English Literature in the Age of Chaucer

By Dieter Mehl
August 2001
Pearson Education
ISBN: 0582492998
264 pages
$57.50 Paper Original


Written in an engaging and accessible manner, English Literature in the Age of Chaucer serves as both a lucid introduction to Middle English literature for those coming fresh to the study of earlier English writing, and as a stimulating examination of the themes, traditions and the literary achievement of a number of particularly original and interesting authors.

In addition to detailed and sensitive treatment of Chaucer's major works, the book includes chapters on his chief contemporaries, such as John Gower, William Langland and the Gawain-poet. It also examines the often underrated contribution to the English literary tradition of his successors John Lydgate and Thomas Hoccleve, as well as the interesting and original work of the Scottish poets, Robert Henryson, William Dunbar and Gavin Douglas, who also claim Chaucer as their model.

Apart from the narrative poetry of Chaucer and his followers, the book also contains chapters on the Middle English lyric; Middle English prose, including Mandeville's travels; the most original and imaginative writings of the Middle English mystics, in particular Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe; and Thomas Malory's impressive prose compilation of Arthurian stories.

Features " First concise but comprehensive survey of this period for several years. " Particular attention paid to the texts and their origins " Inspires reader to read the texts, and emphasizes their literary qualities. " Annotated bibliography, and table of historical and cultural events.

Author Dieter Mehl is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Bonn. His previous publications include Shakespeare's Tragedies: An Introduction (1986) and Geoffrey Chaucer: An Introduction to his Narrative Poetry (1986).

Review 'Mehl's book can be recommended with confidence to those who seek reliable knowledge about the main fourteenth- and fifteenth-century writers in English; and its footnotes and bibliography give good up-to-date guidance for further reading.' J.A.Burrow, ESV, July 2003.

Return to main page of Trans-Atlantic Publications