The University of Kent’s ‘Festival of English’ begins this evening (Tuesday, 3rd February) at 6.30pm with a talk by Professor Peter Brown on Chaucer. Held in Canterbury Cathedral’s Reading Room, the talk is open to all and will be followed by a wine reception.
Entitled, ‘Ymad for lewede men’: Writers and Canterbury 1340–1420′, Professor Brown will explore how Canterbury was a centre of Latin literary production throughout the medieval period, whether of saints’ lives, chronicles, or miracles of St Thomas. Around 1340 the first vernacular writings begin to appear, produced by local authors. They extend the repertoire of genres to include moral treatise, lyric and bawdy farce. Writers visiting Canterbury in this period are drawn by its reputation as a pilgrimage centre and champion of religious orthodoxy, and by its association with royalty. Although Chaucer helped to put Canterbury on the literary map, he never wrote directly about the city.
Professor Brown has previously taught at the University of Exeter, the University of California, the University of Connecticut and at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He has published extensively on Chaucer including most recently Reading Chaucer (Oxford and Bern: Peter Lang), and Geoffrey Chaucer for Oxford University Press (World’s Classics). Current projects include a study of the text and context of the imperfect version of Thomas Hoccleve’s Male Regle in Canterbury Cathedral Archives, a survey of literary practice in and around Canterbury during the years 1348 to 1420, and an account of Chaucer’s travels for the courts of Edward III and Richard II.
The full programme of the ‘Festival of English’ is available at the website of The School of English.