Marion Turner on The Wife of Bath

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16 February 2023 at 12:00 am
16 February 2023 at 11:00 pm

Marion Turner is professor of English literature at the University of Oxford, whose books include the prize-winning biography Chaucer: A European Life.

Now the award-winning biographer of Chaucer turns her eye to the story of his most popular and scandalous character, and the effect she has had on society from the Middle Ages to #MeToo.

Ever since her triumphant debut in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath, arguably the first ordinary and recognisably real woman in English literature, has obsessed readers-from Shakespeare to James Joyce, Voltaire to Pasolini, Dryden to Zadie Smith. Few literary characters have led such colourful lives or matched her influence or capacity for reinvention in poetry, drama, fiction, and film. In The Wife of Bath, Marion Turner tells the fascinating story of where Chaucer’s favourite character came from, how she related to real medieval women, and where her many travels have taken her since the fourteenth century, from Falstaff and Molly Bloom to #MeToo and Black Lives Matter.