Chaucer's Pilgrims: An Historical Guide to the Pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales

Chaucer's Pilgrims: An Historical Guide to the Pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales

Chaucer's Pilgrims: An Historical Guide to the Pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales

Chaucer's Pilgrims: An Historical Guide to the Pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales

Synopsis

To have a clear understanding of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the reader needs to know about the vocations of the pilgrims. For some 600 years, this information has been difficult to locate. This reference provides a detailed historical description of the occupations of Chaucer's pilgrims. An entry is devoted to each traveler, and the entries have similar formats to foster comparison. Each entry discusses the historical daily routine of the pilgrim's occupation, the portrayal of the profession in Chaucer's poem, and the relationship between the tale and Chaucer's "General Prologue."

Excerpt

The premise behind this reference text goes beyond its obvious value as another scholarly tool or resource in the study of Geoffrey Chaucer Canterbury Tales. In our studies, we have found critical volumes that discuss every possible angle concerning the pilgrims of this timeless text; these secondary sources run the gamut from feminist studies to exegetic examinations. However, very rarely do we find works that define the sorts of "sondry folk" who are woven into this collection of tales, and there is no work that details the pilgrims' various vocations in any depth. In essence, it is difficult to find explanations of the role of a medieval cook, or to pinpoint the differences between a friar and a monk. It is this critical fissure that this work repairs.

For some six hundred years, the notion of presenting a text that describes the pilgrims' various vocations has been neglected; now this gap is filled. Each of the scholars contributing to this volume has selected a pilgrim and provided an in-depth entry describing that pilgrim's specific function in fourteenth-century England. Medievalists from twenty-five or so universities all over the United States--from California to Washington to Florida to New York--have contributed information that will be useful to all teachers and students of Chaucer, from high school to graduate school. It is our belief that these descriptions of the pilgrims' vocations add to the intricate readings of other scholars and highlight some of the problems found in the text of the Canterbury Tales (for example, the textual problem of the "Shipman's Tale"). Furthermore, cultural attitudes toward the pilgrims are more greatly defined and clarified where possible. Each contributor has meticulously researched and gleaned many sources and synthesized the often scant material to present a unified entry concerning each pilgrim, those enlisted from the start of the journey at the Tabard, as well as the Canon and his Yeoman who appear in the later stages of the work.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.