Abstract

The early modern literary canonization of Chaucer and the erection of a monument to the poet in Westminster Abbey in 1556 are symptoms of the incipient development of a national English literary canon, whose defining element is the vernacular. Contextualizing Chaucer's memoralization against the backdrop of two related phenomena—the development of print culture and post-Reformation religious conflicts—this article aims to shed new light on the complex relation between monumentalization in stone and in print, delving into the ambivalent ideological implications of Chaucer's early modern reception. As a result of this critical itinerary, Chaucer will ultimately be discused as an emblem of canonical resilience at a time when the past had become a contested territory.

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