Hearing, smelling, savoring, and touching in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Medieval meal

Chaucer’s scholar’s have long recognized the poet’s keen sense of observation and have commented upon the poet’s ability to transfer his visual images to his writing.

INTERVIEW: A Conversation with SD Sykes about Plague Land

Burial of plague victims - The Black Death

My interview with fiction author, SD Sykes about her fantastic medieval crime novel, Plague Land.

The “Discrete Occupational Identity” of Chaucer’s Knyght

Chaucer’s Knyght - knights

Popular critical opinion favors reading the pilgrim Knyght of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales as the representative of the idealized chivalric knight; however, the pilgrim Knyght bears the hallmark of the early professional soldier that began to evolve as early as the eleventh century.

Chaucer’s female characters in the Canterbury Tales: Born to thralldom and penance, and to been under mannes governance

The Wife of Bath 2

This essay will also demonstrate that in order to be considered a good wife a woman
needed to be humble and obedient and to accept her fate as being subject to male authority figure without resistance.

The Canterbury Tales as Framed Narratives

The Pilgrims panel in Canterbury Cathedral is actually a 20th century forgery

Although I think that the notion of modern art as organic must be qualified and questioned, there is a certain force and validity to Jordan’s distinction between medieval and modern art. Modern art expects the parts to be somewhat subordinate to the whole. The dominant stress of New Criticism was on the organic nature of art.

I Wol Yow Nat Deceyve: The Pardoner’s Virtuous Path in The Canterbury Tales

The pardoner, one of the pilgrims in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

The Pardoner of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is usually perceived as terrible and morally bankrupt. As a result, he is often categorized as an evil and one-dimensional character.

Chaucer’s Solar Pageant: an Astrological Reading of the Canterbury Tales

A Zodiac illustration from a medical almanac, 1399. The man’s pointing finger serves as a warning against the powerful forces of the stars. Photo courtesy British Library

This thesis proposes a correlation between the twenty-four Canterbury Tales and an external ordered system, namely the twelve signs of the zodiac, from which one might infer Chaucer’s intended ordering of the Tales.

Wrestling for the Ram: Competition and Feedback in Sir Thopas and The Canterbury Tales


The purpose of this essay will be to explore the significance of competition and feedback in The Canterbury Tales, by applying historical evidence of literary competition in the fourteenth century to a discussion of the frame narrative, especially the prologue and epilogue to Chaucer’s Tale of Sir Thopas.

‘Fromm thennes faste he gan avyse/This litel spot of erthe’: GIS and the General Prologue

Canterbury Tales - Chaucer

This paper was given at the Canada Chaucer Seminar on April 27, 2013.

Chaucer’s Arthuriana

Guinevere’s marriage to Arthur

The majority of medieval scholars, including Roger Sherman Loomis, argue that the popularity of the Arthurian legend in England was therefore on the wane in the latter half of the fourteenth century; as a result, the major writers of the period, such as John Gower and Geoffrey Chaucer, refrained from penning anything beyond the occasional reference to King Arthur and his court.

Fashion of Middle England and its Image in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Medieval women  - 1380

Fashion of Middle England and its Image in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales Petra Štěpánková Bachelor Thesis, Masaryk University – Brno, Faculty of Education, Department of English Language and Literature, Brno (2012) Abstract This thesis deals with the main features of fashion in medieval England and focuses particularly on the second half of the fourteenth century. It […]

Lay Writers and the Politics of Theology in Medieval England From the Twelfth to Fifteenth Centuries

Marie de France - illuminated

My intention is not to continue the discourse on such practices but to analyze narrative content in relation to the politics of theology that had an impact on lay writers and their artistic creativity concerning the search for selfhood from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries.

An Ecoritical Approach to Chaucer. Representations of the Natural World in the English Literature of the Middle Ages


The choice to write and present a study of nature in medieval English literature from an ecological perspective has been originated by a personal interest in the urgency of the deep environmental crisis we are faced with and by the drive to expand the eco- oriented study of representations of nature in literature to chronological and spatial areas well beyond those originally typical of ecological criticism.

