Law and Religion in Chaucer's England

1st Edition

Henry Ansgar Kelly

Routledge
Published June 28, 2010
Reference - 416 Pages
ISBN 9781409407515 - CAT# Y238977
Series: Variorum Collected Studies

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Summary

These essays, in a second collection by Professor Kelly, investigate legal and religious subjects touching on the age and places in which Geoffrey Chaucer lived and wrote, especially as reflected in the more contemporary sections of the Canterbury Tales. Topics include the canon law of incest (consanguinity, affinity, spiritual kinship), the prosecution of sexual offences and regulation of prostitution (especially in the Stews of Southwark), legal opinions about wife-beating, and the laws of nature concerning gender distinction (focusing on Chaucer's Pardoner) and the technicalities of castration. Sacramental and devotional practices are discussed, especially dealing with confession and penitence and the Mass. Chaucer's Prioress serves as the starting point for a treatment of regulations of nuns in medieval England and also for the presence, real and virtual, of Jews and Saracens (Muslims and pagans) in England and conversion efforts of the time, as well as sympathetic or antipathetic attitudes towards non-Christians. Included is a case study on the legend of St Cecilia in Chaucer and elsewhere, and as patron of music; and a discussion of canonistic opinion on the licit limits of medicinal magic (in connection with the ministrations of John the Carpenter in the Miller's Tale).

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