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Best of the Web

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A Prominent Chaucer Scholar's Guide to "The Wife of Bath's Tale"

Larry Benson collects basic information and links in one handy webpage. Most interesting are the relations of this tale to those of a few of Chaucer's contemporaries, and the connection of the tale to the courtly theme of the transforming power of love.

Luminarium's "Wife of Bath's Tale" Page

This page collects links to bibliographies, study guides, and audio and images.

Information About the Loathly Lady Folklore Motif

Here's some interesting, well-sourced information about the loathly lady in Celtic and Germanic folklore.

Movie or TV Productions

BBC's Canterbury Tales Miniseries: The Wife of Bath
This modern adaptation of the Wife of Bath's Prologue has the Wife of Bath as a 53-year old television actress and multiple divorcée who starts up a relationship with a much younger man when her husband leaves her. Pay attention to the television episode the Wife character is developing with her producers, which is how episodes from the Wife's tale make an appearance.

Historical Documents

Ellesmere Chaucer Wife of Bath

This is an image of the first page of "The Wife of Bath's Tale" from the Ellesmere manuscript, widely considered to be the most beautiful of the Chaucer manuscripts.

Wife of Bath Manuscript

This is an image of the Wife of Bath from Cambridge Manuscript GG 4.27.

Video

"The Wife of Bath"
The BBC's modern adaptation.

Audio

The Wedding Night
Alan Baragona reads aloud the scene in which the Wife apologizes for failing to describe the joy at the knight's wedding (because there was none).

Resources to Help Students Learn Middle English

Teach Yourself to Read Middle English

This page, provided by Harvard, offers ten lessons that start with a general explanation of the principles of Middle English pronunciation and move on to actual practice with the tales themselves.

A Basic Chaucer Glossary

This is a helpful glossary of Middle English terms often used in Chaucer. The 100 most common words are denoted by an asterisk.

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