The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Kelly, H. Ansgar. "Sacraments, Sacramentals, and Lay Piety in Chaucer's England." 28 (1993): 5-22.
All members of the laity were required to attend Matins, Lauds, and Mass on Sundays and to abstain from working on such holydays. Women were required to attend additional holydays. Absolon was the holy water clerk for his parish; Jankyn was the parish clerk. Both offices required that the clerk be unmarried or only married once and that the clerk continue to wear his surplice and tonsure. Parish clerks were also responsible for the education of the laity, though most often they educated the boys. Parishioners were required to take Communion once a year, but the devout, like Margery Kempe, might take Communion up to once a week. Holy water was considered only a sacramental, not capable of removing venial sins. Relics were rarely owned by the laity. Most often they were kept in churches so that the laity could venerate them.
Munson, William. "Knowing and Doing in Everyman." 19 (1985): 252-71.
Everyman is structured on a pattern of knowing and doing which creates a sense of rhythm in the play. This pattern may also be seen in terms of "act and learning leading into new act" (255). The explicit naming of Knowledge and Good Deeds lends greater visibility to the patterned relationship of the two elements. In the end, only Knowledge and Good Deeds remain, and Good deeds becomes superior to Knowledge since Everyman can die "with knowledge but not with certainty" (267).
Orme, Nicholas. "Chaucer and Education." 16 (1981): 38-59.
Concern with education is a part of Chaucer's work, though it does not figure as a central concern in most of it. In Chaucer's source, the home was a place of instruction, particularly in religious prayers and rituals both for aristocratic and common homes alike. Virginia is the best example of an educated aristocratic lady who was taught on a curriculum nearly equivalent to the masculine one. Though beatings were common, Chaucer suggests that masters exercise patience. Chaucer treats his clerks and university scholars gently, not holding them to the same behavioral standards as prioresses or monks, and he shows a society in which both the upper and the middle classes are literate. The Wife of Bath's Tale is most blatantly about education, particularly in human relations.
Owen, Charles A., Jr. "A Certein Nombre of Conclusions: The Nature and Nurture of Children in Chaucer." 16 (1981): 60-75.
Chaucer depicts parents as vitally important in raising their children, as seen in the Manciple's, Wife of Bath's, Knight's, Squire's, and Franklin's Tales. The Manciple's explicit reference to his mother, however, suggests that teaching has only a limited effect on a person. A number of pilgrims and characters behave childishly, among them the Friar and Summoner, Absolon, and January. Chaucer also focuses on children in the Prioress's and Monk's Tales.
Strohm, Paul A. "Chaucer's Audience(s): Fictional, Implied, Actual." 18 (1983): 137-45.
The pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales show us part of Chaucer's conception of his audience. Given evidence from his works, critics can establish an implied audience having a common body of knowledge. Chaucer's audience was able to recognize biblical allusions, for example. In light of the patronage system under which Chaucer wrote, scholars must admit the existence of an authorial intent to write for a specific audience, although most works were read by people outside of the intended group or person. Present knowledge of Chaucer's audience derives from the clues previously mentioned, but much remains to be examined.