Interviewe wyth Margarethe Atte-Woode

Interviewe wyth Margarethe Atte-Woode

O Goddess Synchronicitee, wyse indeed were the Polyce to make an album in thy honor, for lo! the werkinges of the world do oft contain the unusual and fortunate pairinges of eventes that are under thy dominacioun. For no sooner did Ich begin to thynke agayne on my tales of Caunterburye, than Ich did heare that the grete Auctor Madame Margarethe Atte-Woode hath a blog. Ich did emayle unto her -- and sche respondid!

Ich am alwey emaylinge grete auctores for to tryen to make interviewes (even thogh my first interviewe did nat go so wel). Ywis, rarely do thes grete auctores make response unto myn emayles. And rightly so, for thei aren busy folk and Ich nam nat but a symple man of offyces wyth litel writinges and a rathir shabby woolen hatte. But nat so was the case wyth Madame Atte-Woode. Wyth grete gentilesse, she did consent to be interviewede through emayle on my blog.

Ich was a litel confusid, for nevir have Ich actuallye interviewede a grete auctor, save for the tyme that Ich did talk to Franceys Petrark, and Ich totallye blewe it (“So, what ys thys ‘sonnet’ thynge, enyway?”). But Ich did trye my beste, and as my modir alwey seyde whanne Ich was yonge and Ich wolde lose at break-dauncinge competitions, yt ys the tryinge that counteth.


MARGARATHE ATTE-WOOD nedeth no introduccioun, for her bookes and writinges are avaylable yn all the scriptoriums and scriveneres shoppes yn the globe of the erthe. She hath creatid many examples of sum maner of writinge ycleped a “novel,” the which word soundeth faintyle Italyen to me. Among these newe “noveles” are The Hand-Maydes Tale, The Forblent Assassyn, Orikes & Crayk, and The Penelopiad. Her werkes of nonficcioun number among them Negotiatynge with The Dede and Payebacke: Debt and the Shadewe-Syde of Wele. Her moost fresshe and recent booke ys the Yeere of the Flood, the which returneth to the tales of Orikes & Crayk, and eek she hath both a blog and a feed on twittre.

GC: Oftymes my freendes do mocke me for the studye of oolde bookes, for that Ich am alwey poringe over Macrobius or the tales of Ovide or sum swich thynge. What thinke ye of oold bookes? What good have they yn this tikel worlde, the which chaungeth into newe and shinye thinges with each passinge daye?

MA: The oold storyes are the keyes to Dreame-land. Scratch a newe and shinye thing, and ye will fynde an oold and shinye thing lurking beneath.

GC: Ye maye wisshe to telle the rederes of thys blog of the magical beastes of the far lande of Canade. Ich have reade of swich thinges in the Travels of John Mandeville. Are the legendes trewelye to be believed?

MA: Yes, Mayster Chaucer, the tales ye heare are trewe (thogh I feare nat to be found in Mandeville). To wit, the Beaver, much hunted for his scent, which biteth off its owne Stones and casteth them behind yt to distract its pursuers — and in such maner often do ower owne Politicians behave. Yet other straunge beastes abound: the Ice-wormes, that heate themselves up to drill holes; and the Wendigos, that flyen hungrily and with sharp teeth and claws over the snowe with feet a-flayme, and devoure men, which some do name as Tax Collectors. And many more straunge and curious creatures abounde.

GC: What maner of writinge ys moost beneficial for the worlde?

MA: That ys beyond my power to saye. Manye bookes have done great harm, but those are of the political-tract kynde. Howevir, those works of invencion and poetrye that containe both laughter and instruccion will more prevail.

GC: What thinke ye ys the best conclusioun to ower longe warre wyth Fraunce?

MA: The best warre is no warre. Grete powers that pursue long and costlye warres waste their own substaunce, increase the substaunce of those from whom thei borrowe, and weaken their positions in relacion to their enemyes. But I predict that Engelonde will nat againe be invaded and conquered by Fraunce, as yt was by William. And a grete but muddye victory for Engelonde lieth in the future, at Agincourt, when - you may scarce credit it – longbowmen wythouten pants, all nakid to the breezes, will much affright the French nobilitee. Yet howevir much this maner of fightinge would plese one of yower humour, this victorie in the end (as it were) will profit Engelonde but litel.

GC: Yif ye koude yive sum advyce and conseil unto the Wyf of Bathe, what wolde ye telle her?

MA: Ich thinke she ys doinge quite wel on her own, and koud probablie teach me a trick or two! Natheless, schee might wisshe to do somethynge about the gap teeth. In future schee could get holp wyth thatte.

GC: Ich do notyce that yower verye well-renowned history of “Felices Clausulae” (or, Happye Endinges) hath no “G.” My wyf Philippa hath putte me up to thys: wolde it plese ye to considere writinge a shorte Happy Ending for G-eoffreye Chaucer?

MA: As the Happy Endinges always conclude wyth Death, my Happy Endinge for yow, deare Geoffreye, would include a long and well-loved Afterlife, both for yowerself and yower writinges — and that Ich believe Ich can assure yow. See, for instance, my litel tretys, Negotiatinge with the Dead, in which ye are quoted to much good effect!

GC: As a newe writer, Ich fynde it a thynge of muchel care and wo to putte wordes on to the payge. Mesemeth Ich have been at werke on my litel Tales of Caunterburye projecte for evir, and yet ther ys but litel texte for al of my biswinkful workinge. Have ye eny advyce for me and for othir beginninge makeres of ficcion and poesie?

