Chaucerotics pp 111-140 | Cite as

“On this goode wyf he leith on soore”: The Brutal Chauceroticism of The Reeve’s Tale

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


This chapter presents the second test case for the prospective meanings of Chaucerotics by examining The Reeve’s Tale. In this poem, the “cloak of language” is shown to veil a far different, darker variety of Chauceroticism that has made many critics uneasy. Recalling that early forms of pornography were commonly satirical rather than overtly sensual, Gust demonstrates that The Reeve’s Tale is a work in which Chaucer thoroughly pushes social boundaries through bold and brazen erotic content, revealing—if not reveling in—the illicit underside of medieval sexuality. This is the dark side of Chaucerian sex, as the poet forces readers to acknowledge deviant sexual behaviors that may not be morally acceptable to many, but are a viable part of sexual endeavor for some.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey W. Gust
    • 1
  1. 1.School of General StudiesStockton UniversityGallowayUSA

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