CANTERBURY TALES--THE PARDONER AND HIS TALE 

[Cross-references included at the bottom of the page]

 

570. BISHOP, IAN. "The Narrative Art of the Pardoner's Tale." Medium AEvum 36 (1967):15-24. Reprinted in Chaucer--The "Canterbury Tales": A Casebook, ed. by J.J. Anderson (London: Macmillan, 1974), pp. 209-221.

Attributes the success of Chaucer's tale of the three rioters to its economy of characterization and description, and its "double perspective" of naturalism and near allegory. Sparse naturalistic details intertwine ironically with allegorical suggestions in the plot, especially in the characterizatuion of the Old Man.

571. CONDREN, EDWARD I. "The Pardoner's Bid for Existence." Viator 4 (1973):177-205.

Combines the critical tendencies to view the Pardoner either psychologically or exegetically, arguing that the figural implications of his tale reflect his complex personality. His prologue reveals his attempt to rely on his "technical virtuosity as a performer," but in the figures of the Old Man and the rioters his tale reflect his fears and his failure.

572. CURRIE, FELICITY. "Chaucer's Pardoner Again." Leeds Studies in English 4 (1971):11-22.

Argues that the Pardoner intends to sting the consciences of the Canterbury pilgrims to his own advantage with his tale of death. The Host's virulent response and the laughter of the other pilgrims indicate that he effectively aims his tale at the "lewed peple" and "gentils" alike.

573. DELASANTA, RODNEY. "Sacrament and Sacrifice in the Pardoner's Tale." Annuale Mediaevale 14 (1973):43-52.

Summarizes earlier study of Eucharitsic parody in the Pardoner's Prologue and Tale, and develops this theme by documenting the orthodox sacrificial understanding of the sacrament and demonstrating the ironic importance of sacrifice in the tale.

574. DeNEEF, A. LEIGH. "Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale and the Irony of Misrepresentation." Journal of Narrative Technique 3 (1974):85-96.

Studies the literal and metaphoric levels of the Pardoner's Prologue and Tale and argues that the Host's rejection of the teller represents the failure of any of the pilgrims to derive proper spiritual benefit from the Pardoner's exemplum--their failure to separate properly the wheat and chaff of his performance.

575. GLASSER, MARC. "The Pardoner and the Host: Chaucer's Analysis of the Canterbury Game." CEA Critic 46, nos. 1 & 2 (1983-84):37-45.

Reads Pardoner's Prologue and Tale as a pointed assault on the Host, helping to justify the Host's vitriolic rebuke of the Pardoner. The Pardoner's self- description parodies the Host's treatment of the pilgrims, and his assault on the "tavern vices" criticizes the Host's profession. The Pardoner's tale mocks the Host's conception and plan for the Canterbury pilgrimage.

576. HALVERSON, JOHN. "Chaucer's Pardoner and the Progress of Criticism." Chaucer Review 4 (1970):184-202.

Surveys recent criticism of the Pardoner and his tale, noting how critical trends respond to historical ones and assessing the Pardoner's persona as a modern "put-on," a game-player who hazards deception and "occasional extravagances" in contests of wit and verbal dexterity. The Pardoner's uncanny presentation of death is more important than his sexual secret or the theological undertones of his tale. Continues Sedgewick (entry 589).

577. JUNGMAN, ROBERT E. "The Pardoner's Quarrel with the Host." Philological Quarterly 55 (1976):279-81.

The Pardoner/Host quarrel at the end of Pardoner's Tale grows out of the same Pauline text (1 Timothy 6) as the Pardoner's duplicitous homilietic theme and illustrates how false teaching leads to quarreling.

578. KELLOGG, ALFRED L., and HASELMAYER, LOUIS A. "Chaucer's Satire of the Pardoner." PMLA 66 (1951):251-77. Reprinted in Chaucer, Langland, Arthur: Essays in Middle English Literature. By Alfred L. Kellogg. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1972, pp. 212-44.

Documents the history of the office of pardoner in the Middle Ages, emphasizing attempts to restrict its abuse, and exemplifying the criticism of pardoners from fourteenth-century records. Chaucer's presentation of the Pardoner satirizes not an individual but the conditions that made abuse possible.

579. KERNAN, ANNE. "The Archwife and the Eunuch." ELH 41 (1974):1-25.

The Pardoner's interruption of the Wife of Bath reveals rich parallels between their characters and their tales. In addition to "casual parallels," there are substantial associations: both reflect cupidity and sterility; their prologues are autobiographical; and their tales include evocative projections of the tellers, hers of the Hag and his of the Old Man.

580. KHINOY, STEPHAN A. "Inside Chaucer's Pardoner?" Chaucer Review 6 (1972):255-67.

Assesses the Pardoner's performance as a puzzle which obscures the proper relation between word and meaning posing a dilemma for pilgrims and readers alike. If we accept his rhetoric and his relics as valid, we become his dupes; if we reject them, we become as cynical as he is. The Host's rebuttal--an echo of Reason's discussion of meaning in Jean de Meun's Roman de la rose--rejects both the relics and the Pardoner's meaning, avoiding the dilemma.

