Visual Approaches

Paper or softback
Susanna Fein, David Raybin
Published 01 May 2018
List Price £24.95



Chaucer: Visual Approaches offers a diverse and stimulating set of essays that challenges its readers to consider anew Chaucer's way(s) of seeing his world and our way(s) of 'seeing' Chaucer. Professors Fein and Raybin, scholars of lively mind and commendable dedication to the service of their profession, have once again put Chaucerians in their debt by shepherding this innovative collection into print.”

—Robert W. Hanning, author of Serious Play: Desire and Authority in the Poetry of Ovid, Chaucer, and Ariosto

“With arresting and beautiful illustrations and powerful explorations of ‘intervisuality’ by leading scholars, Chaucer: Visual Approaches is a welcome expansion of the way we see both Chaucer’s works and Chaucer’s world.”

—Carolynn Van Dyke, author of Chaucer’s Agents: Cause and Representation in Chaucerian Narrative

“This richly illustrated new collection of essays demonstrates the great range of ways in which visual images are significant to Chaucer’s writings. Dealing with images drawn in words, evoked by words, and made by words on the page, the essays remind us of the scope for original work in this exciting area. The collection has illuminated for me some of the imaginative processes that take place as we read.”

—Julia Boffey, coeditor of A Companion to Fifteenth-Century English Poetry

“Susanna Fein and David Raybin, consummate Chaucerians, have drawn together one of the most compelling collections of essays I have seen on Chaucer in recent years. . . . Essay after essay, including each of their own, shapes a sparklingly original argument based on a wealth of visual material: the profusion of images, new arguments, and deeply researched manuscript observation offers insights on every page. We do not just read Chaucer freshly, we see his imagination at work and are sent back to his writing to rediscover its rich colors for ourselves.”

—Ardis Butterfield, author of The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language, and Nation in the Hundred Years War

This collection looks beyond the literary, religious, and philosophical aspects of Chaucer’s texts to a new mode of interdisciplinary scholarship: one that celebrates the richness of Chaucer’s visual poetics. The twelve illustrated essays make connections between Chaucer’s texts and various forms of visual data, both medieval and modern.

Basing their approach on contemporary understandings of interplay between text and image, the contributors examine a wealth of visual material, from medieval art and iconographical signs to interpretations of Chaucer rendered by contemporary artists. The result uncovers interdisciplinary potential that deepens and informs our understanding of Chaucer’s poetry in an age in which digitization makes available a wealth of facsimiles and other visual resources.

A learned assessment of imagery and Chaucer’s work that opens exciting new paths of scholarship, Chaucer: Visual Approaches will be welcomed by scholars of literature, art history, and medieval and early modern studies.

The contributors are Jessica Brantley, Joyce Coleman, Carolyn P. Collette, Alexandra Cook, Susanna Fein, Maidie Hilmo, Laura Kendrick, Ashby Kinch, David Raybin, Martha Rust, Sarah Stanbury, and Kathryn R. Vulić.


List of Illustrations

Preface . Chaucer: Visual Approaches / Susanna Fein and David Raybin



1 Intervisual Texts, Intertextual Images: Chaucer and the Luttrell Psalter / Ashby Kinch

2 Creative Memory and Visual Image in Chaucer’s House of Fame / Alexandra Cook

3 “Quy la?”: The Counting-House, the Shipman’s Tale, and Architectural Interiors / Sarah


4 The Vernon Paternoster Diagram, Medieval Graphic Design, and the Parson’s Tale /

Kathryn Vulić


5 Standing under the Cross in the Pardoner’s and Shipman’s Tales / Susanna Fein

6 Disfigured Drunkenness in Chaucer, Deschamps, and Medieval Visual Culture / Laura Kendrick

7 The Franklin’s Tale and the Sister Arts / Jessica Brantley

8 Miracle Windows and the Pilgrimage to Canterbury / David Raybin


9 Translating Iconography: Gower, Pearl, Chaucer, and the Rose / Joyce Coleman

10 “Qui bien ayme a tarde oblie”: Lemmata and Lists in the Parliament of Fowls /

Martha Rust

11 The Visual Semantics of Ellesmere: Gold, Artifice, and Audience / Maidie Hilmo

12 Drawing Out a Tale: Elizabeth Frink’s Etchings Illustrating Chaucer’s “Canterbury

Tales” / Carolyn P. Collette



Editors and Contributors

Index of Manuscripts

General Index

Susanna Fein and David Raybin are joint editors of The Chaucer Review and coeditors of Chaucer: Contemporary Approaches, also published by Penn State University Press. Fein is Professor of English at Kent State University, and Raybin is Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Eastern Illinois University.

A collection of twelve illustrated essays modeling innovative approaches to reading Chaucer’s visual poetics. Essays explore connections between Chaucer’s texts and various forms of visual data, medieval and modern, that can deepen and inform our understanding of Chaucer’s poetry.