Portions of this book have appeared, in different versions, in the following journals or books: "Rewriting Woman Good: Gender and the Anxiety of Influence in Two Late-Medieval Texts," in Chaucer in the Eighties, ed. Julian Wasserman and Robert J. Blanch (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1986), and in Medieval Literary Politics (see below); "The Logic of Obscenity in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women," Florilegium 7 (1987): 189–205; "Geoffrey of Monmouth and Chaucer's Legend of Good Women," Chaucer Review 22 (1988): 170–74; "The Naked Text: Chaucer's 'Thisbe', the Ovide moralisé , and the Problem of translatio studii in the Legend of Good Women ," Mediaevalia 13 (1989 for 1987): 275–94; "Women, Nature and Language: Chaucer's Legend of Good Women," in S. Delany, Medieval Literary Politics: Shapes of Ideology (Manchester: Manchester University Press/New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990); "Orientalism," in the inaugural issue of Chaucer Yearbook (1992): 1–32. Some of the material has also been presented at conferences: Chaucer at Albany II (1982), the New Chaucer Society Biennial Congress (1984, 1986, and 1992), the Philological Association of the Pacific Coast (1984), and the Binghamton Medieval Conference (1986).
The last phase of research and writing was helped by two release-time stipends from Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) during the academic years 1987–88 and 1989–90, and by a President's Research Grant from Simon Fraser University, which enabled me to consult manuscripts and early printed material at the British Library and Cambridge University in 1989. I have much appreciated the energetic efficiency of my research assistants Barry Maxwell, Arlene Cook, and Barry Reid at the beginning and end phases of the work, the always reliable help of Anita Mahoney and other staff in the Dean of Arts office at SFU in producing the manuscript, and the tireless, good-natured assistance of the Interlibrary Loans and other library staff at SFU.
Among my SFU colleagues I want to thank Margret Jackson and Paul Dutton for help in clarifying points of Latin. Tom Grieve called my attention to the relevance of Ezra Pound; Harvey deRoo made available at crucial moments his intimate knowledge of DOS. Further afield, I am grateful to David Aers of the University of East Anglia, whose warm encouragement over the years has meant a lot to me. He and Tom Hahn of Rochester made me more aware of the general importance of Lollardy; Felicity Riddy at the University of York brought the irrepressible John Hardyng to my attention. Martial Rose of Dereham, East Anglia, enabled me to really see the roof bosses at Norwich Cathedral in an unforgettable clerestory tour; he directed me also to Julia Hedgecoe, whose photograph of one of the bosses graces the cover of this book. Tom Hahn, Laura Kendrick, and Charlie Blyth deserve special thanks for their willingness to comment on the manuscript at an early stage. Karma Lochrie's interest in my observations on Chaucerian Orientalism stimulated me to develop them into the present form, while my discussion of the balade has benefited from the input of audiences that have heard it as it evolved, in talks at York (England), Liège, Utrecht, Claremont (California), Ottawa, and New York. Juris Lidaka and Mary Jo Arn provided information on the "Suffolk" poems. I am indebted to Al Shoaf and John Ganim for their meticulously learned, helpful, and generous readings for the University of California Press. Throughout the process of writing, I have been constantly aware of my debt to more distant laborers in the same or allied fields, whose work is acknowledged in my notes.
Translations from Latin, Old French, and Middle English are mine unless otherwise noted, and Middle English yogh and thorn have been modernized. Chaucer quotations are from The Riverside Chaucer , ed. Larry D. Benson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987).