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Non-European Women in Chaucer

A Postcolonial Study


Keiko Hamaguchi

Since Jeffrey Jerome Cohen edited The Postcolonial Middle Ages in 2000, some scholars have applied postcolonial criticism to the study of the Middle Ages. However, even in postcolonial studies of Chaucer, the role of non-European women in his work has not yet been fully discussed. Using postcolonial theory, the author explores how Chaucer represents non-European women, his Others both in gender and in culture. Her examination of non-European women in his work from a non-Westerner’s point of view reveals that his representation is complicated and ambivalent, showing diverse views. The ambivalence in Chaucer reflects his own complicated position as courtier, soldier, minor diplomat, controller of customs and poet, and also the fourteenth century’s historical background and attitude.
Contents: The Resistance of the Syrian Mother-in-law in the Man of the Law’s Tale – Canacee’s Problematic Marriage in the Squire’s Tale – The Colonization of Dido – Domesticating Amazons in the Knight’s Tale – Transgressing the Borderline of Gender: Zenobia in the Monk’s Tale.