The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Dean, James. "Chaucer's Repentance: A Likely Story." 24 (1989): 64-76.
Though present-day readers are skeptical that Chaucer cried in repentance on his deathbed, the placement of the Parson's Tale and the "Retraction" at the end of the Canterbury Tales suggests that Chaucer followed Langland, Mandeville, Deguilleville, and Gower in retraction, but Chaucer changes the tradition. In works by each of the other four, a journey or pilgrimage is followed by episodic experience or storytelling, followed by age and perhaps penitence. Given the prevalence of this pattern, Thomas Gascoigne's account of Chaucer's deathbed repentence is likely to be true.