The Politics of Canon: Christine de Pizan and the Fifteenth-Century Chaucerians
Although the French poet Christine de Pizan never set foot on English soil, her works were continually translated into English throughout the fifteenth century, often by the same writers who promoted Chaucer as the preeminent English poet. The work of creating Chaucer as a canonical poet intersects with translations of Christine's works in three patronage networks: early in the century, in the Oxford circle of the future Henry V; at mid-century, in the provincial household of Sir John Fastolf; and finally in the patronage network that included England's first printer, William Caxton, at the century's end. The translations of these affinities form the nucleus of this essay, which joins theoretical speculation about literary canons with critiques of authorship, describing a complex nexus of connections between canon and politics, nationalism and patronage, French and English vernaculars, and literary authorship and gender that unpacks some of the ways in which literary canons, conceived as dynamic systems rather than static monuments, are formed and reformed.
Finke, Laurie A., "The Politics of Canon: Christine de Pizan and the Fifteenth-Century Chaucerians" (2007). Exemplaria 19. Faculty Publications. Paper 9.