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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate School

First Advisor

Clair C. Olson

First Committee Member

Lawrence J. Osborne

Second Committee Member

Louis H. Leiter


The purpose of this study is to compare the narrative and framing techniques used by Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower. These authors were selected for several reasons. Being contemporaries, they lived through the days of the reign of Richard II, his deposition, and the accession of Henry IV. This was a time change: the age of chivalry and true knighthood was ending; the middle class was establishing commerce, towns, guilds; openly and violently the peasants were beginning to reject their servile positions; the corruption within the organized church was being publicly exposed, and efforts, believed heretical by some, were being made to effect its purification.

The discussion in this paper will be limited to the major work of each author. For Gower this is the Confessio Amantis, his only English work of any length; for Chaucer it is the Canterbury Tales, which, incomplete as it is, is generally accepted as the crown jewel of medieval English literature. The discussion wil be limited further to the framing and linking devices and to the four tales which appear in both books: "Constance" (Man of Law's tale), "Florent" (Wife of Bath's tale), "Phebus and Cornide" (Manciple's tale), and "Virginia" (Physician's tales).





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