Explanatory Notes of The General Prologue
A Check List (Lines I.1-858)

Here are a list of subjects selected more or less at random from the Explanatory Notes for The General Prologue in The Canterbury Tales Complete and The Riverside Chaucer. By way of checking on how much general information about Chaucer and his art and time you have acquired at this point, jot down a brief explanation of each of the following terms; then check your answers against the Explanatory Notes cited in parentheses at the end of each entry.

1)      palmers (I.13)

2)      squire (I.79-80)

3)      nightingales sing at night (I.98)

4)      Anglo-Norman (I.124-26)

5)      wastel breed (I.147)

6)      grey eyes (I.152)

7)      outridere (I.166)

8)      Benedictine rule (I.173)

9)      four orders of Friars (I.210)

10)      champion (I.239)

11)      love-dayes (I.258)

12)      benefice (ecclesiastical living) (I.291-92)

13)      complexion (I.333)

14)      table dormant (I.353)

15)       knight of the shire (I.356)

16)      mormal (I.386)

17)      astrological hours (I.415-16)

18)      humors (I.420; cf. I.333, I.587)

19)      marriage atte chirche dor (I.460)

20)      cursing for tithes (I.486)

21)      chantry (I.510)

22)      Significavit (I.662)

23)      alopicia (I.625, 626, 627)

24)      Rouncivale (I.670)

25)      Veronica (vernycle) (I.685)

26)      topos of "affected modesty" (I.746)


If you get twenty or more of these right, you have done your duty by the explanatory notes; if you got fewer than 20, you should probably browse through those notes once more. You need not read every note nor every part of the notes you do read. However, some time spent on the notes will increase your understanding of Chaucer's world and his art.

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