"Engelond" and "Armorik Briteyne": Reading Brittany in Chaucer's Franklin's Tale
Copyright © 2016 The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. This article argues that Chaucer's imaginative depiction of the topographical and cultural otherness of Brittany and the fraught triangular relationship of the main characters in the Franklin's Tale is influenced by his awareness of Brittany's entanglements with England and France in the Hundred Years' War. Fourteenth-century Brittany was a strategic border region, differentiated from other French territories by its Brythonic language and culture, yet inextricably bound to England by ties of kinship, fealty, and occupation extending back to the Norman Conquest. The Franklin's Tale explicitly links each of its main characters with one of the three polities involved in this conflict, associating Dorigen most strongly with Brittany itself. The love story between Dorigen and Arveragus and the challenge posed to it by Aurelius play out in an emphatically Breton colonial setting, where the erotics of sexual conquest become conflated with territorial and political conquest.
Godlove, Shannon, ""Engelond" and "Armorik Briteyne": Reading Brittany in Chaucer's Franklin's Tale" (2016). Faculty Bibliography. 3015.