The Prioress's Tale
AUTHOR: Chaucer, Geoffrey
PUBLISHER: University of Oklahoma Press
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Of all Chaucer’s tales in the Canterbury Group, The Prioress’s Tale of the Virgin Mary and the murdered child ranks among the most popular and surely the most admired for its artistry. Nonetheless, it has encountered its fair share of somewhat hostile criticism on purely social and cultural grounds, owing in part to a negative evaluation of the Prioress herself (she is seen by some as a shallow person who does not recognize the harmful implications of her utterances), in part to the anti-Semitic cast of the tale.
Beverly Boyd’s tough-minded, crisp approach to the tale enables her to present an overview of the great diversity of scholarship in both the sympathetic and hostile approaches to the work; to examine its strongest ingredients, the liturgical borrowings that form a kind of subtext; and thus to offer a balanced view of one of Chaucer’s most carefully crafted poems.
Her examination of the sources and analogues, of Miracles of the Virgin, of considerations of style and structure, along with a full treatment of the textual tradition of the Prioress’s Sequence and an unusually full corpus of explanatory notes, taken together, provide a rich and complete edition of the tale, one that will prove to be of exceptional value for the teacher and the scholar.
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/15/1987