Chaucer's Clerk's Tale: The Griselda Story Received, Rewritten, Illustrated

1st Edition

Judith Bronfman

Published October 4, 2019
Reference - 174 Pages
ISBN 9780367357269 - CAT# K441818
Series: Routledge Library Editions: Chaucer

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Originally published in 1994. This surveys the origin and development of one of Chaucer’s most problematic characters, Griselda, who through the centuries has challenged the horizon of expectations of many an audience. Starting with Boccaccio’s Decameron and suggesting in turn its precursors in whole or in part, Bronfman goes on to summarize the reigning opinions of Chaucer’s heroine and her situation.

The advance of feminist perspectives on medieval literature had the result that for many the Clerk’s Tale has political overtones where the Walter-Griselda marriage may serve as a metaphor for, among other things, the state or right order. This study looks at the story from a long view, from its sources to the flood of critical interpretations - the creative reception of Chaucer’s story, outlining the many rewritings of Griselda from Chaucer to the twentieth century. A special chapter considers the Griselda story as represented in illustrations as well. 

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