Publication details

The Translator as Author : The Case of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Parliament of Fowls



Year of publication 2022
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

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Description In the Middle Ages, the concept of authorship differed greatly from that of the present day and the profession of an author often involved activities which would nowadays be termed copying, rewriting, compiling or translating. The borders between these were not strict and the classification of a work in terms of its originality or derivativeness could be – and often was – highly subjective. This essay will discuss the case of perhaps the most ambitious of late medieval English poets and the "father of English poetry", Geoffrey Chaucer. Focusing on one of Chaucer’s finest shorter poems, The Parliament of Fowls, the present study will describe how Chaucer treated old authorities in developing his own reputation and what strategies he employed to establish a harmony among the multiple authorial voices which his works incorporated. Lastly, the essay will propose that, at least for Chaucer, medieval authorship was not necessarily defined solely by the level of the writer’s creative input, but also by the occasion for which the work was written, its original context and purpose, as well as its actual or anticipated audiences.
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