Chaucer's Prayers: Writing Christian and Pagan Devotion [Hardback]

Megan E. Murton(Author)

ISBN: 9781843845591 | Published by: D.S. Brewer | Series: Chaucer Studies | Volume: Volume 47 | Year of Publication: 2020 | 208p, H9.25 x W6.25,
Status: Not Yet Published - Available for pre-order

Chaucer's Prayers


In a culture as steeped in communal, scripted acts of prayer as Chaucer's England, a written prayer asks not only to be read, but to be inhabited: its "I" marks a space for new speakers. This book examines the implications of accepting that invitation when reading Chaucer's poetry. Both in his often-overlooked pious writings and in his ambitious, innovative pagan narratives, the "I" of prayer provides readers with a subject-position to occupy that can be at once devotional and literary - a stance before a deity and a stance in relation to a poem. Chaucer uses this uniquely open, participatory "I" to implicate readers in his poetry and to guide their work of reading.
In examining Christian and pagan prayers alongside each other, Chaucer's Prayers cuts across an assumed division between the poet's "religious" and "secular" writings within Chaucer's corpus. Rather, it emphasizes continuities and approaches to prayer as part of Chaucer's broader experimentation with literary voice. It also places Chaucer in his devotional context, shedding fresh light on how pious practices intersect with his poetic practices. These insights provide nuance to a received view of Chaucer as an essentially secular poet and offer a fresh consideration of his poetry's relationship to religion.

MEGAN MURTON is Assistant Professor of English at The Catholic University of America.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Prayer as Performance
Chapter 1: Praying to Mary
Chapter 2: Praying in Suffering
Chapter 3: God of Love and Love of God in Troilus and Criseyde
Chapter 4: Praying about Poetry
Conclusion: Praying with Chaucer, Performing Chaucer

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