CANTERBURY TALES--THE MAN OF LAW AND HIS TALE 

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

 

401. BLOCK, EDWARD A. "Orinality, Controlling Purpose, and Craftsmanship in Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale." PMLA 68 (1953):572-616.

Studies the differences between Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale and its source, Nicholas Trivet's Les chronicles, noting how Chaucer streamlined its details, added rhetorical flourishes, and "humanized" its characters. Chaucer did not alter the main outlines of the tale, yet his originality is evident in the two thirds of the poem that he reworked.

402. BLOOMFIELD, MORTON W. "The Man of Law's Tale: A Tragedy of Victimization and Christian Comedy." PMLA 87 (1972):384- 90. Printed first in Italian in Strumenti Critici 9 (1969):195-207.

Attributes modern unease with Chaucer's pathetic tales, especially Man of Law's Tale, to the distance "effected by the rhetoric of pathos." The narrator's apostrophes, the passivity of Constance, and the inevitable happy ending for the Christian victim encourage contemptus mundi rather than catharsis. Christian comedy and tragic victimization combine to create "the informed uneasiness all true believers must experience in the world."

403. CAIE, GRAHAM D. "The Significance of Marginal Glosses in the Earliest Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales." In Chaucer and Scriptural Tradition. Edited by David Lyle Jeffrey. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1984, pp. 75-88.

Describes the medieval habit of making glosses in their manuscripts that reveal the interaction between text and audience. Discusses how the glosses to Man of Law's Tale from Bernard Silvestris's Cosmographia, Innocent III's De miseria humane conditionis, and Ptolemy's Algamest show how the Man of Law distorts his sources, undercutting his reliability.

404. CLARK, SUSAN L., AND WASSERMAN, JULIAN N. "Constance as Romance and Folk Heroine in Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale." Rice University Studies 64 (1978):13-24.

Examines the romance and folktale elements of Chaucer's Constance in the Man of Law's Tale, showing how he emphasized these elements, exploring the paradoxical medieval view of woman and creating an unusually rich heroine who undergoes significant development.

405. CLOGAN, PAUL M. "The Narrative Style of the Man of Law's Tale." Medievalia et Humanistica, n.s. 8 (1977):217-33.

Describes the historical conflation of the genres of saint's life and romance and discusses Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale as a "hagiographical romance," notable for the clerkly persona of its narrator and the "heightened lyricism" of its apostrophes, moralizations, and verse form.

406. CULVER, T.D. "The Imposition of Order: A Measure of Art in the Man of Law's Tale." Yearbook of English Studies 2 (1972):13-20.

Contrasts Nicolas Trivet's, John Gower's, and Chaucer's versions of the tale of Constance. Whereas Gower effectively reduces the details and introduces envy as a motive into Trivet's repetitious saint's life, in his Man of Law's Tale, Chaucer expands the exemplary value of the story, deepens the allegory, and sharpens the characterization of Constance.

407. DAVID, ALFRED. "The Man of Law vs. Chaucer: A Case in Poetics." PMLA 82 (1967):217-25.

Reads Fragment II of the Canterbury Tales as a record of Chaucer's struggle with "his conscience" as an artist. Following the bawdiness of the Miller, Reeve, and Cook, the Man of Law's Prologue is Chaucer's "half-humorous" concession to morality which he quickly rescinds in the Man of Law's bombastic tale. Yet Chaucer finally chooses morality over aesthetics in Parson's Prologue.

408. DELASANTA, RODNEY. "And of Great Reverence: Chaucer's Man of Law." Chaucer Review 5 (1971):288-310.

Traces the Man of Law's "pattern of errors about things literary," including his Scriptural inaccuracies and his denigration of Gower. Through these errors and through "rhetorical excess" and "religious exhibitionism," Chaucer characterizes his Man of Law as a man too much taken with his own, limited, education and morality.

409. FARRELL, ROBERT T. "Chaucer's Use of the Theme of the Help of God in the Man of Law's Tale." Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 71 (1970):239-43.

