The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Ireland, Richard W. "Chaucer's Toxicology." 29 (1994): 74-92.
Both the Pardoner's Tale and the Parson's Tale refer to poisoning. Medieval Christians associated poison with sin as do the Book of Vices and Virtues and the Ancrene Riwle. In the Leges Henrici Primi poisoning is associated with witchcraft. In the Pardoner's Tale Chaucer connects poisoning to the devil, although the young man obtains the poison by merely visiting an apothecary. The swelling identified with poisoning is often presented as beyond the bounds of medical knowledge and is, therefore, attributable to the devil. The Parson also discusses poisoning as an abortive method. John Myrc's Instructions for Parish Priests and the Ancrene Riwle both refer to such activity as sin, again linking poisoning to the devil. Abortive activity was also considered a matter for civil court, though the general absence of such cases indicates the difficulty lawyers had with them. Chaucer uses poisoning in the Pardoner's Tale to connect true Christianity to false religion and the dangers inherent in such falsehood.
Rygiel, Dennis. "A Holistic Approach to the Style of Ancrene Wisse." 16 (1982): 270-81.
The writer of Ancrene Wisse (Ancrene Riwle) uses a simple and informal style and carefully manipulates point of view to engage the reader in the text.
Wenzel, Siegfried. "Notes on the Parson's Tale." 16 (1982): 237-56.
Certain passages in the Parson's Tale are closely related to sermon texts on pride and penitence. The image of the Tree of Penance derives from the Compileison de Seinte Penance which incorporates parts of the Ancrene Riwle. For all of its borrowing from sermons, the Parson's Tale is not a sermon, but a handbook devoted to penitence.