This Is The Other Thing I’ve Been Doing Instead of Posting…

It’s another paper. This one is about how the Canterbury Tales can be read as a postmodern text. If you read it (and why would you?) you’ll notice a few shared concerns with the other one, but not really. The main point of correspondence is that I like John Barth.

I know this cheating, but you’ll just have to live with it until I feel like writing something for the old Drift. I’ll probably show some pretty pictures later, or maybe abuse youtube again. In the meantime, here’s this:

Storial Thynges: Postmodern Chaucer


Can we read The Canterbury Tales as a postmodern text? It is at first disconcerting to imagine a poet who wrote centuries before the pre, much less the prefix-less Modern age, as somehow being part of the postmodern tradition. Inasmuch as postmodern thought and literature are a direct critique of the prevailing social, economic, and philosophical conventions of the Modern period of the early twentieth century, there are some theoretical problems with this conception, as well as temporal ones. Indeed, postmodernism can be a slippery concept to pin down with any exactitude. As it is largely preoccupied with exploring ambiguity and uncertainty, definitions of postmodernism are naturally prone to being hazy and unsure.[1] The category of postmodern literature is more of a set shared concerns and narrative techniques than it is a strictly delineated literary movement with a clearly defined beginning or geographic locus. There is no singular answer to the question “What is postmodern literature?” But the authors who tend to be included in the pomo canon, like Borges, Martin Amis, and especially John Barth, all deal with the problems of the individual and the fractured sense of self that arises from life in the modern world. Postmodern literature is in many ways a deconstruction of the prevailing forms of narrative, inasmuch as they are incapable of explaining the human condition in the current age.[2] But there is more to postmodern literature than deconstruction, and while the attributes of postmodern literature can vary, they share certain common elements.  Postmodern authors approach storytelling as an exercise in exploring this fragmentation, but they do so in a way that sidesteps the existential angst and allows them to have fun with process of self determination, using techniques like self-reflexive meta-fiction, manipulation of formal structures, and intertextuality to explore new conceptions of the self and its relation to the world.

            The Canterbury Tales is incontestably medieval, both in conception and execution as well as in chronological placement. Chaucer played midwife to the birth of the English language as a viable tool for the creation of literature. If he wasn’t quite the architect of English literature, he was certainly a vital foreman of its construction. How, then, can we tie him to a literary movement that revolves around picking the peeling paint from its walls? The answer lies in the shared goals of Chaucer (and other medieval writers) and postmodern authors, and in the shared techniques they used to approach them. They share what Lee Patterson calls “an all-observing, promiscuously eclectic culture that abolishes the difference between inside and outside and so precludes opposition; that banishes the sense of the real and so subverts hermeneutic definition; and that generates a profound sense of skepticism towards any form of closure or totality.”[3] If we read the Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales as a postmodern text, we open up new avenues of interpretation. By approaching the text in this manner, we are able to recognize the way Chaucer utilized several of the tools that would later be adopted by the authors of the postmodern. The Canterbury Tales is a postmodern text, sequential chronology be damned. It shares the most quintessential characteristics of other postmodern texts. Not only does this shed light on the timeless concerns of many of the preoccupations of postmodern literature, but the fact that Chaucer went there first shows how prescient The Canterbury Tales truly were in their use of metafiction, manipulation of form, and intertextuality. These attributes of Chaucer’s writing invite the comparison, and the comparison is a useful heuristic device for understanding the depth of the Tales and approaching them from an under-utilized angle.

Meta-(ieval) Fiction

The Frame Tale is a favorite device of postmodern authors, as it serves to foreground the main body of the work as a tale {or in the case of Chaucer (and Kurosawa, and John Barth’s Lost in the Funhouse) tales} being told.[4] This creates ironic separation between the reader and any sort of identification of truth value of the tale. Whenever Chaucer distances us from the action by holding to the conceit that he is relating a series of tales he witnessed, it serves to push the tale one step further from both his narration and his composition of the Tales.[5] Not only does his placement of a frame tale take us from the General Prologue to the Retraction, but the fact that the material in between is a collection of stories betrays a fascination with the primacy of storytelling that surfaced again in the writings of the postmodernists.

