Poetry & Philosophy

Language Redeemed: Chaucer’s Mature Poetry
by David Williams
Sapientia Press, 2007
(121 pages, $18.95, paperback)

reviewed by Kathleen Curran Sweeney

At the time Geoffrey Chaucer was writing his poetry, the philosophy known as nominalism was stirring up widespread debate since it challenged the realist philosophy developed by Thomas Aquinas based on Aristotelian metaphysics. David Williams, emeritus professor of English literature at McGill University and currently at Ave Maria University, has written a fascinating study of how Chaucer incorporates this debate into his later poems, Troilus and Crisedye and The Canterbury Tales.

Chaucer was born in 1342 during the final years of nominalism’s originator, the Franciscan friar William of Ockham (c.1287–1347). Ockham had concluded . . .

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