Claiming The “Popet”: Ethics, Evasion, and the Pilgrim’s Progress

  • Geoffrey W. Gust
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The title of this chapter recalls that of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), a text that explores the concept of life as a journey, a process in which everyman learns, changes, and experiences profound moral development. 3 Bunyan’s vision of “man the wayfarer” provides a useful metaphor for considering “Father Chaucer’s” status as a complex cultural construction that has progressed through the ebbs and flows of English literary criticism. In addition, the idea of moral progress is particularly appropriate for a discussion of the Thopas-Melibee link in the Canterbury Tales, since it contains an explicit shift whereby the author initially represents himself as a playful “elf” who tells a ridiculous romance story, followed by a more sententious representation through which he offers the kind of authoritative wisdom that was expected of a revered medieval auctor.


Moral Progress Mentary Nature Queer Theory English Poetry Body Criticism 
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  1. 2.
    Sarah Cooper, Relating to Queer Theory: Rereading Sexual Self-Definition with Irigaray, Kristeva, Wittig and Cixous (New York: Peter Lang, 2000), p. 214.Google Scholar
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© Geoffrey W. Gust 2009

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  • Geoffrey W. Gust

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