"The Sins of Madame Eglentyne", and Other Essays on Chaucer

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University of Delaware Press, 1995 - 201 pages
The essays in this single-author collection are principally concerned with Madame Eglentyne, the demure and elegant prioress depicted in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Richard Rex contends that how we think about Chaucer as a Christian depends largely on our interpretation of the Prioress's Tale, which in turn is linked to the brilliant portrait of Madame Eglentyne in the General Prologue.
While each essay can stand alone in that Rex has approached Madame Eglentyne and her tale with a number of different considerations in mind, together they contribute to our understanding of this Canterbury pilgrim in important ways. Scholars lament the fact that Chaucer refrains from stating opinions - that he seems to have no axes to grind, never chooses sides, and always defers to the authority of others. In the Prioress's Tale, however, Chaucer reveals more of his moral thought than in any of his other works, for in this tale he juxtaposes the theme of martyrdom and vengeance with Christ's crucifixion and the concept of charity.
 

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Contents

Chaucer and the Jews
3
Chaucers Censured Ballads
17
Pastiche as Irony in the Prioresss Prologue and Tale
24
Wild Horses Justice and Charity in the Prioresss Tale
32
Grey Eyes and the Medieval Ideal of Feminine Beauty
44
Why the Prioresss Gauds Are Green
51
Why the Prioress Sings through Her Nose
59
Madame Eglentyne and the Bankside Brothels
68
The Sins of Madame Eglentyne
85
Notes
120
Works Cited
160
Index
185
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