581. KNIGHT, STEPHEN. "Chaucer's Pardoner in Performance." Sydney Studies in English 9 (1983):21-37.

Exemplifies the dramatic benefits of oral, public performance of Pardoner's Prologue and Tale, reading them as "monologue theatre." Argues that an ideological conflict between public and private values underlies the power and thematic impact of the Pardoner's performance.

582. LAWTON, DAVID. "The Pardoner's Tale: Morality and Context." In Studies in Chaucer. Edited by G.A. Wilkes and A.P. Reimer. Sydney Studies in English. Sydney: University of Sydney, 1981, pp. 38-63.

Discusses the interplay between frame and tale in the Pardoner's performance, assessing its penitential message and its encouragement that humanity reject this message. The Pardoner is a type of preacher who profers potent penitential material under the guise of falseness; the Host typifies those who reject repentence along with falseness in the manner described by False Seeming in Roman de la Rose.

583. MANNING, STEPHEN. "Chaucer's Pardoner: Sex and Non-Sex." South Atlantic Bulletin 39 (1974):17-26.

Investigates the oral imagery of Pardoner's Prologue Tale and portrait, observing psychoanalytic and semiotic patterns of aggression, false signs, phallicism, and castration, concluding that the Pardoner is caught in the "vicious circle of his own sinfulness" and is "unconsciously in search of pardon."

584. MERRIX, ROBERT P. "Sermon Structure in the Pardoner's Tale." Chaucer Review 17 (1983):235-49.

Surveys the structural development of sermons in the Middle Ages and compares Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale to the university sermon of the late-medieval period, arguing that the tale does duplicate the structure of such sermons and their relationship between theme and form.

585. MILLER, CLARENCE H., and BOSSE, ROBERTA B. "Chaucer's Pardoner and the Mass." Chaucer Review 6 (1972):171-84.

Addresses Pardoner's Prologue and Tale as a "distorted reflection" of the liturgy and meaning of the mass, arguing that various structural parallels and specific details and references to the mass constitute the "inner consistency" of the Pardoner's materials.

586. PETERSON, JOYCE E. "With Feigned Flattery: The Pardoner as Vice." Chaucer Review 10 (1976);326-36.

Places the Pardoner in the tradition of the Vice figure of morality plays, and interprets in this light the pilgrims' responses to the Pardoner, particularly the Host's.

587. PITTOCK, MALCOLM. "The Pardoner's Tale and the Quest of Death." Essays in Criticism 24 (1974):107-23.

Explores the contrast between "notional awareness" and "substantial knowledge" in Pardoner's Prologue and Tale, reading the rioters' quest as an increasingly symbolic objective correlative for their spiritual death, and the Old Man as an indicator of their limited perspective and a symbol of Providence. The Pardoner's performance is self-delusory: he thinks his tale is about avarice when it is about sin and death.

588. ROWLAND, BERYL. "Chaucer's Idea of the Pardoner." Chaucer Review 14 (1979):140-54.

Studies the Pardoner as a "testicular pseudo-hermaphrodite of the feminine type," documenting traditional notions of hermaphroditism, positive and negative, and showing how the significant dualism in Chaucer's presentation of the character capitalizes upon such notions.

589. SEDGEWICK, G.G. "The Progress of Chaucer's Pardoner, 1880- 1940." Modern Language Quarterly 1 (1940):431-58. Reprinted in Chaucer: Modern Essays in Criticism, ed. by Edward Wagenknecht (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), pp. 126-58; edited slightly in Chaucer Criticism, Volume I: "The Canterbury Tales," by Richard J. Schoeck and Jerome Taylor (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1960), pp. 190-220.

Surveys criticism of Pardoner, denying several "heresies" of interpretation and demonstrating that the Pardoner's materials present a "powerfully consistent work of art." Through the sketch of the Pardoner in General Prologue, his interruption of the Wife of Bath, his headlink, prologue, tale, and exchange with the Host, Chaucer "extorts" interpretation from us, evoking a "fully-rounded" charlatan--impudent, effective, and contradictory. Criticial survey updated in Halverson (entry 576).

590. STORM, MELVIN. "The Pardoner's Invitation: Quaestor's Bag or Becket's Shrine?" PMLA 97 (1982):810-18.

Reads the Pardoner's performance as a threat to the spiritual success of the Canterbury pilgrimage, noting parallels between the rioters' fatal tree and the Pardoner's "alestake," and arguing that the Host's rejection of the Pardoner's relics--offered as an alternative to Becket's shrine--is a "turning point" toward Canterbury as the heavenly Jerusalem.

591. TRISTAM, PHILIPPA. "'Olde stories longe tyme agoon": Death and the Audience of Chaucer's Pardoner." In Death in the Middle Ages. Edited by Herman Braet and Werner Verbeke. Mediaevalia Lovaniensa, Series 1, no. 9. Louven: Louven University Press, 1983, pp. 179-90.

Contrasts the conception of death in Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale with that of contemporary English depictions, arguing that Chaucer offers a "deliberate challenge to the charnel imagination" of his time. In refusing to personify death and in presenting his Old Man as spiritually and physically prepared for death, Chaucer counteracts contemporary trends.

See also entries 54, 135, 253, 260, 272, 304. For sources and analogues: 178, 252; relations to other tales: 556, 558, 560, 567.

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