Postmodern literature is metafictional, above all else. That is to say it “self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality” and provides “a critique of their own methods of construction .”[6] The act and purpose of storytelling occupy center stage and questions of narrative purpose lurk in the background while frequently crossing the line between fiction and reality. Authors who write themselves into the narrative and interact with characters, or at the very least seem aware of their status as fictional creations of a writer are elements of metafiction, which “is therefore more a formal term than an historical one, and is not solely a postmodern (or modern) possession.”[7] It is certainly not the sole province of the postmodernists, as the practice goes back as least as far as the Odyssey when Homer gave himself a cameo role. But it has become one of the salient features of postmodern literature, and a central concern of the movement. There is nothing more metafictional than an author who writes himself into his own work. The fictional analogues of John Barth and Kurt Vonnegut allow them to comment on the nature of storytelling in general and thereby slyly comment on the nature of the telling of their stories in particular. By creating a character who not only bears his name and likeness but also his body of work, and then making that character a central figure Chaucer goes beyond the self-referential cameo of Homer’s minor appearance in the Odyssey into full bore commentary on the nature and purpose of fiction. He is doing more than winking at the reader by dropping his own name (though he is certainly doing that as well). He places himself at the center of the action, the axis upon which The Canterbury Tales turns. All through the estates satire of the general prologue we are seeing the gathering from the point of view of the character Geoffrey Chaucer, who serves not only as our guide to the proceedings, but as our source of the frame narrative. ”So hadde I spoken with hem everichon/That I was of hir felawshipe anon.”[8] He is acting as both narrator of the larger work, and later as the teller of two tales of his own. It is up to the reader to differentiate between this character who is describing his experiences as part of the “felawshipe” on the pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Tomas and the Geoffrey Chaucer who is sitting in his chamber somewhere composing the work for his coterie audience, a metafictional distinction that is blurred constantly in postmodern literature.

There is no self-importance in Chaucer’s use of himself as a character. In the postmodern spirit, he does so in a joking, self-reflexive manner, undercutting his own narrative authority, by informing us that he may make mistakes because his “wit is short, ye may wel understonde.”[9] Chaucer is having a bit of fun with the reader by exaggerating the degree to which he has little faith in his words. If this were truly the case, he probably wouldn’t have published them in the first place. It serves to comedically lower reader expectation, but it also draws attention to the fact that The Canterbury Tales is a text, and requires interpretation by the reader. Chaucer has made a move toward “the deletion of the boundary between art and everyday life; the collapse of the hierarchical distinction between elite and popular culture.”[10] Chaucer seems fond of collapsing distinctions, even as he hedges his bets by constructing new ones. In a work that revolves around the art of telling stories, Chaucer has constructed a persona that allows him to present the collection of tales as if they were things he had heard, rather than things he had created. Also from the General Prologue:


“But first I pray yow, of youre curteisye, /That ye n’arette it nat my vileynye, Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere, /To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere, Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely./ For this ye knowen also wel as I, Whoso shal telle a tale after a man, /He moot reherce as ny as evere he kan Everich a word, if it be in his charge,/ Al speke he never so rudeliche or large, Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe, /Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe. He may nat spare, al thogh he were his brother; /He moot as wel seye o word as another”[11]


By asking for the “curteisye” of the reader, Chaucer excuses himself from any charges of vulgarity. By speaking plainly of the tales he heard from the other characters, he would be absolved of responsibility for how “rudeliche” they are. But Chaucer knows (and he knows his readers know) that this is a device, an artificial construction deliberately chosen as a narrative device. The reader knows he is not repeating the tales as “ny evere he kan,” but has, if not created them whole cloth at least appropriated and adapted them for the purposes of The Canterbury Tales.

Chaucer continues to play with the author/character distinction when the time rolls around for him to tell a tale. He presents himself as reticent, having to be coaxed into sharing his story with the pilgrims. When he is preparing to give his contribution, Chaucer begins by asking for the Host (and by extension the reader) to “ne beth nat yvele apayd”[12]  or to not be displeased by the tale he offers up. Unlike, say the Wife of Bath or the Miller (who is so eager to tell his tale that he interrupts the pre-established social order), Chaucer the character is reluctant to speak. This ups the ante in the irony department and raises the level of in-jokiness, especially for the coterie audience who would have been the primary audience.

