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12:45 PM ET (US)
How does Chaucer use wit, humour, and irony in his poems?...any examples?
BookninjaPerson was signed in when posted
10:49 PM ET (US)
I heart Chaucer

I missed AN Wilson's Valentine/Chaucer piece on Monday. I respectfully submit it to you now.

The Parlement of Foules is a marvellously witty poem, in which three eagles come to their fellows and bid for the hand, or claw, of the most beautiful female of their species. The birds of prey, as well as the seed-eating and worm-eating birds, all squawk their opinions about which of the eagles is worthiest of her. In the end, dame Nature allows the female bird to make up her own mind.

BookninjaPerson was signed in when posted
11:52 PM ET (US)
Was Chaucer murdered?

Maybe. But whether it happened in the past, it's pretty certain he will be murdered in the near future...

12:27 AM ET (US)
Somewhat interesting, but really almost all significant English (language, not nationality) poets have broken as many rules as they've followed. The case for Chaucer's use of iambic pentameter has never been settled, so this dude is making his argument out to be far more novel than it is. (I guess this relates to the link a few days ago on the value of "smart" in the academy.)

Ted Hughes' essays "Myths, Metres and Rhythms" and "The Snake in the Oak" are particularly illuminating on the tradition of "unorthodox" prosody in English verse.
BookninjaPerson was signed in when posted
09:47 PM ET (US)
Traditionalists receive short, stinging chop to back of neck

Did Chaucer invent free verse?

An English professor is taking a new look at Geoffrey Chaucer’s often-neglected short poems, and suggests the writer intentionally broke some of the rules he is so well known for following.

English professor William Quinn will present his paper, “Chaucer as the Father of Free Verse,” during the Modern Language Association convention being held from Dec. 27-30 in Philadelphia.

“Chaucer has traditionally been seen as the single poet who determined that, for the next four centuries, we’d be counting syllables,” Quinn said. “My title suggests he broke the rules on purpose, and anticipated change.”

The poet saw that there were problems with absolute regularity in such poetic forms as rhyming sequences and numbers of lines in a stanza, so he would try things, and if they didn’t work, he would move away from them, according to Quinn.

We've seen it before, folks. One academic striving to end the careers of others with one fell swoop. But it's so fun to watch!

BookninjaPerson was signed in when posted
10:20 PM ET (US)
Editors... Hmph... Hew needes thim?

Always have been a problem, haven't they...? Twisting our werdes, all scall under those longe locks. Chaucer's copyist revealed!

BookninjaPerson was signed in when posted
12:20 AM ET (US)

BBC reworks Chaucer for Television.