The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Hodges, Laura F. "The Wife of Bath's Costumes: Reading the Subtexts." 27 (1993): 359-76.
Chaucer gives a number of details about the dress of the Wife of Bath, including some items assiociated with estates satire such as a headress and new shoes. Handlyng Synne includes a story about pride in which the headress figures prominently as an indication of the most deadly sin. During the Middle Ages, extravagant headgear was also associated with quarrelsome women. The Wife's coverchiefs seem to indicate her submissive station as a wife, but they also proclaim her wealth as a cloth-maker. The Wife's travelling attire is the same as her Sunday clothes in practicality and display of wealth. The Wife's costuming also refers to the fair exterior and foul interior pictured by Guillaume de Deguilleville as associated with pride.
Kinneavy, Gerald. "Gower's Confessio Amantis and the Penitentials." 19 (1984): 144-61.
The Confessio amantis contains a significant amount of material drawn from confession handbooks, those both for the laity and for the priesthood, as comparison with Robert of Brunne's Handlyng Synne and John Myrc's Instructions for Parish Priests shows. Amans makes a heartfelt confession to Genius in secret, and Genius responds with the mild manner counseled for confessors. Both Amans, the penitent, and Genius, the confessor, manifest an awareness of the necessity for the penitent to reveal everything about his sin in order for the confessor to respond properly. The instructions for the laity also inform the Confessio amantis. The penitent seeks to be shriven while alive and takes care to show the sincerity of his confession. In the end, reason reasserts control over courtly love.