The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Garbáty, Thomas J. "Satire and Regionalism: The Reeve and His Tale." 9 (1973): 1-8.
By indicating that the Reeve comes from Baldeswelle, Chaucer creates regional satire since inhabitants of that area had been emigrating to London in droves. As Chaucer describes him, the Reeve would probably have been an agent for Norfolk landowners, and as such, the other pilgrims would have viewed the Reeve with suspicion. Because of the increasing influence of the Central Midlands dialect, the pilgrims would have thought the Reeve's speech barbarous and barely understandable. Thus the Reeve's imitation of John's and Alan's northern dialect appears as a funny attempt to defend his own dialect.
Moorman, Charles. "The Prioress as Pearly Queen." 13 (1978): 25-33.
In the General Prologue, Chaucer contrasts appearance with reality in the portrait of the Prioress. The Prioress seeks to impress the other pilgrims with upper-class manners, but her middle class, Cockney origins cannot be completely hidden. Chaucer tells his audience that the Prioress is from a particular part of London, so she spoke a London dialect influenced by Kentish and Southeastern dialects. She may have spoken French with a Flemish accent, following Lady Elizabeth, a nun in the Stratford convent. Finally by telling a miracle of the Virgin, the Prioress emphasizes her bourgeois background, since that segment of society favored such tales.