By Judson Boyce Allen
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Additional resources for A Distinction of Stories: The Medieval Unity of Chaucer's Fair Chain of Narratives for Canterbury
Frederick Tupper's classification of tales and tellers by means of the seven deadly sins has the flavor of Jordan's juxtaposition of the Parson's Tale to the remainder of the poem and has been taken into the construct of the spiritual pilgrimage as an expression of the doctrinal answer to the pilgrims' excesses, which may cure their failings. See his "Chaucer and the Seven Deadly Sins," PMLA 29 (1914): pp. 93-128. Interest in the tales as psychological self-revelations is best exemplified by the scholarship of the Pardoner's Tale.
The reader reactions to which she permits the perceptions of individuals rather than types are those of modern readers, whose attitudes to apparent moral ambivalence would be far more nominalist, or relativist, than any in a medieval audience. 8. Judson Allen must here recant having presumed the axiom of plot him self; he used the fact that the pilgrimage is planned to end in London, with "a banquet in Harry Bailey's public house," to defend the human comedy view, and thus committed both axiomatic sins at once.
The first kind of change, exemplified by part 1 of the tale, is the simple or natural action, controlled by human effort. 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.
A Distinction of Stories: The Medieval Unity of Chaucer's Fair Chain of Narratives for Canterbury by Judson Boyce Allen