The Critics and the Prioress: Antisemitism, Criticism, and Chaucer's Prioress's Tale

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"Of all the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer's Prioress's Tale, in which a young schoolboy is murdered by Jews for singing a song in praise of the Virgin Mary, poses a problem to contemporary readers because of the anti-semitism of the story it tells. Both the Tale's anti-semitism and its "Chaucerianism"-- its fitness or aptness as part of the Chaucerian canon--are significant topics of reflection for modern readers, who worry about the Tale's ethical implications as well as Chaucer's own implications. Over the past fifty ...

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