The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language, and Nation in the by Ardis Butterfield

By Ardis Butterfield

The time-honored Enemy re-examines the linguistic, literary, and cultural identities of britain and France in the context of the Hundred Years conflict. in this battle, profoundly intertwined peoples constructed advanced innovations for expressing their aggressively intimate courting. This detailed connection among the English and the French has persevered into the trendy interval as a version for Western nationhood. Ardis Butterfield reassesses the idea that of 'nation' during this interval via a wide-ranging dialogue of writing produced in battle, truce, or exile from the 13th to the 15th century, concluding with reflections at the retrospective perspectives of this clash created through the pains of Jeanne d'Arc and by means of Shakespeare's Henry V. She considers authors writing in French, 'Anglo-Norman', English, and the comedian culture of Anglo-French 'jargon', together with Machaut, Deschamps, Froissart, Chaucer, Gower, Charles d'Orleans, in addition to many lesser-known or nameless works. normally Chaucer has been noticeable as a quintessentially English writer. This publication argues that he should be resituated in the deeply francophone context, not just of britain however the wider multilingual cultural geography of medieval Europe. It therefore means that a contemporary knowing of what 'English' may need intended within the fourteenth century can't be separated from 'French', and that this has far-reaching implications either for our knowing of English and the English, and of French and the French.

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28 On ‘the aristocratic diaspora’ of the tenth to thirteenth centuries, see R. Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950–1350 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 24–59. On aspects of the linguistic diaspora of French, see S. Kinoshita, Medieval Boundaries: Rethinking Difference in Old French Literature (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2006). 29 R. Berndt, ‘The Period of the Final Decline of French in Medieval England (Fourteenth and Early Fifteenth Centuries)’, Zeitschrift fu¨r Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 20 (1972), 341–69.

3 Pre-nation and Post-nation 5 possession and identity: although ‘Norman’ proved to be a more persuasive category than any of the others that were claiming recognition in and around the British Isles—Angevin, Franc¸ais, Blois, Breton, Engleis, Jersiais—it was not a national one. Looking at Britain through the eyes of Wace and his Trojan seafarers gives us an insight into the entangled character of British identity in the earlier medieval period. As I have just implied, to talk of it as a matter of contention between ‘England’ and ‘France’, or even between England and the Normans, is misleading.

33 Yet (as all sides implicitly recognize) ‘Anglo-Norman’ is not a straightforward category, linguistically, socially, or culturally. Its relations to both ‘Frenchness’ and ‘Englishness’ are fraught with interpretive questions and burdened by a history of partisan scholarly assumptions. French scholars have tended to be dismissive of Anglo-Norman writings. In the case of fabliaux, for example, several works previously collected under this generic label were excluded from the most recent magisterial collected edition by Willem Noomen and Nico van 31 This is not meant to imply that Gower’s French and Latin works have not received attention, but that to date they have been perceived as playing a markedly less significant role in English literary history than his English Confessio amantis.

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