RGS Guildford courtyard with students

A Visit from Dr Marilyn Corrie

The English Department was delighted to welcome Dr Marilyn Corrie from University College London to deliver a highly engaging lecture on Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale to our A-Level English Literature students, the school community at large and guests from our partnership schools, St Catherine’s School, Bramley and Tormead School.

Dr Corrie is a lecturer in UCL’s Department of English Language and Literature, where she specialises in Medieval English literature. She is the editor of A Concise Companion to Middle English Literature, from which our students were, in preparation for the event, tasked with reading three chapters: “Religious Belief” by Dr Corrie herself, “Women and Literature” by Catherine Sanok and “Contemporary Events” by Helen Barr.

The lecture focused on the religious works that may have influenced Chaucer in the creation of his most famous pilgrim. Dr Corrie drew upon evidence from the Books of Ecclesiasticus, Ephesians and Romans, as well as the writings of St Jerome, to support her argument that the misogyny present in The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale is based on clerical teaching from these texts. Dr Corrie noted that this is in sharp contrast to the more historical approach adopted by Professor Marion Turner in her recently published book The Wife of Bath: A Biography. Professor Turner, contrastingly, has stated that the Wife of Bath has several contemporary forerunners from the fourteenth century who may have shaped Chaucer’s writing.

The lecture was followed by an engaging question and answer session in which our students were able to probe Dr Corrie further on their set examination text.