The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Chickering, Howell. "Form and Interpretation in the Envoy to the Clerk's Tale." 29 (1995): 352-72.
The instability of the Envoy to the Clerk's Tale solidifies the rest of the tale as ambiguous and filled with conflicting ironies. That the placement of the Envoy differs between the Ellesmere and the Hengwrt manuscripts adds further confusion to the issue. The Envoy is actually an ironic comment on the teller of the tale, Griselda, and the Wife of Bath. While the Envoy has "a highly specific poetic character" (358), it demands an entirely indeterminate interpretation. Like the French poems from which it comes, the Envoy operates on intense sound patterns, like those described by Deschamps in L'Art de dictier. The complexity of the rhyme scheme shows that Chaucer consciously fashioned this poem to "say something difficult with great ease and mastery" (361), a result Chaucer also achieves through poetic pacing. The combination of these elements makes the poem aesthetically pleasing, though ultimately ambiguous.
Hargreaves, Henry. "Lydgate's 'A Ram's Horn.'" 10 (1976): 255-59.
The Ellesmere version of "A Ram's Horn" contains seven stanzas discussing class. The version in the Bannatyne manuscript, however, has been altered by a Scots scribe. The alterations in the Ashmole manuscript make its version an anti-feminist work, suggesting that the more courtly audience liked the original "Ram's Horn" which was then altered for the pleasure of the populace.
Keiser, George R. "In Defense of the Bradshaw Shift." 12 (1978): 191-201.
In accepting the Ellesmere order, critics must deal with the absence of the Man of Law's Endlink, references to Rochester and Sittingbourne, and feminine pronouns. Merely adding the Endlink and altering the order takes a critic beyond manuscript authority. Connecting the Man of Law's Endlink to the Shipman's Tale removes the problem of place references and creates a more unified grouping.
Miller, Miriam Youngerman. "Illustrations of the Canterbury Tales for Children: A Mirror of Chaucer's World." 27 (1993): 293-304.
Though most scholars appreciate the depiction of medieval life found in works such as the Wilton diptych and in the portraits of the pilgrims in the Ellesmere manuscript, most nineteenth- and twentieth-century illustrators have prefered contemporary styles, using art nouveau and historicism. Modern illustrators often stray far from the descriptions of the pilgrims in the General Prologue and ignore descriptive details from the tales themselves. The illustrators discussed range from Mrs. Harveis (1882) to Reg Cartwright.
Owen, Charles A., Jr. "Pre-1450 Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales: Relationships and Significance (Part I)." 23 (1988): 1-29.
Recent examination of the manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales suggests that readers reconsider of the accepted order. The evidence shows that the Hengwrt scribe and the Ellesmere scribe are not the same and that the primacy of Hengwrt is not incontrovertible.
Owen, Charles A., Jr. "Pre-1450 Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales: Relationships and Significance (Part II)." 23 (1988): 95-116.
No evidence suggests that any of the d manuscripts are the product of a group of scribes in a shop. The b manuscript group seems to have been produced after 1450. Three methods of manuscript production can be discerned after careful study. First, exemplars were gathered for specific occasions, resulting in manuscripts like Hengwrt, Harley 7334, Cambridge Dd, Ellesmere, and Cambridge Gg. Second, copies were made of pre-existing manuscripts. Third, a manuscript might be the product of amassing "exemplars made for a previous manuscript" (114).
Tschann, Judith. "The Layout of Sir Thopas in the Ellesmere, Hengwrt, Cambridge Dd.4.24, and Cambridge Gg.4.27 Manuscripts." 20 (1985): 1-13.
The presentation of the Tale of Sir Thopas in the Ellesmere, Hengwrt, and Cambridge manuscripts gives readers different ways of reading it, and suggests the ability of the scribes who presented the poem to read and understand the story they were copying as if it were a piece of architecture.