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Some of the writers whose remarks I have quoted may belong to the school often referred to as the New Critics. At any rate, if we can trust their frequently expressed disapproval of current scholarship, the New Critics would not disagree with those remarks. I do not wish to be intolerant of those whose intolerance I deprecate. There is more than one fruitful approach to a work of literature, and while some of the New Criticism seems to me to be quite sterile I am ready to welcome any method of interpretation which leads to the fuller understanding and enjoyment of a work of literature. What I am not willing to admit is that the New Criticism is the only true source of illumination. Behind the poem is the poet, and whatever in his own life or in the life of his time helps us to understand the man helps us to understand his work. Literary history is a frame which enhances the work of art, or, if I may change the figure, a means of displaying it, a setting which permits us to view it in proper perspective. Without it we should be like the historian who would interpret Magna Carta or the Declaration of Independence without reference to the conditions which called these documents into being. Besides this, literary history as a part of the history of man is as legitimate an object of interest and as worthy of study as political or economic history, or the history of science or art. And the history of literature has been made possible only by the patient labors of scholars who have quarried and shaped the stone out of which the edifice has been built. We need criticism and we need the historical perspective which investigation makes possible. Let us seek for a fruitful union of the two without disparaging the share which each contributes to the common end.
The subject on which I propose to speak to you tonight is a large one. In a sense it covers almost the whole profession of which this Association is the organ—the teaching and the research in one large segment of the humanities. I shall start with the assumption that we are all teachers. This, I know, is not strictly true. But it is probably true of ninety percent, and of the other ten percent some have been teachers and many are preparing themselves for teaching careers. How many of our members are engaged in research I do not know, but the number interested in research or in its results is large, as any one can see from the size of our annual conventions and the attendance at group and sectional meetings. I shall address myself particularly to the job which we have to do as teachers, and I shall consider the part which research plays in that job. I shall even direct a few remarks at those who are so heretical as to think that the MLA and PMLA are not perfect! In the light of this modest preview I am sure of your unanimous agreement on one point, that I have set myself a sufficiently large task for fifty minutes.
In 1873 in Trial-Forwords to Minor Poems: Further Additions and Corrections Furnivall called attention to seven records under the heading “Thomas Chaucer, esquire and vintner (?1 man, or 2)”:
 1399-1400. Duchy of Lancaster. Ministers' Accounts. Div. 29, Bundle 144. Payment of £20 to Thomas Chaucer for his two Annuities, due at Easter and Michaelmas, with £10 arrears.
 1406, March 12. City Hustings Roll, 133. Thomas Chausers: Deed of entail on him of City lands, near St. Paul's, by his ‘consanguineus,’ William Chaumbre, cleric.
 1416, February 3. Hustings Roll, 145. Release to Thomas Chaucer of the interest of Thomas Hoo and Agnes his wife in these entaild lands.
 1413, June 7. Conveyance by Geoffrey Dallyng, Citizen and Vintner, and Matilda his wife, to Thomas Chaucer, esquire, and 4 other men, of a reversion in some City houses and land (no doubt as Trustees for some City Corporation).
 1426, December 7. Hustings Roll, 155. Conveyance by William Manby, cleric, to Thomas Chaucers and Richard Wyot, esquires, and 4 others, clerics, of land in the parish of St. Margaret's, Lothbury, in the City of London, seemingly as Trustees for some ecclesiastical Corporation.
 1428, May 20. Hustings Roll, 156. Conveyance by William atte Watir, barber, and John Cole, junior, Citizen and Vintner, of a tenement in Fleet Street to Thomas Chawsere and 12 other men—all 13 being described in one part of the Deed as Citizens and Vintners, evidently as Trustees for the Vintners' Company.
 1428, June 11. Release to Thomas Chawsere and his 12 co-trustees—Thomas Chawsere and another (Lewis John), being called esquires, the rest Citizens and Vintners— of the estate of Thomas Croften, as mortgagee in possession, in the said tenement in Fleet Street.
As all Chaucer scholars know, it was the intention of the Chaucer Society to follow the Life Records of Chaucer with a similar volume on Thomas Chaucer. This intention was referred to as early as 1901, at the close of R.E.G. Kirk's Forewords to the former compilation; and for many years the work was announced in the list of future volumes to be published by the Society. As the years passed and the expected work failed to appear, it was naturally assumed that the project had been abandoned, perhaps after Kirk's death in 1908. So that when Professor Ruud published his monograph a few years ago he voiced the common sentiment when he said “we cannot now expect from the Chaucer Society the volume, long promised, of the life records of Thomas Chaucer.”
The Middle English romance of Athelston, preserved in a unique MS of the fourteenth century, has of late received some share of the recognition which its excellence deserves. The poet's narrative and descriptive powers have struck each reader with something of the effect of a discovery. But the full realization of his constructive skill and independent creative gift has only become possible through the light thrown on his sources by the studies of Gerould, Miss Hibbard (Laura Hibbard Loomis), and Beug. Each of these renders more unnecessary Zupitza's assumption of a French original and correspondingly raises our estimate of the English author. It is the purpose of the present paper to call attention to a further source, one that reveals still more clearly the workmanship of the poem.
Members of the Association are requested to see that copies of monographs, studies or dissertations in the field of the Modern Language which may be printed privately or in University series during the current year be sent to the editor of the appropriate section of the American Bibliography.
Members of the Association are requested to see that copies of monographs, studies or dissertations in the field of the Modern Languages which may appear in University series during the current year be sent to the editor of the appropriate section of the American Bibliography.