ok, so I've got a great bloody pile of articles on the Wife of Bath. And several of them go off on the idea that her Tale is literary wish-fulfillment of the grossest kind, that she just wants mastery that she never got over her other husbands, and a young man good in bed. One even suggests that she's looking for a great dumb oaf, due to her troubles with her learned husband.
I grant that she probably does want some ability to return to her earlier state of youth and beauty.
But have they not noticed that after the fight over the book, she managed to convince him that he was wrong, that he should listen to her and burn the rest of the book, and then they were much happier together? perhaps it wasn't so much of the control that her alter-ego in the Tale got, but hey. It's the difference between the real world and fantasy, and it seems ike the Talk was just trying to make her point a little more obvious. Be nice to your spouse, things will go much easier for you. Don't insult them, don't beat them, or Very Bad Things will happen to you.
I'm still pissed about the Wife as the domestic violence Barbie. Grr. Stupid people suck.
Also, Academia sucks. It's all name dropping, very few original ideas, and who you know. I don't want to play those games, so I'll probably never be puplished. I don't mind pointing out where certain articles are wrong, but I'd prefer they did it with just textual evidence. I don't really care what these other authors have said on the subject. Ok, so I sort of do, but I'm really much more interested in waht Chaucer has to say. Or whomever we're talking about. I just took a course in which we had to read all sorts of articles, and I decided that I much preferred the ones that proved their point through original sources. I mean, contemporaries would have known what was what, right? Not that it proves everything. There are laws concernign domestic abuse, what constitutes it, &c., but that does not describe society as a whole. I have read countless modern books dealing with domestic abuse. And I've been abused in several forms. But you know something? It's not especially normal. It is not indicative of what society as a whole considers a good idea, or a good environment for a child or an adult. And I have found a better one, so I'm happy.
Where was I? Aside from snarking? I don't want to have to know the entire history of every argument ever made about any piece I have to write on. I don't want my publishing future to be dependant on whose name I know, who knows my name, and how well I weild other people's arguments. Again, wanting to get by on the strength of my own brain. And then there's the fact that I have a deep l;ove for middle class clothing, adn as I found this semester, there is *No Research* on it until much later centries. Gar!
And I'm currently amused by the idea that the Wife of Bath was not a lecherous beast, that she was actually an Augustinian moderate in her stance on marriage as opposed to Jerome's hyperbolic extremism, and that the six most misogynistic passages, which do not appear in the earliest manuscripts, were scribal additions. And you know, I read her Prologue first in the Skeat version, which, like the Riverside, does not include them. And it really, really does change her personality. A lot. It may not seem like much, but she goes from someone of sort of ambiguous morals, who says that she'd never actually *cheat* on her husbands, to a woman practically a street-walker.
And just as much as one cannot take laws and literature to represent fact, you cannot take anti-feminist literature to necessarilly represent general opinion. Most of the anti-feminist tracts were written to encourage young men to go happilly into chastity. So not only were they meant to spoil young men's minds, but they were written by a very "sour grapes" set of people, bitter that they could not have something they wanted, and determined to make everyone suffer for it. And the reason there's so much of it and so little of a more reasonable sort? Consider who controlled the Mainframe. Monasteries were the root of all education, and pretty much the homes of most people who could read and write. So yeah, trust them to produce the most writing. And please, please do not try to use the word hate. Hate is generally a very persona thing, or reserved for the "not us" group, which generally best applies to those of different colours or cultures, not one's family. Except in the "very personal" category. I can pretty much guarantee that all people are related to at least one woman. In fact, I can't think of one who isn't.