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 I." 1 (1966): 88-102.
The Squire's Tale may be about magic, but the Squire tells the tale in such a way that he spends an inordinately large amount of time announcing what he will not include. The material that the Squire chooses to include is often complicated and awkward, but it reveals his interests and how he wants his audience to think of him. Clearly, the Squire desires the noble life of the past as does the Knight, but he gets in the way of his own story. Unfortunately, the Squire is not as skilled a narrator as the Knight. Where the Knight can use disclaimers, occupatio, apologies, and style shifts to control the tale,the Squire's use of the same devices indicates that he has lost control of his story. The Franklin points to the Squire's advantage of birth and urges the Squire to cultivate his natural tendencies of gentillesse into knightly virtues, but he also points out the dangers of the aristocratic idyll. Like the Knight and the Squire, the Franklin also wants to see the renewal of courtly ideals, but he realizes that one must be detached from them to see their weaknesses and correct them.
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.
Jordan, Carmel. "Soviet Archeology and the Setting of the Squire's Tale." 22 (1987): 128-40.
Archaelogical research reveals that the city of Sarai, the setting for the Squire's Tale, was a center of international trade. Chaucer could have gained knowledge of Sarai from Genoese merchants who had strong trade ties to Sarai. Records indicate the exotic beauty of the city in art, sculpture, and architecture, and ruins also show that the Khans who lived in Sarai had a great interest in magic. In the Squire's Tale Chaucer skillfully combines setting with details in the tale.
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.
Lionarons, Joyce Tally. "Magic, Machines, and Deception: Technology in the Canterbury Tales." 27 (1993): 377-86.
Because magic and machinery were associated with secrecy, in the Canterbury Tales they help aid in trickery, as in the Squire's Tale. The horse of brass seems to be a technological marvel simply because knowledge of how it works is unavailable to common people. Often such knowledge was used for practical jokes, but occasionally such knowledge could create trouble, as in the Franklin's Tale when the Clerk of Orleans removes the rocks. Like the horse in the Squire's Tale, the disappearance of the rocks was beyond the reach of medieval technology. In the Canon's Yeoman's Tale readers experience the full development of a technological distrust.
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.