The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Gilmartin, Kristine. "Array in the Clerk's Tale." 13 (1979): 234-46.
In the Clerk's Tale, Chaucer uses Griselda's clothing to make the tale more realistic and to discuss the themes of knowledge, mutability, and degree. The first mention of Griselda's clothing draws attention to the difference between her social class and that of Walter. Until Walter dresses Griselda in fine clothes, the people do not recognize her virtues. This lack of perception suggests the issue of knowledge. Walter's tests are also related to knowledge: he wants to know if Griselda has the virtues he believes she has and wants proof that becoming his wife has not diminished her virtues. The attempts to know Griselda lead, however, to false knowledge because they are based on lies. Chaucer's emphasis on the difference between Griselda's poor clothes, her rich ones, and the corresponding change in status, suggests that Chaucer examines other themes in addition to marriage. [For an explanation of the dual publishing of this article, see "Communication," 14 (1979): 96.]
Hodges, Laura F. "A Reconsideration of the Monk's Costume." 26 (1991): 133-46.
Careful examination of the Monk's portrait in light of medieval customs and rules about the attire of monks indicates that the Monk's costume falls within the boundaries of acceptable clothing, and is not excessively rich. Because his clothing is permissible, the Monk's portrait cannot be considered a satire.
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.