Chaucerian Dynasty: The Father of English Poetry and His Family


ACLS Fellowship Program




The first biography of both the poet and his descendants, this book follows the Chaucer family from their merchant roots in Ipswich across two centuries through their tragic downfall at the hands of the Tudor kings and absorption into the French aristocracy. The Chaucer dynasty modeled themselves as England’s premier literary family, and balanced their ruthless political ambitions with their claims to a poetic legacy. As part of this self-definition, the family offered up an idea of literary production as collective endeavor, akin to their economic and social machinations. “Chaucerian Dynasty” not only provides an account of a brilliant family at a moment of profound cultural transition, but also challenges traditional narratives of how premodern poetry and the English literary canon were produced.