Thesis Title

The Allusions to the Saints in the Canterbury Tales, Their Appropriateness

Graduation Date

Summer 1948

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Degree Granting Institution

Catholic University of America

Program Name



This dissertation consists of a series of commentaries on Chaucer's allusions to saints in the Canterbury Tales. The allusions have been studied in connection with the narrator of the tale, the lines, the characters, and the general spirit of the tale to ascertain possible reasons for making reference to the saint in a particular allusion. The life, legends, and cults of the individual saints have been investigated to discover appropriatenesses, which might account for Chaucer's choice of a saint for a particular allusion.

All references to saints as originators of ideas expressed in the Tales have been excluded from the paper. Nor have the allusions to Mary, the Mother of God, been considered. So much has been written on the cult of Mary that it does not seem necessary to include these allusions. Saints whose lives constitute the subject matter of the tale have also been omitted. St. Cecilia and St. Urban in the "Second Nun's Tale" are examples of such omissions. Hugh of Lincoln, the subject of "The Prioress' Tale", has been but briefly identified. In all there are commentaries on thirty-two saints.

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