Marion Turner: The Wife of Bath (1397)

It is difficult to hear the stories of medieval women, but one voice rings down the ages, clear as a bell. Alison, the Wife of Bath, is Geoffrey Chaucer’s most famous creation: irrepressible, hilarious, insightful. She is the star of The Canterbury Tales with her outrageous stories and touching honesty. An inspiration for a huge range of writers – from William Shakespeare to Margaret Atwood and Zadie Smith – she is the sparkling subject at the heart of Marion Turner’s new book, The Wife of Bath: A Biography. In this episode Turner takes us back to 1397. We visit Chaucer’s world in London and Oxfordshire. We hear the extraordinary story of John of Gaunt and his beloved mistress Katherine Swynford. Along the way we meet some real-life Alisons. These were women who ran businesses, travelled extensively, and lived independently, including one who was mayoress of London, not once, but twice. Marion Turner is the J.R.R. Tolkien Professor of English Literature and Language at the University of Oxford, where she is a Professorial Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall. Her books include the prize-winning biography Chaucer: A European Life. For more, as ever, visit our website: Show notes Scene One: January 1397. The English Parliament and the legitimatisation of John of Gaunt's children with Katherine Swynford. Scene Two: End of 1397. Chaucer has been gifted a new grant of a yearly ton of wine from the King. Scene Three: Summer. Margaret Stodeye heads off to St Paul's Cathedral to declare a vow of chastity. Memento: Chaucer's handwritten draft of the Canterbury Tales. People/Social Presenter: Violet Moller Guest: Marion Turner Production: Maria Nolan Podcast partner: Ace Cultural Tours Theme music: ‘Love Token’ from the album ‘This Is Us’ By Slava and Leonard Grigoryan Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_ Or on Facebook See where 1397 fits on our Timeline  

Om Podcasten

In each episode we ask a leading historian, novelist or public figure the tantalising question, "If you could travel back through time, which year would you visit?" Once they have made their choice, then they guide us through that year in three telling scenes. We have visited Pompeii in 79AD, Jerusalem in 1187, the Tower of London in 1483, Colonial America in 1776, 10 Downing Street in 1940 and the Moon in 1969. Chosen as one of the Evening Standard's Best History Podcasts of 2020. Presented weekly by Sunday Times bestselling writer Peter Moore, award-winning historian Violet Moller and Artemis Irvine.