THE FRANKLIN'S TALE by Geoffrey Chaucer


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A shortened prose retelling, with full color illustrations featuring turrets and flags, pointed hats and stately poses and even a tamed unicorn, and a one-page introduction explaining the context of pilgrimages and naming the Franklin's companions on this one. The story is of the lady Dorigen, grieving for her absent husband Arviragus, who facetiously promises another suitor, Aurelius, that she will ""be his love"" if he removes all the rocks from the Brittany coast ""so that they are no longer a danger to ships."" This Aurelius does accomplish by magic after Arviragus' return, and the Franklin ends asking who is the most generous: the husband who insists that the wife keep her promise, the dutiful wife who sorrowfully presents herself to Aurelius, the would-be lover who releases her from her vow, or the magician who forfeits his payment when he learns the outcome of his client's suit. Serraillier spins the tale with his usual felicity, but this elaborate little romance (surely one of Chaucer's least gutsy) does not seem to be rich in contemporary appeal.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1972
Publisher: Warne