THE AIM OF THIS ARTICLE is to explore some of the biographical, material and ideological intersections between two of the most important cultural productions of late 14th-century England. The first is a monument in its landscape, the castle of Bodiam in East Sussex, and the second is a text, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. My analysis will begin with traditional biography: the historical exploration of links and intersections between the lives and experiences of the ‘builder’ and owner of Bodiam, Sir Edward Dallingridge, and those of Geoffrey Chaucer. It will move on to a more theoretically informed engagement with the meanings and values that lie, I argue, behind both text and monument — the way they converge as ideological constructions. I excavate the anxieties, tensions, gaps, silences and contradictions that lie below the surface of the formal, normative values they apparently proclaim so stridently. Ultimately, I argue that both text and monument are deeply implicated in different registers, levels and scales of violence.
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