20 votes

Why is the month of Aprill masculine?

There have been a couple of different explanations given for this, but the upshot seems to be that there's nothing particularly significant about the masculinity of April - it was more a product of ...
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15 votes

What is a "Cristopher"?

A "Cristopher" is a St. Christopher medal, to this day often cast in silver. According to reference.com's definition (there are hundreds of definitions online; this one was chosen due to its ...
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  • 468
9 votes

Why do translations of the line "Now have I told you soothly in a clause" ignore the word soothly?

Many renditions of the original English text use the word "shortly" instead of "soothly". For example, this version from Librarius: Now have I toold you shortly in a clause, Th'estaat, th'...
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8 votes
Accepted

Did anastrophe in English poetry have to do with French influence?

No. Such constructions were the norm in Old English and there's no reason to assume French influence was necessary for them to be available to Chaucer's Middle English versification. Middle English, ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Trying to remember Chaucer-like story’s name

This literary device (the guest moves the cradle; Mom, using it to find her way in the dark, ends up in the wrong bed) was very popular in the Medieval literature. Jean Bodel, Gombert and the two ...
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  • 1,521
7 votes

How much French does Madame Eglentyne know?

No one knows, but it is likely a joke at the expense of the Prioress. There are, as you have observed, multiple ways of interpreting this text. It could be that Parisian French is radically ...
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5 votes

Significance of the Pardoner's hair style

The description of the Pardoner's hair forms part of his overall depiction as effeminate. There are strong hints that he is homosexual or possibly even a eunuch. The poet suggests that he and the ...
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5 votes

Why does the Reeve ride at the end of the procession?

The yellow bile or choler of this “sclendre colerik man” is at least partly expressed in suspicious wariness of others. In his position as Reeve (estate manager), this has served both &...
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4 votes
Accepted

Was Hardy's "A Few Crusted Characters" based directly on the Canterbury Tales?

Short of finding a definitive statement from Hardy, it is impossible to be sure. But it is very likely that A Few Crusted Characters was influenced by The Canterbury Tales. I have three lines of ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Scanning "Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote"

In this answer, I’ll discuss the general problem of dividing a line into feet, and then I’ll look in more detail at Chaucer’s opening line. Are feet real? English prosody is based on stress, which is ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Was the Canterbury Tales directly inspired by the Decameron?

The short answer is yes. I found two resources worth investigating if this interests you, but I really don't have the background or the time to pursue them much deeper at the moment: First there is an ...
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3 votes

In A Whiter Shade of Pale, is the miller's tale a reference to the Miller's tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales?

According to the following, it was not deliberate. Procol Harum's lyricist Keith Reid wrote the words to this song... The lyric, "As the miller told his tale" sounds like a reference to &...
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3 votes

In A Whiter Shade of Pale, is the miller's tale a reference to the Miller's tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales?

The lyrics are on record as not being philosophically meaningful. However, I would presume that all would think like me, that indeed, "as the miller told his tale" was a direct reference to ...
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2 votes

What is a "Cristopher"?

Although Vekzhivi's answer is not bad, I think I can add a few things. The spelling of "cristopher" varies between editions. For example, the Norton Critical Edition of the Canterbury Tales (...
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  • 39.2k
2 votes

Looking for a poem about the (fictionalized) writing of The Canterbury Tales Prologue

Like others, I have not been able to find the poem you are looking for, but I wonder if the source is actually the last few stanzas of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. The stanza that begins with “Go, ...
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  • 121
2 votes

Why is the Reeve's hair cut like a priest's?

John M. Manly presents a theory, which I will outline below, that Chaucer’s Reeve was based on a real person. If you find this theory plausible, then the explanation for the detailed description of ...
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2 votes

Why is the month of Aprill masculine?

This is possibly a reference to astrology. In western astrology, April is regarded as a masculine month. April is the month of Aries, The Ram, a masculine sign. It is ruled by Mars, a masculine ...
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  • 2,066
2 votes

Why do translations of the line "Now have I told you soothly in a clause" ignore the word soothly?

I checked Nevil Coghill's translation, where the relevant lines are translated as follows Now I have told you shortly, in a clause, The rank, the array, the number and the cause (...) "In a ...
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1 vote

Is this a joke about the length of the General Prologue?

I don't think it's an outright joke. I'd certainly say it's mildly ironized, but a long introduction is still a 'clause' compared to a much longer body. The phrase is worthy of a 'heh' rather than a '...
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  • 283
1 vote

Why is the Reeve's hair cut like a priest's?

While Gareth’s answer gets into details of why the Reeve might be described in such exacting detail (and made for a fascinating read), he doesn’t really deal with the question of the meaning of the ...
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  • 2,468

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