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Brewer 1978: i, 91) Chaucer’s reputation for learning made him an attractive figure to Reformation propagandists. For Protestants, Chaucer’s reputation for wisdom indicated that he could see beyond the prejudices of his own age to anticipate a time when England would be free of the excesses of Romish superstition. John Foxe, anxious to appropriate Chaucer’s reputation for wisdom to his own purposes, praised him in his 1570 Ecclesiasticall history contaynyng the Actes and Monumentes of thynges passed in euery Kynges tyme in this Realme as author of the Jack Upland (a Lollard attack on corrupt friars), and therefore a protoProtestant sympathizer.

Windeatt, Barry (1979) ‘The scribes as Chaucer’s early critics’, Studies in the Age of Chaucer 1, 119–41. A study of fifteenth-century reception of Chaucer’s work by reading scribal variation and alteration as products of understanding and criticism rather than as marks of confusion and error. 2 Authority Andrew Galloway In one form or another, notions of authority and Chaucer’s demonstrations of negotiations with it can hardly be avoided in criticism from the mid-1980s through to the early 1990s, and are only somewhat less pervasive thereafter.

These issues shape nearly every critical discussion of Chaucer launched in this period, from the gender implications of Chaucer’s textual hermeneutics (Dinshaw 1989), to the situating of his notions of subjectivity in his negotiations with courtly and civic pressures and opportunities (Patterson 1991), to his characters’ disillusioned negotiations with ‘institutions’, understood as any traditional or official discourse (Leicester 1990), to the social and ideological contexts of his dialectic between ‘factional’ and ‘hierarchical’ social visions (Strohm 1989; cf.

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