The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Berger, Harry, Jr. "The F-Fragment of the Canterbury Tales: Part II." 1 (1967): 135-56.
The Franklin's Tale is highly symbolic. Unlike the Squire, the Franklin has the ability to control his tale: rhetorical devices do not get in the way. The tale presents the dangers of recreation, while at the same time, it is a recreation. The Franklin aligns himself with the forces of common sense as opposed to those of courtly love. He spends a good deal of time on magic, and in the process "magic, courtly love, [and] fiction are given qualified approval as amusements for the social hour" (148). The Franklin's digressions demonstrate his view of life--that the future is not a decline from youth, but full of promise--and they follow the Franklin's pattern of "withdrawal and return, play and work" (151). The conclusion of the tale attempts to examine the application of old knightly ideals to a new world filled with commerce and clerkly activities.
Charnes, Linda. "'This werk unresonable': Narrative Frustration and Generic Redistribution in Chaucer's Franklin's Tale." 23 (1989): 300-15.
In the Franklin's Tale Chaucer twists narrative development, alters the speed of the story, and shifts from genre to genre in order to weaken "the viability of heroic and courtly romance themes" (300). Chaucer creates lacunae in both space and time, allowing violence to occur. The Franklin's treatment of Dorigen taxes her patience beyond all measure while valorizing patience. Dorigen's focus on the rocks is a manifestation of her desire to make Arveragus suffer the way she suffers. She then substitutes Aurelius for the rocks which have been filling Arveragus's place. Aurelius introduces a new genre and a new space in which Dorigen plays, though her play leads to his despair. Dorigen's revenge is to replace Aurelius's "quest" for her with Arveragus's quest for knightly fame. Finally, however, all characters participate in a quest that eventually results in truth. The Franklin's Tale forces readers to recognize the "distance between literary convention and psychological veracity" (314).
Clark, John W. "Does the Franklin Interrupt the Squire?" 7 (1972): 160-61.
Internal evidence suggests that Chaucer probably did intend to finish the Squire's Tale.
Crane, Susan. "The Franklin as Dorigen." 24 (1990): 236-52.
The Franklin's insecurity about his rank draws the attention of readers to concerns about class. As a woman, Dorigen holds a marginal position similar to the Franklin's social position. Chaucer thus associates class and gender in order to examine "the ways in which romance imagines the possibilities and the constraints of self-defintion" (237). The Franklin and Dorigen also have similar relationships to clerical writings: both refuse the authority of clerkly writings. Dorigen resists suicide in the same way the Franklin resists romance conventions.
Duncan, Charles F. "'Straw for youre gentilesse': The Gentle Franklin's Interruption of the Squire." 5 (1970): 161-64.
The Franklin's interruption of the Squire releases the Knight and the Host from an embarassing situation. The Host cannot stop the Squire without presuming a social position he does not possess, and the Knight cannot halt the Squire without embarassing them both. The Franklin's age and social position allow him to suspend the Squire's story without offending his social betters.
Fyler, John M. "Love and Degree in the Franklin's Tale." 21 (1987): 321-37.
When the Franklin describes Arveragus and Dorigen's marriage, he says, "the name of soveraynetee,/ That wolde he [Arveragus] have for shame of his degree" (751-52). Properly understood, this statement suggests that Arveragus wants the "name" of sovereignty in order to offset his low social position. The name of sovereignty is a common romance motif in which the knight unknown can barely present his suit because of the difference in social station between himself and his lady. Paradoxically, once the lovers are married the male gains sovereignty. Chaucer treats the paradox of courtly love in other works including Troilus and Criseyde, the Parliament of Fowls, the Legend of Ariadne from the Legend of Good Women, and the Knight's Tale. Though the Franklin would like to believe that members of all classes can attain gentillesse, his tale suggests that ultimately gentillesse is the province of the upper classes. For its focus on these issues, the Franklin's Tale seems to respond to the Clerk's Tale most immediately.
Hilberry, Jane. "'And in oure madnesse everemoore we rave': Technical Language in the Canon's Yeoman's Tale." 21 (1987): 435-43.
In the Canon's Yeoman's Tale Chaucer shows "the appealing, poetic quality of alchemical language" (435). Like the Franklin, Pertelote, and the narrator of House of Fame, the Canon's Yeoman is clearly attracted to the sound of technical language, though he recognizes alchemy as dangerous.
Kahrl, Stanley J. "Chaucer's Squire's Tale and the Decline of Chivalry." 7 (1973): 194-209.
The magical elements in the Squire's Tale have no sources because the Squire wants to create an effect, not a congruous story which suggests a movement towards the exotic and disorderly in late medieval courts. The Squire chooses an unusual setting in order to surpass Arthurian romances. Like the Knight, the Squire uses occupatio, but his comes off as a proud demonstration of his rhetorical knowledge. The Franklin deliberately interrupts the Squire to save him from embarrassing himself and to avoid any futher misconstructions of eloquence and gentillesse. The Squire's inability to tell his tale and to present an accurate representation of chivalric virtues demonstrates the decline of chivalry from an ideal code of behavior to a game.
Knight, Stephen. "Rhetoric and Poetry in the Franklin's Tale." 4 (1969): 14-30.
