting the Past, Reassembling the Realm
Fragments and Assemblages
Arthur Bahr
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents a reading of the Trentham manuscript of works by John Gower. It argues that Trentham's seemingly straightforward presentation of its author and audience is complicated by the architectural complexity of the manuscript's codicological form and its texts' evocation of past history. The manuscript, juxtaposed with Chapter 3's consideration of the Canterbury Tales, also upends some of the more reductive literary histories that Chaucer has been made to serve. By embodying some of the many non-Chaucerian ways in which England's post-Chaucerian literary forms developed, and looking back to elements of literary culture from the 1320s and 1330s that were examined in Chapters 1 and 2, Trentham shows that Chaucer himself need be neither end point nor center of the literary histories seen in medieval England.

Keywords:   medieval manuscripts, John Gower, trentham manuscript, chaucer, literary histories

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