The punishment of the Jews, Hugh of Lincoln, and the question of satire in Chaucer's Prioress's Tale

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

This essay, through attention to the drawing and hanging of Jews in the Prioress's Tale, tests the claim that the tale satirizes the Prioress's anti-semitism. Section 1 addresses the nature of the punishment, which Chaucerians have questioned, and concludes from linguistic and historical evidence that Middle English drawe means "drag." Section 2 suggests that the punishment alludes to the drawing and hanging of Lincoln Jews in 1255 for the death of Hugh of Lincoln, whom the Prioress invokes. Section 3 suggests that in view of John of Gaunt's, Chaucer's, and other prominent Ricardians' ties to Lincoln Cathedral, an institution as early as 1235 associated with anti-semitism and the center of Hugh's cult, the tale is probably not satiric. Section 4 considers in light of medieval English veneration of Hugh the questions of how Chaucer viewed anti-semitism and why English anti-semitism flourished long after 1290, when few Jews remained in England.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-491+xii
JournalViator - Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Volume36
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The punishment of the Jews, Hugh of Lincoln, and the question of satire in Chaucer's Prioress's Tale'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this