MA: Ich kan predict that ye will fynde many publisshers in yeeres to come. Be pacient, and persevere! For the craft is so long to learn. But eventually, like yower Troilus, ye will look down in spirit on all who tryed to suppress yow, and laugh yower heade off.

GC: Nowe Ich am goynge to seye a fewe wordes, and yf it plese ye, ye maye responde wyth the firste thynge that cometh yn to yower hede whanne ye heare the worde that Ich saye. (Thogh thys did nat go too welle wyth Ms. Launcecrona in an earlier interviewe, peraventure yower grete wisdam and gentilesse shal make for bettir resultes.)

GC:The Black Deeth?

MA: 1) Inspiracioun for The VIIth Seal. 2) And for Boccaccio. As Alice Munro hath seyde, no mattir how awful a thynge may be, “It’s all material.” 3) That which raised wages for (the remayninge) labourers. Hey, there’s always a bryghte syde! 4)Goinge to the dentist in the 1940s. 5) And, as luck wolde have it, the Great Mortalytye -- as it was trewly spoken of in yower tyme -- is one of my litel hobbyes. See Payeback, Chapter V.

GC: Chivalrie?

MA: Code of honour seldom followed, except in literature, and by parfit gentil Knyghtes; OR rescuing chained-up maidens, with soft-porne illustracciouns; OR sayinge thank you when someone openeth the door for you.

GC: Alchemie?

MA: 1) My recipe for Calla Lilies, a swetemete of great delicacye. 2) What geekes did in late mediaeval tymes.

GC: Greate Authores?

MA: Chaucer.

[Rederes, Ich do assure yow, Ich did nat edit thys interviewe!]

GC: Hope?

MA: 1) That which is always at the bottom of ye Box o’Evils. 2)The sine qua non.

MA: Gracious thankys in advance, dear Magister Chaucer, for all the excellent pleasurable books yow are yet to endite. Live well and prosper!

GC: And graunt mercy to yow, deere Madame Atte-Wood, for sharinge yower thoughtes and wordes on thys litel blog.

12 Responses to "Interviewe wyth Margarethe Atte-Woode"

  1. Ful marvelous was the concepcioun
    of this blog pooste, and Margareete Atwoode
    hath got the auncient manere doun
    ful pat! Hire speche is neither broode
    nor myncinge, it is al together goode.
    Ywis, ich can nat tel when last I redde
    O thyng that to so grete enjoyment ledde.

  2. Very funny. Studied Wyf of Bath and Atwood in college, so it's a double treat to read this jam session:) Both were humorous in their own way, and the two together are greater fun than the two in parts;)

  3. Certes! Thys is the goldyn ayge of yower blogge Maister Chaucer!

    Soth to seyn, Y am endytying mine maister's tretys on yower grete werke the Parlement of Briddes, so somewhat byased am Y.

    Keepe uppe the goode werke!

  4. Benedicte! Ich have grete solaas by reding thys litel blog of jolitee and bisynesse, trewely.

    Sum seyen, Chaucere hadde a Brant Gos ycleped Bryante (branta Bernicia, gos—canard?—de japarye) with sabel hedde, wys to telle legendes. What seye yow?

  5. Hire auctoring was goode and grete.

  6. It is litel wonder Margarte Atte-Woode did maketh tyme to be interviewed for your blogge. Iche find this blogge al toghether goode!

  7. Maistre Chaucer,
    Your interviewe with Margarethe Atte-Woode doth me grete pleasaunce, though I must seyn hir darke wordes and heighe speche was to me ympenetrable, though I have hered that feminysts been ful oft ympenetrable.
    Yet I beseech thee, Maistre Chaucer, for to interview subjets more pleasing to the commoun folk and leve grete auctors lyk Margarethe Atte-Woode to noble scolars at Parys and Bologne. Par example, I wolde be plesed to read an interviewe with Carolus Sheene, player of the grete entertainment that is ycleped “IIs Viri.”
    Men seyn Carolus cometh fro the privy rubbyng whyte powdere from his lippes and nose, and afterward spekes much folie in pley and rage. Men seyn he also kepeth compaignye with depeinted wommen, lewd wommen and lecherous, who allow men to gauren on hir belles choses for a purs of gold. (Swich wommen shew why “ho” beth a feminyne pronoun, holla!). Men seyn Carolus Sheene lokkes hem in the privy of grete hostelryes whan he hath a nose full of whyte powdere. Some men seyn he pleys with lewd wommen all weeke-end and well nigh swyves his hangars off! By goddes corpus, Carolus Sheene maketh Thomas Hoccleve loke lyk Archbishop Arundel!
    Carolus also is consanguineous avec le tigre, or thus he said.
    (Me lyketh also his jolly co-star Iohannes Clamantis--the oonlie Vox Clamantis I wish to here! GTAAW!)
    Inquisityf minds want to knowe more aboute the wild lyfe of Carolus Sheene! Lat Parys Launcecrona be a Wastour—Carolus Sheene is a Wynnour! Par charitee, Maistre Chaucer, interview Carolus Sheene!
    Le vostre,

  8. Madam Att-Woode: "But I predict that Engelonde will nat againe be invaded and conquered by Fraunce, as yt was by William."

    Nay indeed, forsooth, for yt wil be againe invaded et conquered bye William, but he of the Oraunge, and hys Niederlanderen, yn MDCLXXXVIII.

  9. Mesemeth that even those honeye badgeres of grete youth and innocence reken nat an oystre, nay, nat for mikel zebra.

  10. Excellent! Two favourite writers wonderfully combined.

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