The Canterbury Tales Essay

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In the following essay, Collette contends that the Prioress exhibits a "sensibility that dwells on the small, the particular . . . as a means of arousing deep emotional response."

Chaucer's Prioress has been the subject of lively literary debate for the better part of the twentieth century. Not content to let her go, in the words of Cummings's poem, "into the now of forever," modern critics have insisted that Madame Eglentyne face the now of the twentieth century and answer for her faults. Critics have reproved her vanity, chastized her worldliness, shaken their heads over her exaggerated sensibility, and even explored the hidden anal-sadistic focus of her tale.

Where, we might ask, in all of this is Chaucer's Prioress? The answer may lie in the fact that Chaucer's fashionable Prioress and her litel tale were more fashionable than most modern critics realize. Her concern with emotion, tenderness, and the diminutive...

(read more from the Critical Essay #7 section)

This section contains 4,944 words
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Buy The Canterbury Tales Study Guide
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The Canterbury Tales from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.