The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Brown, Peter. "The Containment of Symkyn: The Function of Space in the Reeve's Tale." 14 (1980): 225-36.
Chaucer's source for the Reeve's Tale, the French fabliau Le Meunier et les II Clercs, treats space far more generally than Chaucer, who presents a three-dimensional locale to his readers. Establishing distance and placement of the beds in the tale creates a stage for the later farcical actions. As the speed of the action increases in the course of the tale, Chaucer shifts senses so that the characters do not see the room, but feel it, further delineating the space. Symkyn's discourse after his trickery also employs terms of space. By getting all of their grain from the Miller, John and Alan reduce the space he controls at the end of the tale, and the spatial elements of the tale underscore this action.