Chaucer must be seen as a great poet, and his poetic works should be treated as poetry. Analysis in terms of rhetorical devices can help to reveal Chaucer's greatness. In the Franklin's Tale, Chaucer uses various styles to create the different characters and to emphasize particular elements of each scene. For example, where the Franklin speaks as Franklin, he uses short, choppy sentences. Once into telling his tale, however, his style becomes smoother. When Dorigen speaks, she uses a number of rhetorical devices which characterize her as highly emotional. Aurelius's language and indirect speech give us a picture of him as well: the language he uses suggests the highly decorative world of courtly love. As a result of the rhetoric, Dorigen's lament becomes slightly ironic. When she tells Arveragus of her plight, the language and style heighten the effect. In order to appreciate fully Chaucer's artistry, we must look beyond rhetoric to the effects which Chaucer can create with it.
Lee, Anne Thompson. "'A woman true and fair': Chaucer's Portrayal of Dorigen in the Franklin's Tale." 19 (1984): 169-78.
In the Franklin's Tale Chaucer examines a real marriage, not a theory of marriage. Dorigen's decision to consent to Aurelius is based on her real fears about Arveragus and her position in a society that forces women to accept passively their circumstances instead of taking action to change them. Dorigen's complaint is merely the Franklin's way of gaining all possible sympathy for her. Though Arveragus makes the only decision possible when he discovers her promise to Aurelius, Dorigen must ultimately pay the price. The act of going to keep her promise brings her closest to complete despair. The Franklin, however, manages to leave his audience with a picture of all the qualities he admires in the upper class.
Pearcy, Roy J. "Chaucer's Franklin and the Literary Vavasour." 8 (1973): 33-59.
In medieval society, vavasours as a class exist between the aristocracy and the serfs. From this position, a vavasour can offer advice to the more ambitious and hospitality to knights, particularly since the vavasour, as a landholder, is stationary as compared to knights who travel a great deal. The Franklin has many of the stock qualities of the vavasour. Romances typically draw knights and vavasours into conflict in order to explore their different lifestyles and devotion to different ideals through "debate." As the feudal system declined, however, disorder occurred in class relationships. As Gautier le Leu's Le Sot Chevalier shows, however, the relationship between knight and vavasour can collapse. The lay and fabliau may use the meeting between knight and vavasour as the context for the whole work as in Le Vair Palefroi and Le Chevalier a la Robe Vermeille. The fabliau vavasour is stubbornly practical, and thus becomes the object of satire as part of an attempt to restore social order. The Squire and the Franklin seem to show the separation between knight and vavasour. The Franklin chooses to tell a lay in order to confirm his position as part of the Squire's class, but the Franklin is unable to escape his practical, rational approach to life. The final result is that the Franklin seems to look nostalgically at the passing chivalric world.
Peck, Russell A. "Sovereignty and the Two Worlds of the Franklin's Tale." 1 (1967): 253-71.
Chaucer does not present his ideal view of marriage through the Franklin's Tale. Instead, he examines the discernment of truth in a world concerned with illusions. The Franklin, himself, has attempted to impose his desires on the world outside himself, and thus he also exemplifies the problem of recognizing truth. He desperately wants the other pilgrims to see him as a gentleman, but constantly reveals himself as of the middle class. In his tale, Dorigen and Arveragus also attempt to present a false front to a society that does not follow the natural order. Because that order has been subverted, confusion occurs. When Dorigen goes to meet Aurelius as Arveragus orders, she releases the characters from illusions, thus restoring order.
Peterson, Joyce E. "The Finished Fragment: A Reassessment of the Squire's Tale." 5 (1970): 62-74.
Chaucer intentionally made the Squire's Tale a fragment. Examining it in terms of the larger structure of the Canterbury Tales, the narrator's point of view, and the action of tale demonstrate its completeness. Sir Thopas and the Monk's Tale show that intentional fragments result when the listeners or readers become frustrated. The Franklin halts the Squire by pretending his tale is done, showing the Franklin's sensitivity to social rank. The Squire's Tale thus becomes a "thematic link" to the Franklin's Tale. Instead of demonstrating how he is not like Damyan (Merchant's Tale), he shows the weakness of his own morality as it is based on the difference between "vulgarity and elegance, not cupiditas and caritas" (70). The Squire's Tale depicts the carnality of courtly tradition (gentillesse) and the unnaturalness of a caste system. Since the Squire has demonstrated all of this before the Franklin interrupts him, the Franklin can be said to have stopped him at the point where the action ends.
Spencer, William. "Are Chaucer's Pilgrims Keyed to the Zodiac?" 4 (1970): 147-70.
The sequence of the pilgrims in the General Prologue suggests that they are keyed to the zodiac. Readers can view each pilgrim in terms of the influence of the planets and the stars. Among the pilgrims whom a knowledge of the medieval science of the zodiac helps to illuminate are the Knight, the Squire, the Yeoman, the Prioress, the Monk, the Friar, the Merchant, the Clerk, the Man of Law, the Franklin, the Cook, the Shipman, the Physician, the Wife of Bath, the Parson, the Miller, the Manciple, the Reeve, the Summoner, and the Pardoner.
Storm, Melvin. "Chaucer's Franklin and Distraint of Knighthood." 19 (1984): 162-68.
In his prologue, the Franklin states his desire for his son to be more like the Squire. In fact, the Franklin's wishes this more than "twenty pound worth lond" (682). This remark refers to the process of distraint by which a king could raise an army, knighting all those who held land producing twenty pounds of profit per year. In this light, the Franklin's comments indicate that he values gentillesse more than the monetary possessions required for him or his son to be knighted.
Witke, Charles. "Franklin's Tale, F 1139-1151." 1 (1966): 33-36.
By including a passage on magic, the Franklin reveals a personal interest in magic literature and shows himself familiar with Breton lays. The magic that occurs in his tale, however, appears only in a possible source for Boccaccio, not, as has been suggested, in a lay which is no longer extant.