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Adam Dant’s Map Of Chaucer’s London

June 26, 2022
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for The Gentle Author’s Tour of Spitalfields next Thursday 30th June and throughout July



It is my pleasure to introduce Adam Dant’s map of Chaucer’s London – click on the map to enlarge it and explore further


I often think of Geoffrey Chaucer. I think of when he lived above the gatehouse at Aldgate. I think of how he witnessed bell-founding to the east of the City. I think of how he observed the hordes of the ‘peasants’ revolt’ stream the through the gate into the City of London. I think of how he was forced to listen to his noisy neighbours who imposed themselves upon him and, as a consequence, he wrote the first portraits of East Enders in our literature. I think of how he dreamed of being an astronaut, propelled up into the atmosphere to look down upon the earth below. I think of how he struggled with the unruly polar bear under his charge when Master of Armaments at the Tower of London. I think of him as Comptroller at the Custom House and how he would have laughed at the idea of it becoming a boutique hotel. I think of him at the Savoy, strutting in his scarlet paltocks and striped hose in the days before they had a cocktail bar. I think of his recurring dream, waking in a magical garden where he encountered ecstatic visions. I think of him in Navarre, where me met Islamic and Jewish poets, and how he became the first to introduce their literary forms into the English language. I think about the design of his little woollen hat. Every year, I think of him in April when I get the urge to go a pilgrimage. But most of all I think of him writing so many stories, day after day, in his ambitious attempt to create cycles of tales to rival Boccaccio and the Arabian Nights.


Adam Dant’s woodcut of The Reeve, after the cut in Caxton’s edition of Chaucer’s Works



Adam Dant’s Map of Chaucer’s London was commissioned by The Critic, Adam Dant’s Political Maps is published by Batsford on 30th June, and prints of his maps are available from TAG Fine Arts.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. June 26, 2022

    I always enjoy exploring another of Adam Dant’s masterful maps. I fantasize about looking over his shoulder (shhhhh! I won’t make a sound. Promise!) as he begins to plot one of his intricate
    layouts. Just a “normal” map would be a challenge — but his versions include personages, blocks of text, and his unique graphic cartouches. Yikes. How does he do it?
    A couple years ago, I did not have “a Salinger year” as they say these days……..but, instead, I had a Chaucer year. I did mixed media portraits of the various travelers, and the old wizard himself.
    (dare I say, my version of Chaucer featured a “little woolen hat”) I worked on the project for
    several months, and happily found an exhibition venue for the series. Voila!

  2. Ros permalink
    June 26, 2022

    It makes me hope there is a heaven, where both Adam Dant and you, dear gentle author, can meet Geoffrey Chaucer for whom you have such affection. He would surely reciprocate it. Where can one buy the map itself, or a teatowel?

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