This book has tried to explore some of the ways in which social antagonism was articulated and addressed in Geoffrey Chaucer's textual environment. It appears that producers of texts in late 14th-century London were profoundly concerned with problems of civic dissent and social division. The explosiveness of the climate in which Chaucer lived and wrote is dramatically exemplified in the example of John Constantyn, a cordwainer in the city of London whose hard fate bears witness to the heightened atmosphere of anxiety about rebellion, gossip, and faction in the 1380s. Chaucer's writings suggest that discursive turbulence cannot be tamed, that voices of aggression and dissent will make themselves heard, that societies will repeat the self-destructive behaviour of their predecessors, that people will betray each other, and that social groups will always fragment.
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