This essay unpacks “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” showing its emphasis on feminine autonomy and respect as possible solutions to the problem of sexual assault. This piece connects Chaucer’s work to contemporary concerns and provides a clear, accessible interpretation of one of the most famous tales.
This recording features medieval literature professor Jess B. Bessinger, Jr. reading the General Prologue and Chaucer’s Retraction in the original Middle English. The recording demonstrates what Middle English sounded like and helps readers appreciate how the English language has changed since Chaucer’s time.
Scholar Jenny Stevens analyzes in detail how Chaucer’s description of the Merchant illuminates the Merchant’s business savvy, fashion sense, and social standing. She then performs a close reading of his tale, observing why the tale proves such a challenge to interpret.
Per its title, this Slate piece provides a history of mooning from its early mentions in Roman periods to its wider use in medieval times. The essay cites one of Chaucer’s more famous tales—"The Miller’s Tale”—explicitly as an example and offers humorous, helpful backstory on the narrative.