Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer

mid-15th century

England

Manuscript

Chaucer’s alter ego tells two stories in The Canterbury Tales. The first is a romance about Sir Thopas, whose comically lame adventures, told in outmoded tail rhyme stanzas, test the pilgrims' patience to breaking point. Sir Thopas is full of contrived rhymes and bathetic escapades, along with plodding rhythm and vague allusions to other romance heroes such as Bevis, Guy and Perceval. The tale is interrupted by the pigrims' self-appointed leader, Harry Bailey, who tells Chaucer that 'thy drasty rymyng is nat worth a toord!' and asks for something completely different. Chaucer's persona takes the hint and turns to the prose allegory Melibee for his next tale. On this page of the manuscript, the tail rhyme format of Sir Thopas with its bracketing links and lines placed to the right on the page still affects the text's layout, even though this section contains the end of the exchange between Harry Bailey and Chaucer, which is written in rhyming couplets. The illustration comes at the start of Melibee, and its inclusion of an author(ity) figure reinforces the gravitas accorded to its weighty theme of curbing violence by reason and counsel.

Comments

Ivory panels with romance scenes
Ivory panels with romance scenes
A book of family reading and allegiance
A book of family reading and allegiance
Sloth's favourite stories
Sloth's favourite stories
The God of Love on campaign
The God of Love on campaign
The eagle and child and the Stanley family
The eagle and child and the Stanley family
Chaucer's <em>Canterbury Tales</em>
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
A lover's confession
A lover's confession
Moralizing a romance story
Moralizing a romance story
The Wife of Bath and her Tale
The Wife of Bath and her Tale
Romance scenes in a psalter
Romance scenes in a psalter