In your note to the reader at the end of your book, you mention cultural biases playing a role in our modern perception of the Middle Ages. However, is it possible to separate modern bias from a work that takes place in an era far removed from ours? By using modern conceptualizations of the Middle Ages do we somehow warp the image? Or do you see it as we really are not that far removed, simply occupying different points on the same line?
The Wife of Bath’s Prologue is a series of stories of the Wife’s five husbands. Her fifth husband is particularly interesting – an abusive misogynist who is ultimately tamed by the Wife. Why do you think the Wife prays to God to bless his soul (826-7)? Why does she seem to hold him in such high regard despite the lasting injuries he inflicted upon her?
We see two very different characterizations of fortune with The Book of the Duchess and the The Knight’s Tale. How does fortune play into these tales and what conclusions do the tales seem to draw regarding fortune? Is fortune portrayed consistently across these stories or do the two portrayals seem to contradict one another?