Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 5743
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Gaynor , Stephanie.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: He Says, She Says: Subjectivity and the Discourse of the Other in the "Prioress's Portrait" and "Tale"
  • Source: Medieval Encounters: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Culture in Confluence and Dialogue 5, 3 ( 1999): Pages 375 - 390.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Antisemitism in Literature Chaucer, Geoffrey, Poet- Canterbury Tales- Prioress's Tale Jews in Literature Literature- Verse Misogyny in Literature Prioress (Literary Figure) Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 14
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  • Abstract: The "Prioress's Portrait," "Prologue," and "Tale" present a series of displacements in which Chaucer describes and ventriloquizes a sexual other, the Prioress, who, in her "Tale," demonizes a "racialized" other, the Jews. Except that the incriminations against the Prioress are much more subtly suggested, she is not so unlike the Jews she depicts. Both are characterized, though in greatly differing degrees, by their sensuality, greed, bodiliness, proximity to filth, and their resistance to the Law. The categories Woman and Jew, both, are created out of a disavowal of lack, an attempt to fix or know difference; and yet, when they appear, they carry the charge of the unresolvable problem of difference, not so much between groups (men and women or Christians and Jews) but within them, raising for the authorized Christian subject, the burning question of his difference within. When the woman aspires to the position of the authorized Christian subject, she must also disavow her lack in language. A close look at the serial generation of others in the "Prioress's Portrait," "Prologue," and "Tale," will reveal the perpetual process of turning out what must be rejected (what is deemed impure, anti-social, sinful, bodily or "feminine") onto an other outside the category of "Christianitas." [ Reproduced by permission of Brill Academic Publishers.]
  • Author's Affiliation: Tufts University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1999.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 13807854
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