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Reading Literature HistoricallyDrama and Poetry from Chaucer to the Reformation$
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Greg Walker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748681013

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748681013.001.0001

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Rough Girls and Squeamish Boys: The Trouble with Absolon in The Miller’s Tale

Rough Girls and Squeamish Boys: The Trouble with Absolon in The Miller’s Tale

Chapter:
(p.169) Chapter 6 Rough Girls and Squeamish Boys: The Trouble with Absolon in The Miller’s Tale
Source:
Reading Literature Historically
Author(s):

Greg Walker

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748681013.003.0007

This chapter discusses the nature and operation of comedy in Chaucer’s celebrated and scandalous Miller’s Tale. Focusing on the intriguing character of the effeminate parish clerk, Absolon, it suggests how the tale engages its readers in an often raucous, but nonetheless serious conversation about masculine and feminine identity, cultural values and literary genres. Comparison is also made between the treatment of masculinity in the Tale and in late medieval romances such as Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale.

Keywords:   Chaucer, The Miller’s Tale, Medieval Masculinities, Squeamishness, Female sexuality

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