Posted on June 11, 2019 at 11:01 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

A century and a half ago, a document that seemed to accuse Canterbury Tales author Geoffrey Chaucer of rape emerged.

Now, a professor of medieval English literature has found another document that may dispel the myth that Chaucer ever faced that charge.

The first document mentions that Chaucer commited “raptus” in 1380; the new paper, uncovered by Sebastian Sobecki, indicates that Chaucer was the guardian of a young man until 1382.

What’s the connection? Sobecki explained to the Guardian that in legal documents, the term “raptus” — when used around a guardianship — almost always referred to an abduction, not a sexual assault.

If medieval linguistic and legal parsing is your thing, definitely read the full piece in the Guardian.

If that's a bit more than you care to digest, we'll leave you with the less scandalous fun fact about the discovery: It's the first new record of Chaucer’s life found in over twenty years. (Can you believe we're still finding 14th-century documents?)

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: History, Poetry, The Guardian

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