Chaucer's Monk's Tale and Nun's Priest's Tale

Chaucer's Monk's Tale and Nun's Priest's Tale: An Annotated Bibliography

edited by Peter Goodall
Geoffrey Cooper
Peter Goodall
John Gray
Bruce Moore
Diane Speed
Jennifer Strauss
J.A. Stephens
Ruth Waterhouse
Christopher Wortham
Rosemary Greentree
Christopher Bright
Copyright Date: 2009
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442687608
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  • Book Info
    Chaucer's Monk's Tale and Nun's Priest's Tale
    Book Description:

    Of all the stories that comprise The Canterbury Tales, certain ones have attracted more attention than others in terms of literary scholarship and canonization.The Monk's Tale, for instance, was popular in the decades after Chaucer's death, but has since suffered critical neglect, particularly in the twentieth century. The opposite has occurred with theNun's Priest's Tale, which has long been one of the most popular and widely discussed of the tales, cited by some critics as the most essentially 'Chaucerian' of them all. This annotated bibliography is a record of all editions, translations, and scholarship written onThe Monk's Taleand theNun's Priest's Talein the twentieth century with a view to revisiting the former and creating a comprehensive scholarly view of the latter. A detailed introduction summarizes all extant writings on the two tales and their relationship to each other, giving a sense of the complexity of Chaucer's seminal work and the unique function of its component stories. By dealing with these two tales in particular, this bibliography suggests the complicated critical reception and history ofThe Canterbury Tales.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8760-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. General Editor’s Preface
    (pp. vii-xi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xii-xiv)
    Peter Goodall, Geoffrey Cooper, John Gray, Bruce Moore, Diane Speed, John Stephens, Jennifer Strauss, Ruth Waterhouse and Christopher Wortham
  5. Abbreviations and Works Cited
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xix-2)

    The tales told by the Monk and the Nun’s Priest are the ‘odd couple’ of theCTcollection. Although they are clearly linked in the prologue to theNPP,both textually and as part of the developing pilgrimage narrative, one of the most persistent motifs in criticism of the two tales has been the difference, indeed the incompatibility, between the tales. This can be seen in several different ways.NPTis one of the most scintillating of Chaucer’s comic tales, and its first commentator, the Host among the pilgrims, heaps praise upon both the tale and its teller. In contrast,...

  7. Editions, Translations, Modernizations, and Retellings
    (pp. 3-51)

    The great majority of entries are from the twentieth century, but there are some important earlier items, of intrinsic value and necessary to establish context. Tyrwhitt 2 made the first attempt in modern times to restore the text of CT from the MSS. His notes are especially good, and he printed the fable by Marie de France, one of the analogues of NPT, for the first time. Furnivall’s Six-Text Edition 7 of 1868, a transcription of six of the most important MSS, stressed the importance of the Ellesmere MS, at that time still in private hands. Furnivall’s transcription became the...

  8. Bibliographies, Handbooks, and Indexes
    (pp. 52-62)

    There are a number of general bibliographies of English literature that contain material on both tales, for example Watson 235. The first major items specifically on Chaucer are Hammond’sBibliographical Manual191, still useful for its incisive judgements, and Corson’sIndex of Proper Names192. Spurgeon’sFive Hundred Years of Chaucer Criticism and Allusion404 was reprinted in three volumes in 1925. Tatlock and Kennedy’s concordance to Chaucer’s works 204 was an essential part of the study of Chaucer until superceded by the KWIC concordance edited by Oizumi 249 . The major bibliographies of scholarship and literary criticism of Chaucer...

  9. Manuscript and Textual Studies
    (pp. 63-81)

    MkTandNPT,with their prologues and endlinks, have contributed significantly to the complicated textual history ofCT.Cooper 248 argues thatMkTraises more substantial textual problems than any other tale. Late nineteenthcentury editors ofCTcommonly made the ‘Bradshaw Shift,’ moving Fragment VII, which containsMkTandNPT,to follow Fragment II, thus creating Furnivall’s Group B. The relative merits of the Ellesmere and Hengwrt MSS have been the subject of intense study and debate since Manly and Rickert’s edition 97, especially in the last twenty-five years. A handy summary of the issues can be found in Hanna’s...

