Geoffrey Chaucer Online:
The Electronic Canterbury Tales

Daniel T. Kline | U of Alaska Anchorage | Chaucer Pedagogy | CV | What's New? Revision History

Web Resources by Tale 

Electronic Canterbury Tales - Kankedort.Net Index Page

Fragment I / Group A
The General Prologue
The Knight's Tale
The Miller's Prologue & Tale
The Reeve's Prologue & Tale
The Cook's Prologue & Tale

Fragment II / Group B1
The Man of Law's Introduction, Prologue, Tale, & Epilogue

Fragment III / Group D
The Wife of Bath's Prologue & Tale
The Friar's Prologue & Tale
The Summoner's Prologue & Tale

Fragment IV / Group E
The Clerk's Prologue & Tale
The Merchant's Prologue, Tale, & Epilogue
Fragment V / Group F
The Squire's Introduction & Tale
The Franklin's Prologue & Tale

Fragment VI / Group C
The Physician's Tale
The Pardoner's Introduction, Prologue, & Tale

Fragment VII / Group B2
The Shipman's Tale
The Prioress's Prologue & Tale
The Prologue & Tale of Sir Thopas
The Tale of Melibee
The Monk's Prologue & Tale
The Nun's Priest's Prologue,
Tale, & Epilogue

Fragment VIII / Group G
The Second Nun's Prologue & Tale
The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue & Tale

Fragment IX / Group H 
The Manciple's Prologue & Tale

Fragment X / Group I
The Parson's Prologue & Tale
The Retraction

The Electronic Canterbury Tales:

Troilus and Criseyde

Additional Chaucer Pages in The Electronic Canterbury Tales

Chaucer the Pilgrim-Narrator & Author

Chaucer's "Orphan" Pilgrims - Those without a Tale

The Frame Tale, Later Continuations,
& Chaucerian Apocrypha

Manuscripts, Printed Editions, & Electronic Texts

Electronic Chaucer Texts:
What's Available Online?

Chaucer in / and Popular Culture

Troilus and Criseyde

Documentation Primer

Chaucer Pedagogy Page

Five Scholars Present
Five Different Approaches to Understanding Chaucer's Famous Wife of Bath

Edited by Peter Beidler

Margery Kempe wrote the first autobiography in English (c. 1436-38)

And her life story makes the Wife of Bath look tame.


Related Schools, Programs, and Local & Regional Organizations

The Single Best Site for Online Term Paper & College Essay

See especially the Purdue OWL publications:

Related Medieval Studies Course and Web Pages

Societies & Organizations 

Websites for Calls for Papers

Call for Papers database from the University of Pennsylvania CFP listserv

Major Medieval Conferences Websites

International Congress on Medieval Studies (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI)

International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds

Schools, Programs, and Local & Regional Organizations

  Journal & Newsletter Homepages

An Academic Listserv (from Edwin Duncan, Towson U)


An Online Compendium and Companion 
to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

The Wife of Bath's Tale

Here's the famous portrait of the Wife of Bath from the Ellesmere Manuscript (Huntington Library, San Marino, California)

1.  In Middle English

The Wife of Bath's Prologue and the Wife of Bath's Tale at the UVa Electronic Text Center.

Read the Wife of Bath's Tale in the context of Fragment III - Group D.

Read the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale according to the Hengwrt ms (Hg), one of the two most important early manuscripts, at the University of Toronto's Representative Poetry On-line site. The Ellesmere ms (El) is the other important early edition.

Read the Wife of Bath's Prologue in parallel Middle English and Modern English texts at Paul Halsall's IMSB.

The Canterbury Tales Project (Peter Robinson, U of Birmingham) has generously made available a series of articles and working papers describing the CTProject in detail, including the following:

  • From The Canterbury Tales Project: Occasional Papers, Volume 1, ed. Norman Blake and Peter Robinson (Oxford: Office for Humanities Communication, 1993):
    • Peter Robinson & Elizabeth Solopova, "Guidelines for Transcription of the Manuscripts of the Wife of Bath's Prologue" (pp. 19-52)

  • From The Canterbury Tales Project: Occasional Papers, Volume 2, ed. Norman Blake and Peter Robinson (Oxford: Office for Humanities Communication, 1997):

    • Beverly Kennedy: "Contradictory Responses to the Wife of Bath as evidenced by Fifteenth-Century Manuscript Variants" (pp. 23-39)

    • Peter Robinson: "A Stemmatic Analysis of the Fifteenth-Century Witnesses to The Wife of Bath's Prologue" (pp. 69-132)

    • Elizabeth Solopova: "The Problem of Authorial Variants in The Wife of Bath's Prologue" (pp. 133-142)

  • From the Canterbury Tales Project CDs:

    • Peter Robinson, "Editor's Introduction, "The Wife of Bath's Prologue on CD-ROM, ed. Peter Robinson (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996).

