As his brothers, the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucesterand his uncle, the Duke of Exeterlament his passing and express doubt as to whether his son the as yet uncrowned heir apparent Henry VI is capable of running the country in such tumultuous times, word arrives of military setbacks in France. A rebellionled by the Dauphin Charles, is gaining momentum, and several major towns have already been lost.
Cover of Spanish translation of Chaucer, Cover of Faber reprint edition of Chaucer, Introduction If I were writing this in French, as I should be if Chaucer had not chosen to write in English, I might be able to head this preliminary note with something like Avis au lecteur; which, with a French fine shade, would suggest without exaggeration the note of warning.
As it is, I feel tempted to write, 'Beware! For I do really desire to warn the reader, or the critic, of some possible mistakes in or about this book: It were perhaps too sanguine a simplicity to say that this book is intended to be popular; but at least it is intended to be simple.
It describes only the effect of a particular poet on a particular person; but it also expresses a personal conviction that the poet could be an extremely popular poet; that is, could produce the same effect on many other normal or unpretentious persons.
It makes no claim to specialism of any sort in the field of Chaucerian scholarship. It is written for people who know even less about Chaucer than I do. It does not in any of the disputed details, dictate to those who know much more about Chaucer than I do. It is primarily concerned with the fact that Chaucer was a poet.
Or, in other words, that it is possible to know him, without knowing anything about him. A distinguished French critic said of my sketch of an English novelist that it might well bear the simple title, 'The Praise of Dickens'; and I should be quite content if this tribute only bore the title of 'The Praise of Chaucer'.
The whole point, so far as I am concerned, is that it is as easy for an ordinary Englishman to enjoy Chaucer as to enjoy Dickens. Dickensians always quote Dickens; from which it follows that they often misquote Dickens. Having long depended on memory, I might be quite capable of misquotation; but I fear I have fallen into something that may seem even more shocking: I do incline to think that it is necessary to take some such liberties, when first bringing Chaucer to the attention of fresh and casual readers.
However that may be, all this part of the explanation is relatively easy; and the intention of the book is tolerably obvious. Unfortunately this plan of simplification and popularity is interrupted by two problems, which can hardly be prevented from presenting a greater complexity. In the second chapter, I plunged rather rashly into the wider historical elements of Chaucer's age; and soon found myself among deep tides that might well have carried me far out of my course.
And yet I cannot altogether regret the course that I actually followed; for there grew upon me, while writing this chapter, a very vivid realization which the chapter itself does not very clearly explain. I fear that the reader will only pause to wonder, with not unjust irritation, why I sometimes seem to be writing about modern politics instead of about medieval history.
I can only say that the actual experience, of trying to tell such truths as I know about the matter, left me with an overwhelming conviction that it is because we miss the point of the medieval history that we make a mess of the modern politics.Our Word of the Year choice serves as a symbol of each year’s most meaningful events and lookup trends.
It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the language and ideas that represented each year. So, take a stroll down memory lane to remember all of our past Word of the Year selections.
The. The Leaning on the Fourth Wall trope as used in popular culture.
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