Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4913
  • Author(s)/Creator(s):
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  • Title: The Wife of Bath's "Prologue," LL. 328-336, and Boccaccio's "Decameron"
  • Source: Neophilologus 83, 2 (April 1999): Pages 313 - 316.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Adultery in Literature Boccaccio, Giovanni, Author- Decameron Chaucer, Geoffrey, Poet- Canterbury Tales- Wife of Bath's Prologue Jean de Meun, Poet- Roman de la Rose Literature- Verse Sexuality in Literature Sources Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 14
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  • Abstract: The Wife of Bath's celebrated defence against charges of adultery, namely that her 'sex' is like a lantern whose light may be shared by many without depriving the owner, has been traditionally regarded (on the authority of B. J. Whiting) as a proverbial phrase borrowed by Chaucer from La Vieille in the Roman de la Rose. In fact, Whiting is inexact about the proverbial use of the phrase, and in the Roman it is used by Friend. A more exact parallel to the Wife's situation is to be found in the Decameron, the Sixth Day, Seventh story, where Madonna Filippa defends herself in court against charges of adultery by 'proving' that her husband is not deprived of sex by her sharing of her favours. The Wife's defence is probably a combination of the simile in the Roman and the pro-feminist situation in the Decameron. [Reproduced from the publisher's website: http://www.springerlink.com]
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  • Year of Publication: 1999.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00282677
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