2.  In Modern English Translation

Scott Gettman's edition of the Canterbury Tales (Electronic Literature Foundation) is accessible by individual tale & available in a variety of formats:  Middle English, Modern English, Facing Page, & Interpolated - Glossed (frames; from unknown base text).

  • Although unsuitable for formal academic research, the ELF edition is the best online version for younger readers and those unfamiliar with Middle English. Easily navigable, and the Middle English glosses are very helpful.

The General Prologue and Sixteen Tales have been regularized by Michael Murphy (CUNY-Brooklyn), each tale featuring a handsome introduction. Read the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale.  Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The Litrix Reading Room translation of the Canterbury Tales features rhyming couplets.

Sinan Kökbugur's helpfully glossed hypertext Middle English rendition of the complete Canterbury Tales is available at the Librarius page. Use the Table of Contents in the left frame to click on a specific Tale, and difficult terms and phrases are glossed in the lower frame. 

3.  Historical & Cultural Backgrounds

The Wife of Bath made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem, quite an achievement for the time. The University of Southern Colorado, Department of History has put together a very fine Traveling to Jerusalem website, detailing pilgrim accounts from the 3rd century to the present day.  

See also Harold L. Osher's web exhibit Jerusalem 3000: Three Millenia of History (U of Southern Maine, Osher Map Library) for a number of medieval and early-modern images of the holy city.

Paul Halsall's Internet Women's History Sourcebook (IWHSB), a subset of the IMSB and Halsall's other WWW pages, provides a wealth of material related to women's history.  Of general interest is the Medieval Europe subpage of the IWHSB and the following:

Of particular interest as a comparison to the Wife of Bath is The Book of Margery Kempe, the memoir of a medieval woman whose breadth of experience and force of personality was as great, if not greater than, the fictional Alice of Bath. See Lynn Staley's Introduction and edition of The Book of Margery Kempe online at TEAMS. An important text in a student edition made freely available on the WWW.

Mapping Margery Kempe: A Guide to Late Medieval Material and Spiritual Life (Sarah Stanbury and Virginia Raguin, Holy Cross) is an excellent new resource that, in the words of the authors, provides "a digital library of resources for studying the cultural and social matrix of The Book of Margery Kempe. A goal of this site is to provide access to the material culture of Kempe's 15th century world, and especially the dynamic world of the parish. Materials at this site include a unique and extensive database of images of East Anglian parish churches. Other resources include the Middle English text and related devotional writings and saints' lives; documents about daily life, politics and commerce in 15th century Lynn; maps of pilgrimage routes; a gallery of devotional images; and bibliography and guides for teaching." See especially:

See also Aniinna Jokkinen's Margery Kempe page at the Luminarium:

How is the ideal wife supposed to conduct herself?  Read the Goodman of Paris (Le Menagier de Paris,c. 1392-94), a text roughly contemporary with Chaucer's own work, to get some sense of the medieval "ideal."

4.  Sources, Analogues, & Related Texts

Although it has not occasioned too much commentary, the Wife of Bath's Tale is Chaucer's only nod toward the Arthurian tradition ("In th'olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour . . . ," D.857).  There are a number of good online sources dedicated to the Arthurian tradition.  See, for example:

  • The Camelot Project (Russell Peck, URochester) for 
    • The Alliterative Morte Arthure
    • Annales Cambriae (Annals of Wales), Arthurian References in (c. 960-980)
    • The Avowyng of Arthur
    • The Awntyrs off Arthur
    • The Carle of Carlisle
    • Culwch and Olwen (translated by Lady Charlotte Guest as Kilhwch and Olwen)
    • The Greene Knight
    • The Jeaste of Sir Gawain
    • King Arthur and King Cornwall
    • The Knightly Tale of Gologras and Gawain
    • Lancelot of the Laik
    • The Marriage of Sir Gawain
    • Sir Gawain and the Carle of Carlisle
    • Sir Perceval of Galles
    • Sir Tristrem
    • Stanzaic Morte Arthur
    • The Turke and Sir Gawain
    • The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle
    • A selection of post medieval-Arthurian literature [Tennyson, Emerson, Swinbourne and so on.]

Just for a treat, here's the script to the famous Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a much wiser movie than many know.

