The Wife of Bath in Afterlife: Ballads to Blake

The Wife of Bath in Afterlife: Ballads to Blake

by Betsy Bowden


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By focusing on one literary character, as interpreted in both verbal art and visual art at a point midway in time between the author’s era and our own, this study applies methodology appropriate for overcoming limitations posed by historical periodization and by isolation among academic specialities. Current trends in Chaucer scholarship call for diachronic afterlife studies like this one, sometimes termed “medievalism.” So far, however, nearly all such work by-passes the eighteenth century (here designated 1660-1810). Furthermore, medieval authors’ afterlives during any time period have not been analyzed by way of the multiple fields of specialization integrated into this study. The Wife of Bath is regarded through the disciplinary lenses of eighteenth-century literature, visual art, print marketing, education, folklore, music, equitation, and especially theater both in London and on the Continent.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611462432
Publisher: Lehigh University Press
Publication date: 10/25/2017
Series: Studies in Text & Print Culture Series
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.21(w) x 9.38(h) x 1.19(d)

About the Author

Betsy Bowden is professor emerita of English at Rutgers University.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
List of Illustrations
Introduction. Overview: The Wife of Bath Midway in Time between Chaucer and
Chapter 1: Ballads: Versions and Variants of The Wanton Wife of Bath (ca. 1600-ca.
Chapter 2: Scholarship: The Wife of Bath in Editions and Anthologies (1598-1778)
Chapter 3: Commentary: Quasi-Pedagogical Musings on the Wife of Bath, by Richard Brathwait (1665)
Chapter 4: Modernizations: The Wife of Bath Paraphrased by Three Poets (1700-1750)
Chapter 5: Plays: The Wife of Bath by John Gay (1713, Revised 1730)
Chapter 6: Plays: The Wife in the Wings of Two Comedies, by Elizabeth Cooper (1735) and David Garrick (1773)
Chapter 7: Translations: Le Conte de la Femme de Bath Paraphrased by Voltaire (1763) and Others on the Continent
Chapter 8: Book Illustrations: The Wife Alone on Horseback, by an Artist Otherwise Unknown (1721)
Chapter 9: Picture Series: The Wife Alone on Foot, by James Jefferys (1781)
Chapter 10: Book Illustrations: Scenes from the Wife of Bath’s Tale, by Four Artists (1751-1806)
Chapter 11: Paintings: The Wife of Bath’s Tale by Henry Fuseli (ca. 1810), and a
Chaucerian Subject by Angelica Kauffman (ca. 1772)
Chapter 12: Book Illustrations: The Wife among Pilgrims Riding toward Canterbury, by
Three Artists (1721-1795)
Chapter 13: Book Illustrations, then a Painting: Chaucer Himself Succumbing to the
Wife’s Chatty Charm, by Thomas Stothard (1782-1806)
Chapter 14: Audiovisual Oneness: The Wife of Bath by William Blake (1809)
Conclusion: Undertones: The Wife of Bath neither Over nor Out
Appendices, prepared by Mary-Jo Arn
Appendix A. Three Variants of The Wanton Wife of Bath
Appendix A1: Shorter Variant
Appendix A2: Longer Variant
Appendix A3: Dutch Text and Translation of Shorter Variant
Appendix B. Two French Translations of Dryden’s Wife of Bath Her Tale
Appendix B1: Anonymous Translation of 1757
Appendix B2: Anonymous Translation of 1764
Works Cited by Short Title
I. Primary Works by Individuals
II. Commentary and Contexts
III. Anthologies and Reference Works
About the Author

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