Thogh He Kan but Lewedly: Playfulness of Form

When Harry Bailey finally induces our narrator to speak, he launches into an unexpected story he supposedly learned long ago. When he does get going Chaucer the character delivers a curiously referential pair of stories. Starting with The Tale of Sir Thopas, Chaucer the poet has Chaucer the character recall a tale he heard somewhere that seems to go nowhere fast. Not only does it play as a parody of medieval romances, but it is “a turgid bit of doggerel about an ineffectual and effeminate knight”[13] that goes on for some time recycling the clichés of the genre with fairy queens and giants. This is an important moment for understanding the Tales in a postmodern context because it brings together two of Chaucer’s most postmodern tendencies; his metafictional placement of himself in the narrative is complemented by his manipulation of form. The Tale of Sir Thopas changes up the structure from the preceding entries by shifting to rhyming couplets, though not consistently. Chaucer varied the form of the tale in order to “satirize the helplessness and awkwardness of the authors of these romances…to exemplify the various meters found in the romances of his day.”[14] It is a conscious use of structure to subtly question the utility of one of the most popular poetic narrative forms of Chaucer’s times. Chaucer uses a light touch when he takes the storytelling reigns within the nested story he is telling us. His presence as narrator in the work is slight, restricted to a few brief appearances and plugs of his work by other characters and his telling of these two tales. But he makes his time in the spotlight count before ceding the stage to his other fictional creations.[15] But like Martin Amis’s use of the detective genre, Chaucer’s handling of his burlesque parody is done with the utmost affection. While certainly a parody, the tale may speak to Chaucer’s rejected idea of constructing his own (more earnest) tale along similar lines, as he hints at how Sir Thopas would have ended if given the chance.[16]

But Chaucer the Pilgrim is not given that chance because Harry Bailey does not seem to appreciate his contribution and interrupts, telling him that “thy drasty rymyng is nat worth a toord.”[17] Again Chaucer foregrounds the artificial nature of the overall narrative by playfully invoking the illusion of reality. But Harry Bailey does not exist outside the Tales and the structure of the Tale of Sir Thopas makes it clear that Chaucer the poet had written everything he had to say about that particular adventure, as the stanzas go through a “progressive halving in the form reflecting the dwindling away of narrative content.”[18]Authorial criticism aside, Chaucer moves on to the Tale of Melibee which also uses its structure with a knowing self-assurance. From the outset, the host asks Chaucer to utilize a different form; he asks Chaucer to tell the next tale “aught in geeste, Or telle in prose somwhat, at the leeste,”[19] and that is exactly what he does. If nothing else, Chaucer’s switch to prose as a narrative technique sets the tale apart from the rest and draws the reader’s attention sharply. There has been some critical debate regarding the nature and purpose of The Tale of Melibee with several scholars suggesting that the lengthy “doctrine” (which is delivered short on mirth) is Chaucer’s method of punishing the host for his earlier interruption. Others point to the positive reception of the tale as evidence to the contrary, but “no matter what high-minded purpose is assigned to the tale, no matter what literary technique is identified, virtually all of the critics of Melibee admit that it is boring, at least on the surface…This seems to me to be significant because elsewhere Chaucer did not deal in boring surfaces; he did not make bad jokes or descend to superficial drudgery to make serious ulterior points.”[20] We are to approach the superficial drudgery from a position of Chaucer knew exactly what he was doing, since he asked for special permission to be allowed to take Melibee to its conclusion. This tale is another adaptation and its lengthy laundry list of proverbs and quotes comes from the mouth of Prudence, but still its “moralizing and its earnestness are suited to a serious and none-too-clever teller.”[21] This teller is, of course, a construction; a narrative device put to conscious use by Chaucer for specific effect. He doesn’t appear too often in the Tales because he doesn’t have to. Chaucer understands the value of restraint, although he is willing to ignore it, like any good postmodernist.

The Canterbury Tales is “a compilation of (mostly) narrative compositions, loosely set into a (not altogether consistent) narrative framework by means of an incomplete series of linking passages.”[22] The desire to read them with an eye toward a consistent, unifying sense of wholeness is natural for modern readers, but the text defies such interpretation just as surely as the densest Pynchon novel. The Canterbury Tales escapes cohesion by employing a dizzying array of narrative forms. Over the course of the work Chaucer utilizes just about every trick in the book. Thematically, he tackles every subject under the sun from sex and marriage to commerce (and the interplay there between) all the way into religion and philosophical understanding of the nature of knowledge. Structurally, he created a grab bag of narrative forms and genres including but not limited to romance, Breton lai, beast fable, mythological references, fabliaux, and even sermons. His meters and rhyme schemes were far from consistent. This practiced inconsistency leads shows how The Canterbury Tales is characterized by just the sort of rejection of  “boundaries between high and low forms of art, rejecting rigid genre distinctions, emphasizing pastiche, parody, bricolage, irony, and playfulness”[23] that Mary Klages uses to define the boundaries of postmodern literature.

