April Munday shares a most interesting discussion about the Franklin from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
This week I’m returning to another occasional series. This time it’s the one based on things I’ve found interesting or confusing in The Canterbury Tales. Today, it’s one of the pilgrims: the Franklin.
In The Canterbury Tales the Franklin is a symbol of the upward mobility that was a feature of the late fourteenth century. Franklin was a term used for a man of free birth. He wasn’t a serf, but he was still someone who held and worked land on a manor, even if that work was done by men he employed. The exact social status of Chaucer’s Franklin isn’t clear and has been argued about for decades. He might have been a member of the gentry, or, more likely, he might be someone who made a lot of money that enabled him to move among the gentry. The term ‘franklin’ covered a lot of possibilities. This franklin…
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