History Contra Poetics in The Physician’s Tale

There is no introduction to "The Physician's Tale." We begin en media res. The tale cites its source as Titius Livius ("Livy") the great Roman historian, though Chaucer likely borrowed sections from The Romance of the Rose which he also partially translated. Unlike other tales, "The Physician's Tale" is not about unrequited love or the … Continue reading History Contra Poetics in The Physician’s Tale

The Wife of Bath’s Tale: Autobiography and Arthurian Parody

The Wife of Bath is the most famous, albeit the most troubling character in Chaucerian literature. As with other speakers in The Canterbury Tales, we are only given her title at the outset, the "Wife of Bath." Later we learn her name is Alysoun, or she sometimes goes by "Aly" (recall that she shares a … Continue reading The Wife of Bath’s Tale: Autobiography and Arthurian Parody