In Chaucer's Dead Body, Thomas Prendergast looks at the material
reasons behind Chaucer's transformation into a touchstone for the
whole of the Anglophone Middle Ages. This book weaves an intricate
argument about the ways that the body, death, and representation
come together in the recuperation and reception of Chaucer over the
centuries, and proposes a deeply compelling logic that links
memorialization and canon formation. Making a persuasive and
intriguing case that the status of Chaucer's physical body is an
index of the status of Chaucer's work, and furthermore that there
continues to be a link between corpse and corpus in all of our
assertions of positive and negative literary values from Chaucer's
time on, Prendergast organizes his study of Chaucer's literary
legacy around Chaucer's tomb - around the history of attempts to
restore it, to determine its authenticity, and to establish its
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