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The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare


  • 18 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 304 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.424 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521037389)

What was the impact of the Norman Conquest on the culture of medieval and early modern England? Deanne Williams answers this question by contending that not only French language and literature, but the idea of Frenchness itself, produced England's literary and cultural identity. Examining a variety of English representations of, and responses to, France and 'the French' in the work of Chaucer, Caxton, Skelton, Shakespeare and others, this book shows how English literature emerged out of a simultaneous engagement with, and resistance to, the pervasive presence of French language and culture in England that was the legacy of the Norman Conquest. Drawing upon theories of gender and postcoloniality, this book revises traditional notions of English literary history by inserting France as a primary element in English self-fashioning, from Chaucer's Prioress to Shakespeare's Henry V.

• Considers cultural legacy of the Norman Conquest • Regards signification of French and 'Frenchness' in England, rather than regarding it simply as a literary and cultural source • Offers fresh readings of canonical texts by Chaucer, Shakespeare and of the early history of print in England


List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction. Barbarous intimations; 1. Pardon my French; 2. Sympathy for the devil; 3. My fair lady; 4. A fine romance; 5. Roan Barbary; Conclusion. No man's Elizabeth; Notes; Index.

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