The Chaucerian Apocrypha
A Counterfeit Canon
AUTHOR: Forni, Kathleen
PUBLISHER: University Press of Florida
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"Perhaps the most comprehensive, detailed, and bibliographically complete account of the so-called Chaucerian Apocrypha. . . . [It] engages fully with the scholarship and criticism, not only on its own specialized subject, but on the broader issues of canon formation, literary history, the theory of authorship, bookmaking, and reception aesthetics." --Seth Lerer, Stanford University
This first modern treatment of the Chaucerian Apocrypha--the 51 spurious works included in the folio editions printed between 1532 and 1721--addresses the nature of canon formation and why the apocrypha became a Chaucerian canon of its own, while making a larger argument about how Chaucer is constructed, or invented, by his readers.
Tracing their transition from manuscript to print, Kathleen Forni analyzes how these works became associated with Chaucer and historicizes the creation of the folio canon. Taking case examples and select editors and critics from the 15th through the 20th centuries, she offers detailed accounts of how they responded to or participated in the construction of the apocrypha. Emphasizing the individuality of each work's history and the influence of specific historical forces and personages, she offers provocative commentaries on the works, providing time capsules of the history of Chaucer scholarship and a miniature anthology of Chaucerian criticism itself.
Forni collects virtually all of the scholarly references and discussions of apocryphal texts and assembles a working canon of the apocrypha, listing every manuscript and early printed book containing one or more of these poems. Of great interest to Chaucerians, this important study will also be welcomed by general medievalists and literary historians.
Kathleen Forni, assistant professor of English at Loyola College in Baltimore, has published articles on Chaucerian bibliographical and textual conundrums in the Chaucer Review, Studia Neophilologica, and Huntington Library Quarterly.
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/27/2001
CATEGORY: Literary Criticism, Reference