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The Familiar EnemyChaucer, Language, and Nation in the Hundred Years War$
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Ardis Butterfield

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574865

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574865.001.0001

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Pre‐nation and Post‐nation

Pre‐nation and Post‐nation

(p.3) 1 Pre‐nation and Post‐nation
The Familiar Enemy

Ardis Butterfield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The introductory chapter sets out the double perspective of the book through the eyes of two Jersey writers, Wace and Victor Hugo. It then considers the role Chaucer has played as ‘father’ to English and Englishness, and argues that decoupling Chaucer from ‘English’ may help us to grasp both Chaucer and Englishness more clearly. Two further threads, on ‘England's vernaculars’ and the constant presence of war, are unwound to give context to the wide range of English and French writings that are discussed throughout the book as a whole. The conclusion asks where the medieval belongs in a construction of nation as modern, and suggests that there might be much to connect current ‘post‐national’ anxieties about ideologies of nation and the ‘pre‐national’ Middle Ages.

Keywords:   Wace, Victor Hugo, vernacular, nation, national ideologies, Englishness, Chaucer, war

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