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Geoffrey Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe


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Mead, J (2006) Geoffrey Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe. Literature Compass, 3 (5). pp. 973-991. ISSN 1741-4113

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Geoffrey Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe has occasioned varied responses from readers and scholars. John Lydgate's reference, in the Fall of Princes, identified what became the critical terms for reading Chaucer's translation of an instruction manual for using an astrolabe addressed to his "sone" Lowys. Astrolabe survives in more manuscripts than any other Chaucer text with the exception of The Canterbury Tales; the Variorum edition of the text was published in 2002 and in the last five years critical attention has increasingly refocused on the text. Scholars have considered patterns of readership from extant manuscripts and details, such as the subheading "Brede and Milke for Children," have reshaped critical analyses. Astrolabe's language and pedagogical strategies have also been reconceptualized in recent readings. The nature of "science" in the late fourteenth century has always been part of Astrolabe's critical frame but the cultural valency of astrology has moved into sharper focus producing a more sophisticated analysis of the vernacular context of Chaucer's only scientific prose text.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Mead, J
Keywords: prose, culture , science, astrology, astronomy, texts, scientific and medicinal prose, translation
Journal or Publication Title: Literature Compass
Page Range: pp. 973-991
ISSN: 1741-4113
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2006.00368.x
Additional Information:

The definitive version is available at

Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:22
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