The CLSG is delighted to congratulate Dr. Norm Klassen (University of Waterloo), recipient of the Association of Catholic Publisher’s 2017 Excellence in Publishing Award – Theology, 3rd Place for The Fellowship of the Beatific Vision: Chaucer on Overcoming Tyranny and Becoming Ourselves. In The Fellowship of the Beatific Vision, Dr. Norm Klassen explores Chaucer’s treatment of tyranny and in turn, his thinking about the very end of human existence and the nature of created being.
In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer asks a basic human question: How do we overcome tyranny? His answer, declared performatively over the course of a symbolic pilgrimage, urges the view that humanity has an intrinsic need of grace in order to be itself – paradoxically, genuine freedom grows out of the dependency of all things upon God. In imaginatively inhabiting this view of reality, Chaucer aligns himself with that other great poet-theologican of the Middle Ages, Dante. Both are true Christian humanists. They recognize in art a fragile opportunity: not to reduce reality to a set of dogmatic propositions but to participate in an ever-deepening mystery. Chaucer effectively calls all would-be members of the pilgrim fellowship that is the church to behave as artists, interpretively responding to God in the finitude of their existence together.