The Canterbury Tales Essay

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In the following essay, Alexander examines the treatment of Jews and anti-Semitism in the "Prioress's Tale."

The history of the criticism of Chaucer's "Prioress's Tale" affords proof, if proof be needed, that the attitudes and events of their own days affect how critics read literature, even literature of the distant past. As Florence Ridley notes, the question of anti-semitism in the "Prioress's Tale" has in recent years become an important critical issue, to the extent that most contemporary readings of the text seem to involve, explicitly or implicitly, a response to this problem. The explanation is not far to seek. Critics cannot view the "Tale" after the holocaust in quite the same way as they viewed it before.

Since the holocaust anti-semitism has become academically discredited: it is now one of the few generally acknowledged intellectual heresies. So for a critic today to expound the "Tale" and to...

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This section contains 5,078 words
(approx. 13 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Canterbury Tales Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Canterbury Tales from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.