Jack Lynch (UPennsylvania) has excerpted a portion of Jerome's Adversus Jovinianum (Against Jovinian).  This pro-virginity text, in which Jerome cites Theofrastus, is essential to understanding the Wife and her Prologue. See also Lynch's selected Biblical Passages on Women and Medieval Lyrics on Women.

Christy Desmet (UGeorgia) has excerpted a portion of "Holy Maidenhod," a treatise on the virtues of virginity.

What would the Wife make of Andreas Capellanus's The Art of Courtly Love?

A thematically important concept in the Wife's tale is "gentilesse," particularly in the "pillow speech" where the old woman instructs the reticent knight who grudgingly married her.  Read Chaucer's poem of the same name, "Gentilesse." 

5.  Online Notes & Commentary

Discussion and links concerning the Wife of Bath's Prologue and the Wife of Bath's Tale (two separate webpages) on Larry D. Benson's superlative Geoffrey Chaucer Page (Harvard). Includes e-texts of scholarly essays, sources and ancillary texts, and capsule discussions of key issues. Some of the items related to the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale include:

Medieval Women Writers (Laurie Churchill, Ohio Wesleyan U) provides resources for women writing in Latin, Occitan, & French.

  The Female Spellcaster in Middle English Romances: Heretical Outsider or Political Insider? by Barbara A. Goodman discusses shape shifting females in Middle English in terms that are applicable to the Hag in the Wife's Tale. Essays in Medieval Studies 15 (1998): 45-55.

At one point in her Prologue, the Wife is interrupted by the Pardoner, who calls her "a noble prechour in this cas" (III [D] 165), and Claire Waters has written of Dangerous Beauty, Beautiful Speech: Gendered Eloquence in Medieval Preaching, Essays in Medieval Studies 14 (1997): online. 

Mary Anne Andrade (Collin County Community College District) has provided  brief online notes for her literature classes, including The Wife of Bath and Augustinian Interpretation (notes from D.W. Robertson's famous A Preface to Chaucer).

Dan Mosser's course syllabus, "On the Road with the Wife of Bath and Margery Kempe" (Virginia Tech), presents a creative blend of literary investigation and historical inquiry and is a model for new approaches to one of Chaucer's most popular Canterbury pilgrims.

6.  Online Articles

Bloch, R. Howard, and Frances Ferguson, eds. Misogyny, Misandry, and Misanthropy. Berkeley: U of California P, 1989.

An important work of gender criticism in Chaucer studies is Elaine Tuttle Hanson's Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender (Berkeley: U of California P, 1992). It is available online at <> through the kind ministrations of U of California Press E-Scholarship Editions.  


See Susan K. Hagen's e-text, "Reading the Wife of Bath by the Light of Madonna or An Anachronistic Post-Modern Reading of a Post-Medieval Text" (Birmingham Southern U).  

Chaucer Sourcebook, from the Harvard Chaucer Page, offers a number of classic and professional essays from noted Chaucerians, including:

Essays in Medieval Studies features full-text articles from the proceedings of the Illinois Medieval Association, online version edited by Allen J. Frantzen (Loyola - Chicago), including:

R.A. Shoaf's online postprint Dante, Chaucer, and the Currency of the Word devotes Chapter 11 to The Wife of Bath and the Mediation of 'Privitee'

  "Hooly Chirche," the Sacrament of Marriage, and Thematic Finalization in the Canterbury Tales (Frederick Martin, Tulane U), from an ongoing e-project melding critical and cultural theory & medieval studies. See Martin's e-dissertation in progress, Pilgrimage in the Age of Schism: Chaucer, Sociological Poetics, and the Canterbury Tales.

  Susan K. Hagen has written Reading the Wife of Bath by the Light of Madonna or An Anachronistic Post-Modern Reading of a Post-Medieval Text (Birmingham Southern College).

7.  Student Projects & Essays

Dominion & Domination of the Gentle Sex:  The Lives of Medieval Women (Thinkquest) includes some oversimplification, but is a nicely done student website.

Dene Scoggins' English 316 site (UT Austin) explores "culture, ideology, and issues of canonicity" in the Canterbury Tales, including a student developed page devoted to the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale.

Anniina Jokkinen's Essays and Articles on Chaucer includes a number of sample student essays, of varying quality.  Like any other source, student essays must be evaluated rigorously, cited correctly, and  used responsibly. Jokkinen also compiles a number of resources by Canterbury Tale: The Wife of Bath's Tale

8.  Online Bibliography

An outstanding and wide ranging database, the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship's Medieval Feminist Index (UIowa) will lead you to a number of studies related to the Wife of Bath, her Prologue, and her Tale.

