Although there has been a mass of work on the Prioress and the nature of her femininity, scholars have paid little attention to the relationship between her gender and her position of authority as the head of a religious house Taking account of the Prioress’s position as an office-holder in an analysis of her representation suggests that Chaucer’s depiction of her was rather less ambiguously indulgent and more deliberately disparaging than has often been allowed. Although the Second Nun, who accompanies the Prioress, is not described in detail in the ‘General Prologue’, her tale does reveal something of her character and piety. Together the Prioress and the Second Nun suggest something of the negotiations between anti-feminist theory and the actualities of everyday life which women had to make in order to wield authority.
|Title of host publication||Historians on Chaucer|
|Subtitle of host publication||The 'General Prologue' to the Canterbury Tales|
|Editors||Stephen H. Rigby|
|Place of Publication||Oxford|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 4 Dec 2014|