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Who Murdered Chaucer?


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About the Author

Educated at Oxford, Terry Jones worked in theatre, wrote revues and scripts for the BBC before becoming one of the creators of Monty Python. He has written many books, including 'Who Murdered Chaucer?' (Methuen), 'Chaucer's Knight' (Methuen), 'Crusades', 'Medieval Lives' and 'Barbarians', and children's books such as 'The Knight and the Squire'. He lives in London.


Claiming that this work is more a "wasitdunnatall" than a whodunnit, former Monty Python member Jones and his coauthors (all professors specializing in medieval English literature) offer a well-researched argument that Chaucer may not have died peacefully. While Chaucer thrived during the reign of Richard II, who was a patron of the arts and tolerant of religious dissent, the authors suggest that under Henry IV, who usurped the throne from Richard, Chaucer became a marked man. Thomas Arundel, the tyrannical Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry IV, is considered the main suspect in Chaucer's possible murder. The authors use works by Chaucer and his contemporaries to substantiate many intriguing hypotheses. Although this work succeeds in planting a seed of doubt about the circumstances surrounding Chaucer's demise, the evidence produced is not overwhelmingly convincing. Recommended with reservations for academic and larger public libraries.-Erica Swenson Danowitz, American Univ. Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

*"This is a refreshing and engaging book that despite its controversial conclusions manages to restore the life and spirit of the period." Peter Ackroyd, The Times* "Fascinating, highly readable and authoritative." The Scotsman* "Remarkable...a miraculous blend of history and literary reappraisal that is both light-hearted and entertaining." Good Book Guide* "A meaty, hugely enjoyable read... Let's hope that it will stimulate many readers to revisit Chaucer's writings, read about the background, and make up their own minds." Independent*

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