There is room for a credible argument that the fragmented nature of the Tales owes more to issues of historical preservation than with authorial intent, but Chaucer hints at his intended notions of hypertextuality towards the end of the Prologue to the Miller’s Tale when he invites the reader to “Turne over the leef and chese another tale./ For he shal fynde ynowe, gret and smale, of storial thynge that toucheth gentilesse.”[24] Although within the fictional world of the pilgrims, Chaucer the character must endure what comes not knowing whether the next act will bring embarrassment, boredom, edification, or delight, the reader is offered the freedom of Chaucer’s newly constituted library.”[25] The Tales are not complete, but Chaucer invites his reader to navigate them as they will. Whether or not the unfinished nature of the poem was intentional, it combines with the deviation from the plan for each of the pilgrims to tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two more on the way home set forth in the General Prologue to create a feeling of haphazardness. This surface lack of coherence increases with the frequent interruptions, the characters who appear out of nowhere and the characters who neglect to speak. Audience expectations are confounded again and again until the lengthy sermonizing of The Parson’s Tale and the final abrupt about-face of Chaucer’s Retraction. Like the postmodern novelists who would come later, Chaucer “is seemingly unconcerned with the status of his text, where and how it begins, how it connects, where and how it ends, and whether it consists of linguistic or other signs.”[26] And yet there is enough mastery to the Tales that remind us that he is only seemingly unconcerned with problems of textual coherence. It may not have been the primary motivating force in Chaucer’s poetry, but his use subtle manipulations shows that it was present. The best postmodern authors infuse their work with a sense of play. If language is ultimately useless as means of making rational sense of the world around us then what is left but for writers like Barth to have a little fun with it. And Geoffrey Chaucer is no exception. He changes formats frequently, shifting the structure of the poem to fit the tale at hand. Rhyme and meter fade in and out like an inconstant character. Chaucer deviates from his stated plan of having the Pilgrims tell two tales each, instantly subverting the social order that he had laid out in the general prologue. Whether by design or circumstance, the Canterbury Tales end haphazardly far short of Chaucer’s stated goal and they come to us in literal fragments, leaving it up to critics and historians to determine the order in which they fit together. This act of ordering and interpretation is a central element to forms of postmodern discourse.

Chaucer took the experimental approach to crafting his work because he had so much raw material to work with as English was in its infancy as a literate language. His experimentation with manipulation of form gave rise to new forms of poetry, including rhyme royal. He was only able to take such liberties because he came to literature in the mode of play. He was a courtier before he was a poet and the creation of his poems was a sideline. The first great poet of the English language was only moonlighting, and that is a postmodern proposition if I have ever heard one.

Promiscuous Eclecticism: Chaucer’s Intratextuality

The Canterbury Tales are told on a pilgrimage, but the actual course of the journey through physical space is lost and the poem drifts into the realm of pure narrative. The reader is given no signposts or landmarks to track the progress of the storytellers aside from their shifting points of view. We cannot track them very well across the plains of England, but in the sphere of storytelling, we watch their progress for as long as we can until it fades out of our narrative awareness and into the realm of story. This is the realm where Chaucer’s work seems most at home, alongside other postmodern works. The relationship of The Canterbury Tales to other fictions is both intense and binary. It is a narrative work that draws heavily from a wide variety of sources and influences. Chaucer takes the elements that work for his purposes, discards the things the do not, reworks what remains, mixes them around a bit and makes them his own. The influence of his own work has been heavy, central to the field of English literature and he made his mark on nearly everything that came after.