Medieval Feminine Humanism and Geoffrey Chaucer’s Presentation of the Anti-Cecilia


Perhaps the tale has been dismissed because, compared to the other tales, it appears to be simple and straightforward. Lynn Staley Johnson points out that “most Chaucerians hold that this legend could not have been written before about 1373” and further that “it is generally accepted that Chaucer decided to include the legend in the Canterbury book relatively late in the Canterbury period” .

Chaucer’s costume rhetoric in his portrait of the Prioress

The Prioress

No critic has ever discussed costume signs in order to reveal to what extent the Prioress does or does not conform in her costume to the fourteenth century norm, with consideration given, simultaneously, to the historical records, literature and visual arts of the period that form and inform the signs from the many traditions Chaucer in corporates in his portrait of the Prioress.

Two University of Chicago Humanists and a Landmark Edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Two University of Chicago Humanists and a Landmark Edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Partly thanks to their experience as code-breakers in World War I, theirs was the first edition to take account of all 83 medieval witnesses to parts or the whole of the Tales.

Mandeville’s Intolerance: The Contest for Souls and Sacred Sites in The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

Full-page portrait of Sir John Mandeville. Created 1459.

While Chaucer‟s knight has traveled to and fought in Spain, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia Minor, Sir John claims to have visited the entire known world from Constantinople and the Holy Land to the farthest reaches of Asia.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – Politically Corrected

Rewriting Chaucer Culture, Authority, and the Idea of the Authentic Text, 1400–1602

Most literary studies examine what an author wrote. This essay exam­ines what Geoffrey Chaucer did not write.

Madness and Gender in Late-Medieval English Literature

Removing Madness - Renaissance

Madness has been long misrepresented in medieval studies. Assertions that conceptions of mental illness were unknown to medieval people, or that all madmen were assumed to be possessed by the devil, were at one time common in accounts of medieval society.

Depiction of Women in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in Comparison Across Medieval Genres

The Wife of Bath 2

In my thesis I focus on the analysis of presentation of women in various medieval genres and their comparison in Geoffrey Chaucer’s masterpiece The Canterbury Tales, where women appear as both narrators as well as subjects of the narrative.

Personal Piety or Priestly Persuasion: Evidence of Pilgrimage Bequests in the Wills of the Archdeaconry of Sudbury, 1439-1474

However, when we consider the number of individuals, particularly from the lower orders, who actually undertook a pilgrimage at some point in their lives, we find that we actually know remarkably little about them.

VAGANTES: “That is a Long Preamble of a Tale”: Mobile Narratives in Fragment III of the Canterbury Tales

This paper focused on the 12 lines from fragment 3 of the Canterbury Tales of The Wife of Bath.

Reading about Lancelot in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde

Troilus & Criseyde 3

This book is the central one of Troilus and Criseyde’s five books, with the sexual union of Troilus with Criseyde forming the climax and turning-point of the entire plot-structure, condensed at the start of the work by Chaucer in the words “fro woe to wele and after out of joie.”

Chaucer’s female characters in the Canterbury Tales

The Wife of Bath

This essay will also demonstrate that in order to be considered a good wife a woman needed to be humble and obedient and to accept her fate as being subject to male authority figure without resistance.

Convents, Courts and Colleges: The Prioress and the Second Nun

Canterbury Tales

Pilgrimage, after Whitby, and before Vatican II, was a secular activity, a performance of piety by the laity, not by the clergy; although there were a few exceptions.7 Chaucer’s Monk, Friar, Prioress, Nun, Priest, Summoner, Pardoner and Parson ought not to be here. Their presence is outrageous comedy. Inns were forbidden to the cloistered clergy who, if they had to travel, were enjoined to stay in other monastic establishments along their route.

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