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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: August 2020

Who Will Pay?

from 16 - Postscript: How to Talk about Chaucer with Your Friends and Colleagues


The dialectical relation of long-form scholarly work and short-form blogs, social media and other contemporary public writing about how the political meanings of sex in Chaucer’s time speak vividly to our own experience cannot simply be dismissed as crudely instrumentalist or naively transhistoricist. Such approaches can provide a powerful justification for why we teach Chaucer and for his cultural significance today. Flagging the Canterbury Tales as “our cultural legacy” in the context of current considerations of “rape culture” is a rhetorical move that makes a claim for the continued liveliness and urgency of past literatures by showing how the past still inheres in the present, how present discourses can suddenly make the past newly familiar, how the past is still lively.

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