The most obvious point of intertextual reference for The Canterbury Tales is the powerful influence of the Italian poets upon the Chaucer’s narrative. The presence of Boccaccio manifests not only in the device of the framing narrative and the conceit of the storytelling game, but in the subject matter of many of the tales. This includes the Knight’s Tale being a retelling of Teseida and many of the other tales. While Boccaccio’s influence on Chaucer is beyond question, whether or not Chaucer was even aware of The Decameron remains open to debate: “as to proof of Chaucer’s knowledge of it, undeniable direct borrowings there are none.”[27] But there was enough of to create a direct link between Chaucer’s work and the poetic imagination of mainland Italy. Part of it has to do with the appropriation of previously celebrated texts, and the reinterpretation of bygone tales into new and different settings. Chaucer brought these stories (at least the important parts) into the English imagination, which was no mean feat seeing as how familiar they were to the educated readers of the time. But an analysis of Chaucer’s sources reveals his creative preoccupation. “Careful study of those materials will show that Chaucer’s intertextuality is highly determinant, both in scope and in kind.”[28] But Chaucer wasn’t a mere translator or importer of Italian poetry. He was a literary magpie, and over the course of The Canterbury Tales, he references or appropriates everyone from Ovid and Virgil to Gower and Boethius. He had a way of appropriating and recombining what came before that prefigured works like John Barth’s Sot-Weed Factor that placed itself as a long form picaresque historical novel, completely inspired by a long form picaresque poem. Like Barth, Chaucer creates “…texts made up of sections or snippets taken from various sources (some perhaps original) and arranged in a new combination.”[29]

Postmodern fiction is about taking the old myths, reworking all the twice-told tales and using them as the basis of creating something new, a story that knows its place and can get along with other stories. Postmodern fiction is a literature of generosity, a literature like Chaucer’s that acknowledges, indeed celebrates, the “messiness” of existence in the context of discovered form.[30] Chaucer was dealing with an existence as least as messy as the lives of later postmodernists whose preoccupations with frame tells and fiction as means of social reality testing were doubt affected by the long shadow of Chaucer’s work. Turning once again to the Tale of Melibee, we see how “it identifies the theme of how texts are borrowed and adapted into new contexts as a central one for the tale.”[31]

Chaucer takes this notion even further by making one of the contexts a kind of weaponized storytelling. The Canterbury Tales is suffused with not only an intertextual reverence for its forebears, but an intratextual relationship. What I mean by this is that the tales can (and do) comment on the previous tales while setting up the tales to come, while at the same time allowing Chaucer to use his “extraordinarily subtle  and wry manipulations of persona”[32] to create an ironic commentary on the pilgrims who told them. Key to this interpretation is the notion of “quiting” whereby some of the tellers use their tales as increasingly vicious commentary upon the other travelers. It starts immediately after the first tale when the belligerent Miller declares “By armes, and by blood and bones/ I kan a noble tale for the nones/ With which I will quite the Knyghtes tale.”[33] This not only creates some narrative tension, but allows Chaucer to balance between the opposing points of view without lending himself completely to one reading or another, engaging in the postmodern dance of obfuscated intention. For the pilgrims on the road to Canterbury storytelling is more than a mere pastime. Chaucer depicts them as engaged on some level in a war of words. This is especially true for the Friar, who uses his tale a narrative cudgel to strike back at the Summoner who has transparently used his own tale as a storytelling weapon. The intratextual gamesmanship is all the more impressive when you realize that Chaucer was able to recognize the inherent power of story as a humanizing force. The notion that tales could operate both ways, and their probably isn’t much difference between the stories we tell ourselves everyday to understand the world and the pilgrims’ tales.

Chaucer came before Modernism, with its overthrow of the values of reason and the strength of narrative interpretation of the world. Postmodern literature emerged as a reaction to modernism, and while the tenets of the movement are occasionally amorphous there are enough elements in Chaucer’s work to put him, if not fully at the postmodern table, than at least a welcome visitor to its house. He wrote himself into The Canterbury Tales, telling his stories as both an observer and participant, as well as author. He subverted the formal structures of English Poetry even as he was helping to define them by artfully and artificially manipulating the structure of the narrative and confounding audience expectations in some senses, even as he recognized and satisfied them in others. He placed The Canterbury Tales within a framework of other works of fiction, cementing its status as a fiction within fiction, adapted from previous fictions and connected to their source. These three characteristics put his work in the realm of the postmodern even if Geoffrey Chaucer was born and died hundreds of years before its flowering. Indeed, his works of literature has been such a strong influence on everything that came after it that he has the singular honor of being perhaps the only medieval poet in the category.

