CANTERBURY TALES--THE RETRACTION 

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

 

684. CAMPBELL, A.P. "Chaucer's Retraction: Who Retracted What?" Revue de l'Universite d'Ottawa 35 (1965):35-53; Humanities Association Bulletin 16, no. 1 (1965):75-97.

Surveys and rejects much of the criticism of Chaucer's Retraction, arguing for a reading based on Chaucer's frequent use of ironic reversal and on the characters of the Parson and the narrator. The narrator follows tradition by closing with a prayer, and overturns the Parson's staid rejection of fables.

685. GORDON, JAMES D. "Chaucer's Retraction: A Review of Opinion." In Studies in Medieval Literature in Honor of Professor Albert Croll Baugh." Edited by MacEdward Leach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1961, pp. 81-96.

Traces the history of interpretation of Chaucer's Retraction from the early rejection of it as inauthenic, hypothetically the result of Chaucer's late-life senility or monkish addition, to more recent acceptence and attempts to reconcile its tone with the rest of Chaucer's corpus.

686. KNAPP, ROBERT S. "Penance, Irony, and Chaucer's Retraction." Assays 2 (1983):45-67.

Explores the semiotic affinity among retraction, irony, and penance, reading Chaucer's Retraction as an extension of the sustained irony of Canterbury Tales, and as a penitential, self-canceling sign which points to the similarity and vast disparity between, on the one hand, speech acts or tales among men, and, on the other, the Word that mediates between God and man.

687. SAYCE, OLIVE. "Chaucer's Retractions: The Conclusion of the Canterbury Tales and Its Place in Literary Tradition." Medium AEvum 40 (1971):230-48.

Documents the conventional nature of Chaucer's Retraction by exploring the rhetorical commonplaces of medieval prologues and conclusions, and by identifying analogous epilogues in French, Latin, and German. Chaucer uses commonplace language and conventional form. but he includes several signals of his "ironic and humorous detachment" from his literary confession.

688. WURTELE, DOUGLAS. "The Penitence of Geoffrey Chaucer." Viator 11 (1980):335-61.

Surveys criticism of Chaucer's Retraction, and divides the piece into two portions: the Parson's concluding address and an "interpolated middle" which lists Chaucer's literary "sins." In light of the penitential theory of Parson's Tale, modified from Pennafort's Summa casuum de poenitentia, the Retraction suggests Chaucer's hope for his spiritual future.

See also entries 160, 208, 745.

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