CANTERBURY TALES--THE MILLER AND HIS TALE             

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

 

376. BLOOMFIELD, MORTON W. "The Miller's Tale--An Un-Boethian Interpretation." In Medieval Literature and Folklore Studies: Essays in Honor of Francis Lee Utley. Edited by Jerome Mandel and Bruce A. Rosenberg. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1970, pp. 205-11.

Asserts that Knight's Tale and Reeve's Tale assume a Boethian world view, where order dominates and justice prevails. In Miller's Tale, however, the world is "deeply irrational and unjust" because Alison escapes punishment and "kind-hearted John" is overpunished. Nicholas's machinations create an illusion of man-made order that is hollow.

377. BRATCHER, JAMES T. and VON KREISLER, NICOLAI. "The Popularity of the Miller's Tale." Southern Folklore Quarterly 35 (1971):325-35.

Compares Miller's Tale to three modern American analogues and suggests that the appeal of Chaucer's version results from his deft use of carpenter John in the plot. Our attention is distracted from the carpenter so that his abrupt reintroduction at the end creates much of the tale's humor.

378. COOPER, GEOFFREY. "`Sely John' in the `Legende' of the Miller's Tale." JEGP 79 (1980):1-12.

Identifies the medieval connotations of "sely" as Chaucer applied it to carpenter John in the Miller's Tale, demonstrating Chaucer's manipulation of meaning in context. Normally used in hagiographies or romances, "sely" carries the meanings of "pitiable" and "innocent"; in Chaucer's fabliau the meaning shifts to "pitiful" and ignorant.

379. DONALDSON, E. TALBOT. "Idiom of Popular Poetry in the Miller's Tale." English Institute Essays 1950. Edited by A.S. Downer. New York: Columbia University Press, 1951, pp. 116-40. Reprinted in Explication as Criticism: Selected Papers from the English Institute 1941-52, ed. by W.K. Wimsatt, Jr. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963), pp. 27-51; Chaucer and His Contemporaries: Essays on Medieval Literature and Thought, ed. by Helaine Newstead (Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Publications, 1968), pp. 174-89; Speaking of Chaucer (New York: W.W. Norton and Co.,1970), pp. 13-29; Chaucer--The "Canterbury Tales": A Casebook, ed. by J.J. Andersen (London: Macmillan, 1974), pp. 143-60.

Cites ironic examples of cliched, courtly language which appear in Miller's Tale and characterize Nicholas, Alison, and Absolon. Usually found in metrical romances and love lyrics, such language indicates the parodic intent that operates in the "no man's land" between Chaucer and the Miller as teller. Similar language found in Tale of Sir Thopas.

380. GELLRICH, JESSE M. "The Parody of Music in the Miller's Tale." JEGP 73 (1974):176-88.

Explores the musical imagery of the Miller's Tale, arguing that Nicholas's angelus, his psalter, Absolon's serenades, and the melody-making of Nicholas and Alison create poetic disharmonies that are comic, ironic, and yet generously sensitive to human limitations.

381. JAMBECK, THOMAS J. "Characterization and Syntax in the Miller's Tale." Journal of Narrative Technique 5 (1975):73-85.

Demonstrates how syntax helps characterize the Miller and the Knight. The heavily paratactic style of Miller's Tale contrasts the hypotactical style of Knight's Tale, characterizing the Miller idiomatically as a social inferior.

382. JONES, GEORGE F. "Chaucer and the Medieval Miller." Modern Language Quarterly 16 (1955):3-15.

Surveys cultural and literary evidence to show that Chaucer's Miller "conforms to the accepted medieval idea of a miller." The social position of millers, their economic function, and the history of their occupation contribute to Chaucer's fairly typical characterization.

383. MILLER, ROBERT P. "The Miller's Tale as Complaint." Chaucer Review 5 (1970):147-60.

Traditional complaints against each of the estates inform the characterizations of Miller's Tale: aristocratic pretension in Absolom, the clergy's claims to divine knowledge in Nicholas, and the peasants' tendency to jeopardize its own interests in John. Alison reflects traditional antifeminist criticism.

384. NEUSS, PAULA. "Double Entendre in the Miller's Tale." Essays in Criticism 24 (1974):325-40.

Traces the bawdy implications of "privetee," "queynt," and music-making in Miller's Tale, demonstrating how effectively Chaucer cultivates meaning through recurrence and how the puns carry subtlety as well as mirth.

385. OLSON, PAUL A. "Poetic Justice in the Miller's Tale." Modern Language Quarterly 24 (1963):227-36.

Examines Miller's Tale to show how the punishment of the three male figures constitutes a condemnation of the vices embodied in the characters: avarice in John, pride in Absolon, and lechery in Nicholas.

386. REISS, EDMUND. "Daun Gerveys in the Miller's Tale." Papers in Language and Literature 6 (1970):115-24.

Identifies the demonic associations of Gerveys's smithy in Miller's Tale, exploring the tradition of Vulcan and other smiths, the implications of the coulter, and the meanings of "Neot" and "viritoot."

387. ROWLAND, BERYL. "Chaucer's Blasphemous Churl: A New Interpretation of the Miller's Tale." In Chaucer and Middle English Studies in honour of Rossell Hope Robbins. Ed. by Beryl Rowland. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974, pp. 43-55.

Identifies a significant pattern of sacred allusion in Miller's Tale, demonstrating that their accumulative effect parodies the Annunciation, Christ's family, Noah's flood, and the Trinity. References to the cycle dramas, details of description, and burlesque of Biblical texts set "trivial lust and vulgar jest" against the "cosmic and timeless background of divine ordinance."

388. THRO, A. BOOKER. "Chaucer's Creative Comedy: A Study of the Miller's Tale and the Shipman's Tale." Chaucer Review 5 (1970):97-111.

Explores Chaucer's comic impulse to creativity, contrasting the creativeness of the characters in Miller's Tale with the more typical, farcical deflation of characters in the fabliaux, and examining the psychological creativity of Shipman's Tale. Suggests that these instances of creativity are both exemplary and mimetic, evidence of the "high Gothic" strain of Chaucer's comedy.

See also entries 22, 56, 136, 141, 155, 159, 201, 216, 229, 260, 272, 285, 490. For sources and analogues: 169, 177, 252, 256, 308-09, 312-13; relations to other tales: 241, 277-79, 282, 370, 374.

Table of Contents

Previous Section: Canterbury Tales--The Knight and his Tale

Next Section: Canterbury Tales--The Reeve and his Tale