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James Youd
The University of Western Australia
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Andrew Lynch
The University of Western Australia
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Michael David Barbezat
The University of Western Australia
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Emotional Responses to Chaucer’s Religious Parody in The Miller’s Tale and The Nun’s Priest’s Tale

This project examines the parody of religious beliefs, practices and texts in two of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and investigates the emotional responses to the parody of both the fictional audience in the tales and Chaucer’s contemporary audience.

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This project aims to explore the affective nature of Chaucer’s parody of religious beliefs, practices and texts contained within The Miller’s Tale and The Nun’s Priest’s Tale. Parody, along with related terms of satire and irony, are commonplace in the corpus of Chaucerian criticism but the potential emotional effects of these literary techniques has been largely overlooked. This project will explore possible emotional responses by applying the concept of emotional communities to isolate specific groups of readership and suggest possible responses that the texts might have elicited. It will also examine the emotions expressed by the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales and use those responses as a representative model for a broader Christian emotional community. Parody is a genre of relationships, between an idea, text or belief and the incongruous version that the author creates, therefore Chaucer’s primary sources and influences will be analysed, as well as his use of language and humour which creates the dissonance between the original concept and the parodic.

Thesis Supervisors
Andrew Lynch, Professor of English and Cultural Studies; Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE), The University of Western Australia (UWA).
Michael D. Barbezat
, ARC CHE Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UWA.

Image: Chaucer reading to Richard II from Troilus and Cressida, MS 61, fol 1v, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.