  10. Prosody, Linguistic, and Lexical Studies
    (pp. 82-100)

    The distinctive eight-line stanza ofMkThas continued to attract a small amount of attention. Mustanoja 357 surveys scholarship on Chaucer’s prosody, discussing final-ein particular. Pearsall 388 points out the difference between Chaucer’s metrical practice, as attested by MSS, and his editors. Many books on Chaucer’s language take examples from both tales: for example Burnley 378, Kerkhof 353, Roscow’s book on syntax 375, and Sandved’sIntroduction to Chaucerian English388. Peters 370, a brief introduction for students, contains a phonetic transcription ofMkTVII. 2423–30. There are many studies of particular words and phrases in both tales:...

  11. Sources, Analogues, & Allusions
    (pp. 101-148)

    Much of the earliest work on both tales took the form of studies of sources and analogues. This culminated in the publication of Bryan and Dempster’sSources and Analogues of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales441 in 1941: the chapter onMkTis by Root, and onNPTby Hulbert. Morris 531, Root 393, Looten 430, and Miller 496 are general guides to Chaucer’s sources. Studies of the influence of particular authors or literary traditions onMkTandNPTinclude Shannon 427 and Minnis 515 on pagan antiquity, Fyler 501 on Ovid, Fansler 402 on theRoman de la Rose,and Schless...

  12. The Narrators of the Tales Considered as Characters
    (pp. 149-165)

    Kittredge 604 first drew attention to the important relationship between narrator and tale, work extended by Lumiansky 561 and many others, but subjected to increasing criticism in recent years, for example by Owen 641 and Lawton 589. The relationship between the Monk and the Nun’s Priest as characters and narrators, and by extension between their respective tales, was a feature of the dramatic reading ofCTfrom its beginnings.

    One of the most venerable issues of narrative technique is the relationship between the Nun’s Priest as narrator and his tale. Studies that readNPTin terms of the Nun’s Priest’s...

  13. The Tales Considered Together
    (pp. 166-201 o)

    Discussions of both tales can be found in many general studies of Chaucer’s work, from Pollard 600 in 1893 to Aers 690 in 1986, and in many studies of a more specialized nature. Narratological studies frequently refer to both tales without drawing detailed comparisons between them. Most comparative studies of the two tales have sought either to discover a common theme in them or to locate both tales within a wider grouping ofCT.Hemingway’s early study of the Monk and Nun’s Priest 605 sees Chauntecleer as a comic portrayal of the Monk, and there have been many other ‘dramatic’...

  14. The Monk’s Tale
    (pp. 202-224)

    For a work that includes references to contemporary history, relatively little purely historical research has been done on the tale, although in the 1980s there has been renewed interest in the historical context of Chaucer’s Monk and in Chaucer’s view of monasticism. The only other area of major historical study is the handful of articles on the two Peters in the tale, including the long article by Savage 733. When the writing of scholarly articles on the tale began properly in the 1920s, one of the commonest topics was the relationship of the tale to the tradition of thought about...

  15. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale
    (pp. 225-303)

    More than any other tale,NPThas raised issues of reading, understanding, and interpretation. Indeed, many critics have seen ‘interpretation’ as the tale’s main theme. A whole generation of studies celebrated the ‘ambivalence’ ofNPT, put forward most influentially by Muscatine 857. For him the one constant in the tale is its multiplicity of perspective. Many commentators have drawn attention to the tale’s hybridity of form, and an accompanying focus on the problems of the tale’s meaning has made it especially attractive in the last twenty years to literary theorists.

    This modern and postmodern preference for uncertainty and ambivalence found...

  16. Index
    (pp. 304-338)