Keynote: Chaucerian Voice in Modern and Contemporary Historical Fiction

Professor Stephanie Trigg will deliver a keynote address on Friday 3rd.

'Chaucerian Voice in Modern and Contemporary Historical Fiction: From Anya Seton to Chaucer’s Twitter Feed'



The world of Chaucerian fiction is a very expansive one. Chaucer sets the model for this expansiveness with his framed narrative collection, The Canterbury Tales, with its unfinished tales, its interrupted narratives and its radically truncated conclusion. Almost as soon as Chaucer died in 1400 his followers began writing more tales and narrative imitations, and this pattern has continued for over six hundred years. This paper examines a range of modern examples for the different ways they represent Chaucerian voice and character. It will range from the much-loved and very influential biography of Chaucer’s sister-in-law, Katherine Swynford, in Anya Seton’s Katherine (1954) through to two novels from Bruce Holsinger, A Burnable Book (2014) and The Invention of Fire (2015). It will also move beyond the genre of the novel to consider the work of Brantley Bryant, who blogged as Geoffrey Chacuer from 2006 – 2009 and currently maintains a very active Twitter feed, Chaucer Doth Tweet (@LeVostreGC). This paper will attempt to untangle some of the complexities that bind the history of Chaucerian reception with that of medievalist invention.


Stephanie Trigg is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Melbourne. She holds an Honours Degree and a PhD in English from the Department of English at the University of Melbourne and a B.Litt. degree in Philosophy and Social Theory from Melbourne. Stephanie is currently one of ten Chief Investigators and one of four Program Leaders in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (UWA). She leads the Melbourne node of the Centre. 

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