The Arc Blog and Podcasts

Happy St. Valentine’s Day with a Q&A with Chaucer, LVGC

Again this year we, Medieval Institute Publications, and Middle English Text Series in Rochester are joining forces to countdown to LGVC’s wonderful #WhanThatAprilleDay celebration! To begin our countdown and a Valentine to all our readers, we bring our interview with LGVC himself!

Are there any specific rewritings of your works you would recommend?
Patience Agbabi’s Telling Tales ys a brilliant, sharp, exuberant remix of my Tales of Caunterburye. Thys booke of poemes doth go tale for tale, genre for genre. Agbabi’s verse doth honor my werke and yet steppe biyond yt ynto newe places and tymes. As Ich am tryinge to do wyth my (unfinisshed, ARGH!) tales, Telling Tales doth capture everich mood from raunchinesse to anger to love to hearte-breake and biyond. Agbabi’s Telling Tales ys pure amazingenesse and sholde be yn everiche course ytaught. And ther are manye othir wondirful riffs and adaptaciouns of my Tales, swich as the booke of Kim Zarins yclept Sometimes We Tell The Truth, the which ys a YA novel yn which the Caunterbury pilgrims are nowe studentes on a scole trippe.

As you know, METS was founded by Russell Peck, a devotee of your famous frenemy, John Gower. Last year, Valentine’s Day sparked a war between “Team Chaucer” and “Team Gower.” What would you say to rally your troops?
Doth eny oon reallye enjoye the poesye of Gower? Hys octosyllabiques are lyke a nurserye rhyme recited yn a slow-movinge car on a road full of potte-holes: both boringe and bumpye. Eny thinge ye kan ymagine that ys fun, ynterestinge, engaginge, cool: the poetry of Gower doth flee from thos thinges. Gower ys lyke the opposite of Hamilton. Gower gave the ordir to cancel Fyreflye. Gower ys responsible for everye disappointinge album made by an otherwyse good bande. Gower ys the literarye equivalent of goinge to the refrigerator aftir getting home and ye are hungrye but the onlye thinge yn the refrigerator ys ketchup packets and questionable cheese. Gower ys the Batman of being tedious. Ich do dare Gower supporteres to come up wyth sum manner of social media stunt to defend their belovid Gower on Whan That Aprille Daye; that ys, yf thei trewelye enjoye hys writinges. (All respect to the yncredible and admirable Russell Peck, but Ich must speke the trouthe concerninge Gower or elles falsen som of my mateer.)

Finish this statement (because you never finish anything): If I were to write a poem about Valentine’s Day today, it would feature…
…a duck who ys loneli and doth lyve in a solitarye duck hermitage. He hath a powerful duck sword but he dareth nat take yt from the stone monolith yn which yt hath been placid. The duck thinketh alwayes upon hys lost love. Oon daye, a raven doth come to the duck and saye… [fragment endeth]

If you had to pick, which METS edition would you say is your favorite?
The METS edicioun of the Guyde to the Galaxye For Hitch-Hikeres Ywrit ys my favourite. Nat onlye ys thys earlye thirteenth centurye storye of Arthur de Dent and hys friend Oxenford Prefect a wondirful tale of journeyinge and mirthe, but the METS texte doth restore several sequences lost yn the EETS edicioun. To yive an ensaumple, yn the original EETS edicioun the cavils of the editours dyd leade to the omissioun of several keye verses from the sequence yn which the Engine of Endless Impossibilitye ys described, the which are yncluded by the METS edicioun. And eke the METS edicioun doth ynclude al of the poesye of the Vosgons yn both the original Vosgon and yn the thirteenth centurye Englisshe translacioun. Trewelye, thys shal be the standard edicioun of the Guyde to the Galaxye For Hitch-Hikeres Ywrit for yeares to come and shal leade manye a student to thys belovid and classique otherworlde journey text that ynspired Dante. Thankes to METS, manye a reader shal learne the good sentence of ‘Panique nat.’

You’ve been tweeting frequently about current events and you’ve mentioned HEART a few times. Could you explain what HEART means and why it’s as important as STEM?
STEM ys a wondirful coinage and a worde of great powir. Yt doth combyne a chorus of relatid approaches and fieldes ynto an easilye-wieldable phrase. We neede swich a worde of great powir for the arts of language and societye as well. Ich have tried to use the litel terme HEART: Humanityes, Ethiques, Artes, Rhetorique, and Teachinge. Lyke STEM, thes technologies are vital for the yeares to come, vital for the planet, vital for ower lyves and societye. Ynnovacioun kan, sholde, and must come from these technologyes of HEART that kan fynde bettir and more capacious wayes of livinge, communicatinge, creating, ymagininge, and beinge togethir.

Given the “crisis in the humanities,” and current threats to its national funding, what can we do to keep these vital projects alive and support HEART? On social media and in action?
Showe love. Be proude. Be loud. Yt nys nat onlye the solitarye werke of the scoler yn the archive, nor the excellent laurels of revered organizaciouns, nor the golden reviewe of an acclaimed booke — thogh al thes thinges be ful honorable and sustayninge and necessarye, yt ys the shewinge of love yn practice, yn teachinge, and yn readinge, and yn sharinge ower werke wyth the worlde, that doth moost clearlye and loudlye proclayme the ymportance of the beate of HEART. Be nat humble. Be nat quiet. Get out ther and showe how ymportant the werke that ye do kan be.

By Chaucer Doth Tweet

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#WhanThatAprilleDay17
#METSaprille – Our countdown to April 1st!