Bard of the Middle Ages

  • by Prof. Michael Drout
  • Narrated by Michael Drout
  • 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Had Geoffrey Chaucer not written, or not written so well, the last 600 years of English literature would have been decidedly different. His creative style and use of language served as one of the primary foundations on which later writers built. Through his writing, Chaucer's wit, charm, and eloquence give us a deeper understanding of not only the time in which he lived, but of how human emotion, frailty, and fortitude are the base elements of human existence.Despite social upheaval and the changing fortunes of his patrons and peers, Chaucer remained a favored subject during three distinct and contrasting reigns. His experiences provided Chaucer an appreciation for his good (and bad) fortune - and that of others - made evident in his writing. Chaucer's works are today widely studied and serve as models for current literature around the world. Chaucer holds a place of esteem as the earliest and one of the foremost writers in the English language.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

In Drout we Trust

Michael Drout uses a literary critique of Geoffrey Chaucer's works as an excuse to talk about medieval life while also addressing the question of why Chaucer is rated so highly and what influences shaped his talent. As well as being a significant author, Chaucer had a dazzling rise under a sequence of Kings at a time of great turmoil in English history when it was difficult enough to make the transition from wine merchants' some to courtier and even harder to avoid assassination and torture as various factions rose and fell. Drout goes some way to explaining how Chaucer did it. He also brings the text to life by reading passages of Chaucer in middle English and contrasting them with passages of old English and modern version of the Canterbury Tales. I've always found it strangely fascinating to hear the unfamiliar tones of our own language as they were spoken by long dead ancestors.

Don't worry if you like history but aren't interested in literary criticism. Drout's incapable of being dull and effortlessly links the literature back to the experience of living a medieval life. Don't worry if you like history but feel this period to be pretty solidly covered in other publications. Drout has interesting things to say about the cultural life of the middle ages as well as the intricacies of Chaucer's progress through the hierarchy of the royal bureaucracy.

I've yet to listen to a dud from Prof Drout and this is another characteristically strong offering.
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- Jim

Insightful, informative and entertaining.

A sweep through the life, times and works of Geoffrey Chaucer, setting his works in context and exploring some of the complex themes at work. What sets this series apart is that all of Chaucer's are discussed no only in relation to Chaucer but in relation to each other. A very useful guide, and a very engaging presenter.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 27-10-2008
  • Publisher: Recorded Books