Clothing and accessories in the middle ages functioned socially as status symbols, counted economically as portable wealth, and signified metaphorically the wearers spiritual condition. Chaucers costume descriptions suggest all of these connotations and more. This book presents the first sustained literary analysis of the meanings inherent in the costumes of Chaucers secular pilgrims, illuminating the extent of their (non)conformity in their dress to fourteenth-century occupational, socio-political, and religious norms. The author discusses the significance of individual fabrics, dyes, accessories, garments, and assembled costumes, and explains technical details and specialist vocabularies for cloth-making, clothing, accessories and armor, drawing on a wealth of contemporary evidence including wills, household inventories, wardrobe accounts, manuscript illuminations and church decoration.
LAURA F. HODGES has a doctorate from Rice University in medieval literature and an undergraduate degree in clothing and textiles from Auburn University- she has taught English literature for many years. As an independent scholar, she specialises in the semiotics of textiles and costume in literature.