The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Bloomfield, Morton W. "The Friar's Tale as a Liminal Tale." 17 (1983): 286-91.
The Friar's Tale is a tale of a liminal experience in which the summoner fails to avoid passing over the threshold of death and hell.
Dean, James. "Spiritual Allegory and Chaucer's Narrative Style: Three Test Cases." 18 (1984): 273-87.
Although Chaucer rarely develops allegory to the fullest extent, he creates shadings of allegory that deepen his works. Such shadings can be found in the Friar's, Pardoner's, and Canon's Yeoman's Tales.
East, W. G. "'By preeve which that is demonstratif.'" 12 (1977): 78-82.
The Wife of Bath's Tale, the Summoner's Tale, and the Friar's Tale discuss the weight of authority versus experience in resolving scholarly debate.
Edwards, A. S. G. "Friar's Tale, D 1489: 'At oure prayere.'" 28 (1993): 146-47.
The use of the word "prayere" (1489) in the Friar's Tale is probably a corruption resulting from transmission of "pray" or "prey." By this reading, the devils are at their "prey."
Fleming, John V. "The Summoner's Prologue: An Iconographic Adjustment." 2 (1967): 95-107.
The Summoner's Prologue is best understood in the context of its strong mendicant overtones and the way in which the Maria Misericordis legend has been inverted as well as its specific relation to lay confraternities. Together with the Friar's Tale, the Summoner's Prologue and Tale illustrate the crisis in Christianity in Chaucer's time.
Gallacher, Patrick. "The Summoner's Tale and Medieval Attitudes towards Sickness." 21 (1986): 200-12.
In the Summoner's Tale, Chaucer alludes to the non-natural elements Galen posits as influential in recovering from sickness. In contradicting the medical tradition, the friar follows St. Ambrose who criticized physicians for instructing patients to avoid sorrow and contemplation while ill. The Summoner's Tale and the Friar's Tale, engage the dialectic between self and other, but this dialectic is affected by debate between the body and the soul in both tales. The Friar focuses on aesthetics and objective knowledge as a technique to distance oneself from the other. The Summoner focuses on the body. Integrating the concern for the body and soul results in self-knowledge which neither the Summoner nor the Friar attain.
Ginsberg, Warren. "'This worthy lymytour was cleped Huberd': A Note on the Friar's Name." 21 (1986): 53-57.
The Friar's name, Huberd, is an ironic reference to St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters. The possible allusion to St. Hubert's conversion adds irony to the Friar's portrait and tale.
Harwood, Britton J. "Chaucer on 'Speche': House of Fame, the Friar's Tale, and the Summoner's Tale." 26 (1992): 343-49.
The House of Fame, the Friar's Tale, and the Summoner's Tale share the image of a wheel and a focus on sound. Together these three function like the three parts of a sentence. In the House of Fame, Chaucer opposes the castle of Fame and the house of Rumor. The Friar's Tale works because the same group of words can have two meanings. The Summoner's Tale operates on exactly the opposite principle: many groups of words all mean the same thing.
Hennedy, Hugh L. "The Friar's Summoner's Dilemma." 5 (1971): 213-17.
The summoner in the Friar's Tale is caught between two curses. In the beginning, he curses himself. At the end, the old woman curses him. Though her curse is conditional, the Summoner's curse of himself has left him with no escape. Because his curse was made in earnest, the Summoner cannot escape his damnation.
Leicester, H. Marshall, Jr. "'No vileyns word': Social Context and Performance in Chaucer's Friar's Tale." 17 (1982): 21-39.
The Summoner's attack on the Friar provides a context in which the Friar may tell his tale. In telling the tale, the Friar establishes his social superiority to summoners. The desire to proclaim learning and social superiority leads the Friar to make the summoner in his tale psychologically inconsistent: the summoner has little reaction to the announcement that his companion is a demon. After the digression on summoners, the Friar draws on the exemplum tradition to camouflage his attack on the Summoner. At the end of the tale, the Friar's anger has not been entirely released, but for his exemplum to be effective, he must maintain a separation between the pilgrim Summoner and the summoner of the tale. The Friar's Tale collapses at the end because he tries to include within it the contradictory impulses of love and hate.
Lenaghan, R. T. "The Irony of the Friar's Tale." 7 (1973): 281-94.
The Friar's Tale is ironic both as a tale and as part of the pilgrimage, and the tale is both sermon and satire. The relational inequality between the characters, the legalism by which the summoner curses himself, and the imagery all contribute to the narrative and its irony. In the end the Friar's Tale turns on its teller, since the Friar's anger has no place in his prayer at the end of his tale. The ironies of the tale depend on Christian morality by which the Friar finally indicts himself, thus allowing Chaucer to satirize the clergy.
Miller, Clarence H. "The Devil's Bows and Arrows: Another Clue to the Identity of the Yeoman in Chaucer's Friar's Tale." 30 (1995): 211-14.
The arrows that the yeoman carries in the Friar's Tale are designed to remind Chaucer's audience of the fiery darts of temptation the devil shoots at Christians. The yeoman, thus, is really a devil.
Passon, Richard H. "'Entente' in Chaucer's Friar's Tale." 2 (1968): 166-71.
Chaucer uses "entente" to suggest a moral dimension beneath the fabliau elements of the Friar's Tale. In telling his tale, the Friar steps into the role of preacher, suggesting that evil may appear good, but that evil can always be discerned by examining "entente." Examining "entente" adds to the irony of the story, since the Friar's malicious intent becomes clear at the end of his tale.
Richardson, Janette. "Friar and Summoner, the Art of Balance." 9 (1975): 227-36.
In the end, neither the Friar nor the Summoner wins the contest between them. Chaucer parallels the Friar and Summoner in their appearances, musical talents or lack thereof, vices, and shallow spirituality. Their tales are also structurally paralleled. Close reading of the Friar's and Summoner's tales demonstrates that both protagonists reflect the tellers and have features of the opposing pilgrim.
Stroud, T. A. "Chaucer's Friar as Narrator." 8 (1973): 65-69.
By demanding brief introductions, the Friar shows himself a literal-minded person who makes careful distinctions. Chaucer makes several important changes to the Friar's Tale. He leaves out one of the curses and carefully chooses the objects of the insincere curses so that these objects are more valuable. In another change, the Friar also makes the summoner ask practical questions of the devil. Furthermore, the widow's responses to the summoner heighten readers' suspense, which culminates at the moment when the summoner displays his guilt and damns himself. Chaucer uses the literal-minded Friar to create a comic summoner who takes things much too seriously.