Chaucer's People: Everyday Lives in Medieval England

October 31, 2020
Chaucer's People: Everyday Lives in Medieval England

The Middle Ages re-created through the cast of pilgrimsin The Canterbury Tales.Among the surviving records of fourteenth-century England,Geoffrey Chaucer's poetry is the most vivid. Chaucer wrote abouteveryday people outside the walls of the English court—men andwomen who spent days at the pedal of a loom, or maintaining theledgers of an estate, or on the high seas. In Chaucer's People,Liza Picard transforms The Canterbury Tales into a masterful guidefor a gloriously detailed tour of medieval England, from the millsand farms of a manor house to the lending houses and Inns of Courtin London.In Chaucer's People we meet again the motley crew of pilgrims onthe road to Canterbury. Drawing on a range of historical recordssuch as the Magna Carta, The Book of Margery Kempe, and Cookery inEnglish, Picard puts Chaucer's characters into historical contextand mines them for insights into what people ate, wore, read, andthought in the Middle Ages. What can the Miller, "big...of brawnand eke of bones" tell us about farming in fourteenth-centuryEngland? What do we learn of medieval diets and cooking methodsfrom the Cook? With boundless curiosity and wit, Picard re-createsthe religious, political, and financial institutions and customsthat gave order to these lives.