Confidence?

Having never encounter the Man of Law’s Tale, I had no idea what to expect in any portion of the text.  That being said, I especially did not expect to have Chaucer take a few moments in the introduction for some self-praise.  Now, do not read me wrong here, I appreciate Chaucer as an author and am clearly interested in him as a figure of English being that this is an author-centered class on him, but I want to take a minute to point out a moment of boasting that I found particularly humorous. The Man of Law takes more than a few lines to lament that Chaucer has already told all the stories worth telling.  Okay, Chaucer, what are you trying to do here? I believe at one point we discussed that in his time, it was fairly common for a work to be anonymous and for an author to not lay such loud and proud claim on their work – Chaucer not only does that but praises himself as a whole for creating such numerous great texts such that his own character cannot possibly come up with another one to suffice. Talk about patting your own back.

2 thoughts on “Confidence?

  1. I found this kind of funny, personally. That bit reminded me of modern rap/hip hop artists who usually dedicate a song or two to their rites of passage/self-worth in the industry to “prove” themselves. Weird association – I know – but it sounded like a medieval version of that to me…and with writing, of course. It definitely came out of nowhere though.

  2. I really liked that he took a moment to give himself some praise. I think it added a bit to the tales, because at this point he’s saying ‘Well, every story worth telling has been told already!’ and then proceeds to tell yet another tale. I think he’s not only giving himself praise, but is also setting himself up for even better tales, because this is still pretty close to the beginning of his Canterbury Tales, and so you know there are quite a few more to go. He states that every pilgrim is going to tell two tales, and so it’s like he’s saying ‘You think that’s the best I’ve got so far? Well prepare to be amazed!’, which I really enjoy. I wonder why he decided on the praise, as it does seem to differ a bit from most stories around that time, but I can’t say that it doesn’t add another layer of humor to the story.

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