9.  Syllabi & Course Descriptions

10.  Images & Multimedia

See the Wife of Bath's Portrait from the Ellesmere Manuscript, one of the two earliest compilations of the Canterbury Tales (Huntington Library, San Marino, California via Anniina Jokinen's Luminarium).

See Anniina Jokinen's excellent photo essay, The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale in Images (Luminarium).

11.  Language Helps & Audio Files

Sample audio files (.wav, .au, .aiff) from the Wife of Bath's Tale, recorded at the 9th International Congress of the New Chaucer Society, Trinity College, Dublin, 1994, are available from the Chaucer Studio (Paul Thomas, Brigham Young).

12. Potpourri

Adrian C. Barbrook, Christopher J. Howe, Norman Blake, & Peter Robinson, "The Phylogeny of The Canterbury Tales," Nature 394 (1998) p. 839. See the reprint from the Canterbury Tales Project. In sum the authors conclude: "From this analysis and other evidence, we deduce that the ancestor of the whole tradition, Chaucer’s own copy, was not a finished or fair copy, but a working draft containing (for example) Chaucer’s own notes of passages to be deleted or added, and alternative drafts of sections. In time, this may lead editors to produce a radically different text of The Canterbury Tales. These results also demonstrate the power of applying phylogenetic techniques, and particularly split decomposition, to the study of large numbers of different versions of sizeable texts."

13.  The Next Step

The Electronic Canterbury Tales
Scholar's Dozen

  1. The Online Chaucer Bibliography (Mark E. Allen, UT San Antonio) is from Studies in the Age of Chaucer and the New Chaucer Society. Another excellent project. Searchable by keyword and other Boolean terms.

  2. The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography, vols. 1-30  (Peter Beidler, Lehigh U. & Martha Kalnin, Baylor U). Originally published as the April 1997 issue of Chaucer Review and now put into html, this website provides a searchable list of all of the nearly 800 articles that have appeared in Chaucer Review, and, more important, a subject index to all of those articles. Excellent, and an invaluable resource.

  3. The Essential Chaucer (Mark E. Allen, UT San Antonio and John H. Fisher, UTennessee). This selective, annotated bibliography of Chaucer studies from 1900-1984 is divided into almost 90 topics, including themes, techniques, and individual works by Chaucer.  An invaluable starting point. See the Table of Contents

  4. The best single site devoted to the Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales, The Harvard Chaucer Page, is a tutorial in itself, brought to the WWW by Larry D. Benson, gen. ed. of The Riverside Chaucer. Check the Index for easy access to the wealth of primary and secondary material there.

  5. Paul Halsall's consummate Internet Medieval Sourcebook (Fordham U) offers a wealth of primary historical and cultural texts (from older print sources) and commentary on its numerous sub-pages. Comprehensive, and unsurpassed for medieval studies. See, for example, The 'Calamitous' Fourteenth Century.

  6. TEAMS Middle English Text Series (Russell Peck, URochester) houses a number of lesser known and hard to find medieval texts in helpful student editions. A generous and fascinating selection not to be missed! Each selection includes a scholarly introduction and full notes. 

  7. Michigan's Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse has a large number of important primary texts, often older Early English Text Society volumes. The new editions also boast an upgraded search engine (Paul Schaffner & Perry Willett, UMichigan). Most important for Chaucer studies are the Chaucer Society editions of important early  manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales (edited by the indefatigable Furnivall).

  8. The Middle English Collection of the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center includes searchable editions of a number of important ME texts (generally from older editions without the critical apparatus), including:

  9. The Middle English Dictionary is online at the UMichigan site. You have to access the individual password month by month. Note: The MED seems now to be temporarily offline, or perhaps inaccessible for the moment to individual users.

  10. A real boon for scholars, the Canterbury Tales Project (Peter Robinson, U of Birmingham) has generously made available a series of articles and working papers describing the CTProject in detail.

  11. From Barbara Bordalejo (Canterbury Tales Project - DeMontfort U), a fully searchable online edition of Caxton's two printed editions of the Canterbury Tales: Caxton's Canterbury Tales: The British Library Copies.

  12. The ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies (Kathryn Talarico, gen. ed.) "is an academic site, written and maintained by medieval scholars for the benefit of their fellow instructors and serious students. All articles have been judged by at least two peer reviewers. Authors are held to high standards of accuracy, currency, and relevance to the field of medieval studies."

  13. For a peer-reviewed, academically sound evaluation of online Chaucer resources, see the links and annotations at the Chaucer Metapage project (gen. eds. Joe Wittig, UNC & Edwin Duncan, Towson State U).

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How to Document

Print & Electronic Sources:
The Chaucer Pedagogy
Documentation Primer

Writing Resources (from


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