By Judson Boyce Allen
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Extra resources for A Distinction of Stories: The Medieval Unity of Chaucer's Fair Chain of Narratives for Canterbury
20 below. 17. Boggess, "Averrois Cordubensis," pp. 20, 23. "Tragedy indeed [and by extension poetry] is not an art representative of men themselves, just as they are, as individual things falling into perception, but it is the art representative of virtuous customs and praiseworthy actions and beliefs of holy peo ple... " This and all other translations from Latin are our own. 18. G. L. Kittredge, "Chaucer's Discussion of Marriage," in Chaucer: Modern Essays in Criticism, ed. Edward Wagenknecht (New York, 1959), pp.
The Knight's Tale begins with an achieved order. Theseus has married the Amazon Hippolyta, has made Emelye his ward, and is returning home in triumph. In his progress he meets the ladies of Thebes. The scene is very like the one in which Dante idealizes Trajan as an exemplum of royal humility,67 and there is every likelihood that Chaucer meant the compliment, since the pagan Theseus is so perfectly a model ruler. In being presented with the problem of Thebes, Theseus meets the su preme test. Thebes is, for the Middle Ages, the generic bad city, as the Rome of Aeneas is the generic good city.
At the most literal level, the pilgrimage plot results in geography-based recommendations of an order for the tales, most notably the Bradshaw Shift. See Robert A. Pratt, "The Order of the Canterbury Tales," PMLA 66 (1951): 1141-67. The Six-Text Edition follows the proposal that the tales from the Shipman through the Nun's Priest, group B2, move to a position immediately after the Man of Law's Tale. See below in chapter 3 for a discussion of the appropriateness of trusting to the geographical signposts given in the links as key evidence for Chaucer's final design.
A Distinction of Stories: The Medieval Unity of Chaucer's Fair Chain of Narratives for Canterbury by Judson Boyce Allen