Demonstrates that Constance is a type or figura of the Help of God in Man of Law's Tale by assessing the exegetical association and understanding of the Scriptural precedents with which she is compared: Daniel, Jonah, the passing of the Red Sea, and the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

410. HAMILTON, MARIE P. "The Dramatic Suitability of the Man of Law's Tale." In Studies in Language and Literature in Honour of Maragret Schlauch. Edited by Mieczyslaw Brahmer, Stanislaw Helsztynski, and Julain Kryzanowski. Warsaw: PWN-Polish Scientific Publishers, 1966. Reprint. New York: Russell & Russell, 1971, pp. 153-63.

Demonstrates the appropriateness of Chaucer's tale of Constance to the Man of Law, citing the elaborate rhetoric of the tale and the legally "informed presentation of the trial of Constance."

411. JOHNSON, WILLIAM C., Jr. "The Miracles in the Man of Law's Tale." Bulletin of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association 28 (1974):57-65.

Compares the miracles of Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale with those of its source, Nicholas Trivet's life of Constance, showing how Chaucer emphasizes the human and enotional aspects of the tale and deemphasizes the religious. Describes Chaucer's emphasis as humanistic.

412. LEWIS, ROBERT ENZER. "Chaucer's Artistic Use of Pope Innocent III's De miseria humane conditionis in the Man of Law's Prologue and Tale." PMLA 81 (1966):485-92.

Suggests that Chaucer's uses of materials from Inncoent's De miseria humane conditionis serve several artistic purposes: bridging and unifying the pre-existing introductory material and the tale of Constance, highlighting Constance's misfortunes, and underscoring the "serious moral tone" of Man of Law's Tale.

413. LEWIS, ROBERT ENZER. "Glosses to the Man of Law's Tale from Innocent III's De miseria humane conditionis." Studies in Philology 64 (1967):1-16.

Compares Chaucer's paraphrases of Innocent III's De miseria humane conditionis with the Latin manuscript glosses that accompany the tale, arguing that the glosses reflect Chaucer's own manuscript of De miseria. Either Chaucer or an early scribe added the glosses to the tale, using Chaucer's original source-text.

414. MILLER, ROBERT P. "Constancy Humanized: Trivet's Constance and the Man of Law's Constance." Costerus 3 (1975):49- 71.

Examines Chaucer's modifications in the Man of Law's Prologue and Tale of Innocent III's De miseria humane conditionis and Nicholas Trivet's tale of Constance, arguing that the changes make the materials appropriate to the character of the Man of Law established in General Prologue: officious, materialistic, and weak in his understanding of the proper relation between law and Providence.

415. PAULL, MICHAEL R. "The Influence of the Saint's Legend Genre in the Man of Law's Tale." Chaucer Review 5 (1971):179-94.

Attributes Chaucer's alterations of Nicholas Trivet's life of Constance in Man of Law's Tale to the saint's life genre, arguing that his transformation of the dramatic tale into near-allegory and his enhanced rhetoric are features of hagiography from which he developed his own melodramatic form.

416. SCHEPS, WALTER. "Chaucer's Man of Law and the Tale of Constance." PMLA 89 (1974):285-95.

Reads the Man of Law's materials in Canterbury Tales as an unfolding characterization of the Man himself which presents him as consistently concerned with wealth and rank, expedient in what he remembers and how he uses authorities, and above all, tedious in his excesses of rhetoric and sentiment.

417. WOOD, CHAUNCEY. "Chaucer's Man of Law as Interpreter." Traditio 23 (1967):149-90.

Assesses Chaucer's tale of Constance as a self-disclosing satire of the Man of Law's inability to recognize the hierarchical relation of destiny to Providence. The lawyer is motivated by the hope of worldly prosperity; he distorts his sources; and in his rhetorical commentaries, he consistently misinterprets the moral implications of his own narrative.

418. WURTELE, DOUGLAS. "'Proprietas' in Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale." Neophilologus 60 (1976):577-93.

Demonstrates that the forensic rhetoric of Man of Law's Tale follows classical rhetorical exhortations of decorum. Since such rhetoric was traditionally discouraged in English legal practice, the Lawyer's use of it either typifies him as a trendy "newe man," or, as suggested in Man of Law's Prologue, an "amateur of literature."

See also entries 88, 127, 190, 216, 222, 224, 257, 285. For textual issues: 266, 268; sources and analogues: 169, 184, 217, 252; relations to other tales: 549, 563, 566.

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