Readers of postmodern texts must approach their work with an extra keen eye toward interpretation, precisely because they have an inherent resistance to interpretation. This is a useful frame of mind to study the framed narrative Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s worldview was indelibly Christian, but his fiction betrays the instabilities in the medieval world. As a means of expression, he seemed fully aware that his poetry was incapable of fully encompassing or explaining human existence. The reader must conclude that for Chaucer, his message is, at least partially, “arti si artifice.”[34] That is to say that the reading of a text like The Canterbury Tales is a process of interpretation, as surely as the act of composing it was. It becomes a kind of collaboration between author and reader, and the separation of the two becomes less and less. This is true of the postmodern novelists, and it was true of Chaucer. He was aware that the big narratives serve to mask the contradictions and instabilities that are inherent in any social organization, whether in the guilds of his native England or in the Italian states of Boccaccio and Petrarch from whom he drew so much inspiration.[35] Chaucer created a legacy with The Canterbury Tales, and whether it was intentional or not he dealt with many of the same issues that later fascinated the postmodernists. This suggests a certain timelessness of fiction, or at the very least a fearful symmetry between elements that figure strongly in both the birth of a literary language and the death of modern literary forms. There is something to be said for reading The Canterbury Tales as a postmodern text, and Chaucer as a medieval postmodernist.

[1] Mary Klages, Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed (New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2007).


[2] Klages, 94.

[3] Lee Patterson, “On the Margin: Postmodernism, Ironic History, and Medieval Studies” Speculum, Vol. 65, No. 1 (Jan., 1990) 90.

[4] Klages, 87.

[5] Henry Barrett Hinckley. “The Framing-TaleModern Language Notes, Vol. 49, No. 2. (Feb., 1934) 69-80.

[6] Patricia Waugh, Metafiction: The Theories and Practice of Self-conscious Fiction (New York: Methuen, 1984) 2.


[7] Sarah Lauzen, “Notes on Metafiction: Every Essay has a title.” Postmodern Fiction: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide Edited by Larry McCaffery. (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1986) 94.


[8] Geoffrey Chaucer, The Riverside Chaucer.Larry Benson, ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987) 23.


[9] Chaucer, 34.

[10] Madan Sarup, An Introductory Guide to Post-structuralism and Postmodernism (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993) 132.


[11] Chaucer, 35

[12] Chaucer, 213.

[13] Ben Yagoda, “Heavy Meta” American Scholar;  Vol. 73 Issue 3 (Summer 2004) 89-101.

[14] John Matthews Manly, “The Stanza-Forms of “Sir Thopas” Modern Philology, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Jul., 1910): 141-144.

[15] Lee Patterson, ““What Man Artow?”: Authorial Self Definition in the Tale of Sir Thopas and The Tale of Melibee,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 11 (1989) 117-75.

[16] Francis P. Magoun, Jr. “The Source of Chaucer’s Rime of Sir ThopasPMLA, Vol. 42, No. 4. (Dec., 1927) 834.

[17] Chaucer, 216.

[18] E. A. Jones, “Loo, Lordes Myne, Heere Is a Fit!’: The Structure of Chaucer’s Sir ThopasThe Review of English Studies, New Series, Vol. 51, No. 202. (May, 2000) 248.

[19] Chaucer, 216.

[20] Edward Foster, “Has Anyone Here Read Melibee?” Chaucer Review Vol. 34 Issue 4, (2000) 401.

[21] Ben Kimpel, “The Narrator of the Canterbury TalesELH, Vol. 20, No. 2. (Jun., 1953), pp. 77-86.

[22] Ian Bishop, The Narrative Art of the Canterbury Tales (London: Guernsey Press Ltd, 1988) 1.

[23] Klages, 80

[24] Chaucer, 67.

[25] Bishop, 17.

[26] Douwe Fokkema, Literary History, Modernism, and Postmodernism. (Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing, 1984) 43.

[27] Peter G. Beidler, “Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale and the DecameronItalica, Vol. 50, No. 2. (Summer, 1973) 266-284.


[28] Robert R. Edwards. “Source, Context, and Cultural Translation in the “Franklin’s Tale” Modern Philology, Vol. 94, No. 2. (Nov., 1996), pp. 141-162.

[29] Lauzen, 99.

[30] William Spanos,  The Detective and the Boundary: Some Notes on the Postmodern  Literary Imagination.” boundary 2, Vol. 1, No. 1. (Autumn, 1972) 147-168.

[31] Amanda Walling. “’In Hyr Tellyng Difference’: Gender, Authority, and Interpretation in the Tale of Melibee” Chaucer Review Vol. 40 Issue 2 (2005) 19.

[32] Patterson, 93.

[33] Chaucer, 67.

[34] Lauzen, 95.

[35] David Wallace, Chaucerian Polity: Absolutist Lineages and Associational Forms in England and Italy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).

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