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English professor brings Chaucer to Wisconsin

October 23, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Associate English Professor Francesca Abbate’s recent book of poetry is a retelling of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde but set in south-central Wisconsin. Troy, Unincorporated was released by The University of Chicago Press’ Phoenix Poets series in 2012.

The inspiration for Troy, Unincorporated came from a Chaucer class Abbate took in graduate school. She found his tragic poem, Troilus and Criseyde, to be a classic boy meets girl, boy loses girl story filled with compelling characters. Though Chaucer’s story is set against the backdrop of the battle of Troy, Abbate decided to tell her version among the industrialized farmlands, strip malls, and half-tenanted “historic” downtowns of south-central Wisconsin, including the real, and literally unincorporated, town of Troy. 

 “It might be helpful to know a little bit about Chaucer’s story, but it’s certainly not necessary,” said Abbate, a 1990 Beloit graduate. “Chaucer’s story is a pretty simple love story, and my book is also at heart a story about love and betrayal. And obviously the setting will be familiar to people who live in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. I hope it might inspire people to read Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.”

For more information on Troy, Unincorporated, click here.

SOURCE: Francesca Abbate is an associate professor of English at Beloit College who teaches courses in creative writing, poetry, writing from art, and college writing. A graduate of Beloit College, Abbate earned a master of fine arts degree in poetry from the University of Montana and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications and literary journals including Field, The Iowa Review, NEO, and Poetry.  Abbate can serve as a media resource on topics related to her writing and teaching interests.