Loneliness and Solitude in Chaucer
Although Chaucer’s works are often marked by a spirit of conviviality and community, there are many moments in his texts where Chaucer the narrator, the pilgrims, or the figures in his dream visions find themselves alone. For this session, we would like to see papers that parse what it means to be alone or lonely in Chaucer’s works. Considering many of us as medievalists work alone, thinking about solitude and loneliness in the works of a poet who is not frequently considered outside the frame of “Social Chaucer” can help to tie our modern identities as medievalists to moments where community in Chaucer breaks down or is simply nonexistent. Finally, this session offers space to think through how moments of loneliness or of solitude reflect Chaucer’s exploration of the nature of emotions, the foundations of sexualities and/or gender, and the dimensions of poetic making, as collaboration or solo activity.