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Chaucer's People: Everyday Lives in Medieval England
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Liza Picard
Chaucer's People: Everyday Lives in Medieval England by Liza Picard at Abbey's Bookshop,

Chaucer's People: Everyday Lives in Medieval England

Liza Picard


Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Literary studies: poetry & poets;
British & Irish history;
Medieval history;
Social & cultural history


368 pages

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The Middle Ages were turbulent times. In the fourteenth century alone, England was ravaged by war, plague, revolt and the overthrow of a king. Among the surviving records, the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer is the most vivid. But what does it tell us about the everyday lives of medieval men and women? What did people eat, wear, read and think?

Through the assorted cast of pilgrims Chaucer selected for The Canterbury Tales, Liza Picard brings medieval social history to life. These are lives led beyond the court circles frequented by most of Chaucer's well-heeled audience - lives spent at the pedal of a loom or in uncharted waters on the high seas.

Chaucer would sometimes raise a thought-provoking query in an apparently simple portrait. The Prioress was a sweet, pretty, well-mannered young nun; what was she doing on the road to Canterbury with a mixed band of men, instead of staying in her convent to pray? The Knight was 'a very perfect gentle knight'; but why had his military service landed him in such distant places as Lithuania and Spain? By providing these characters with a three-dimensional framework - the times in which they lived - Picard opens up the fourteenth-century world to us.

Drawing on contemporary experiences of a vast range of subjects including trade, religion, toe-curling remedies and hair-raising recipes, Chaucer's People recreates the medieval world in all its glorious detail.

By:   Liza Picard
Imprint:   Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 153mm,  Width: 233mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   510g
ISBN:   9781474606318
ISBN 10:   1474606318
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   October 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Liza Picard was born in 1927. She is the author of many acclaimed works of social history, including RESTORATION LONDON, DR JOHNSON'S LONDON and VICTORIAN LONDON. She read law at the London School of Economics and worked for many years in the office of the Solicitor of the Inland Revenue and lived in Gray's Inn and Hackney, before retiring to become a full-time author. She lives in London.

Chaucer's pilgrims are the first historical characters who feel like real people, and now Liza Picard makes their world as vivid and three-dimensional as the merry band themselves. Chaucer's People is a holiday in the complex, joyful, indelicate medieval world - an approachable, engaging and highly recommended account of an England which is long gone, but whose spirit lingers -- John Higgs, author of <i>Watling Street</i> As you read this book, Chaucer's writing gains a depth and pungency it usually lacks ... Sometimes these snippets, in their oddness, distance the toiling pilgrims from us. At others, they bring them much closer ... There is a Chaucerian pleasure in plain sentences, plainly written. This is more almanac than argument, but no less enjoyable for that. If you were to reread The Canterbury Tales, you'd get so much more from it with this at your side ... And there are some excellent titbits -- Catherine Nixey * The Times *

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