Ballads to Blake

Betsy Bowden

By focusing on one literary character, as interpreted in both verbal art and visual art at a point midway in time between the author’s era and our own, this study applies methodology appropriate for overcoming limitations posed by historical periodization and by isolation among academic specialities. Current trends in Chaucer scholarship call for diachronic afterlife studies like this one, sometimes termed “medievalism.” So far, however, nearly all such work by-passes the eighteenth century (here designated 1660-1810). Furthermore, medieval authors’ afterlives during any time period have not been analyzed by way of the multiple fields of specialization integrated into this study. The Wife of Bath is regarded through the disciplinary lenses of eighteenth-century literature, visual art, print marketing, education, folklore, music, equitation, and especially theater both in London and on the Continent.

The Wife of Bath in Afterlife