Professor Marion Turner introduces the ribald and humorous world of one of the Canterbury Tales' most famous stories – "The Miller's Tale."
In this engaging episode of "Chaucer for Beginners," Professor Marion Turner immerses listeners in the ribald and humorous world of one of the Canterbury Tales' most famous stories – "The Miller's Tale." With a delightful storytelling flair, Professor Turner provides a lively overview of the farcical and bawdy plot that unfolds in a lodging house in Oxford. At the centre of this uproarious tale are an older carpenter, his alluring young wife Alison, and two ardent young men, Nicholas and Absolon, each vying for her affections. The ensuing chaos and comedic twists make "The Miller's Tale" a classic representation of the fabliau genre, celebrated for its humour and often risqué content.
Professor Turner delves into the unique characteristics of the fabliau, highlighting how this genre, as exemplified in "The Miller's Tale," is set in the contemporary world, offering a stark contrast to the preceding tale – the Knight’s – told in the ‘romance’ genre. Drawing attention to the difference in tone, she explains that romances typically explore themes of love and war in elevated settings, providing a fascinating juxtaposition with the earthy and irreverent humour of the fabliau. At the same time, the fabliau story also exposes some of the realities behind the seemingly idealised world of romance. This episode serves as a delightful entry point for listeners to appreciate the diversity of Chaucer's storytelling techniques and the nuanced interplay of genres within the Canterbury Tales.