Guest Post: Literary Alchemy in The Canterbury Tales

A Guest Post from Carol Eshleman!

The Canterbury Alchemist: A Pilgrim’s Allegory

A canon and his yeoman race up to Geoffrey Chaucer’s pilgrims, begging to be allowed into their party. What follows is a tale of failed transformation and the subject of scholarly speculation spanning centuries. Analysts have argued about purposes of the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale along extremes from Chaucer merely imitating the alchemical literature of his time to Chaucer himself being an alchemist. What is more intriguing is why an author would have an outsider intrude upon a set cast of characters after taking such pains to describe them in detail. Mark J. Bruhn points out Chaucer’s self-reflectiveness in this scene: “Chaucer-the-narrator poses from within the dramatic moment the inevitable and crucial question it provokes: who are these unexpected interlopers?” (289). Because the premise of Canterbury Tales is that a group of people on a pilgrimage to Canterbury each tell story, the solution to Chaucer’s purpose must lie within the tale this intruding character tells. The Canon’s Yeoman’s tale of alchemy thrust upon the greater cast of pilgrims points to a larger alchemical allegory that Chaucer wishes to impart upon his readers.

An argument can be made for Chaucer’s use of alchemy as an imitation of other literature during his time period. Indeed, the general format of Canterbury Tales is an amalgamation of medieval literary genres, which fits with alchemical symbolism in general since alchemy “was not confined within the boundaries of few genres” (Linden 4). Because there were a plentitude of writings concerning the processes of alchemy, it’s highly possible that the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale was merely representative of this content as its own category of literature. The accuracy with which Chaucer portrays the alchemical process, however, is an extensive subject for debate.

Critics are quick to note the inaccuracies that Chaucer puts forth within the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale. Pauline Aiken points out that at one point, Chaucer lists two separate substances—“orpyment” (l. 774) and “arsenyk” (l.798)[1]—that are actually just two different names for the same substance (372). Aiken also makes the argument that most of Chaucer’s alchemical knowledge seems to come directly from the work of Vincent of Beauvais, specifically his Speculum Naturale. Aiken makes detailed notations of the extensive similarities between Chaucer and Vincent’s texts. Some lists are in the exact same order (Aiken 378). Aiken notes that “Chaucer mentions almost every process named by Vincent and no others, a point to be noted, since many of the alchemical treatises describe other methods of procedure or give different names to the same ones” (Aiken 380). Aiken goes so far as to say that Chaucer’s inaccuracies are due to “a lack of understanding of the material in the Speculum” (388). Aiken does not give treatment to the references to Arnold of Villanova that appear in the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale’s closing lines (Linden 40).

A separate theory is that Chaucer “was cheated by a real-life alchemist and wrote his tale in revenge” (Knapp 578). This theory also uses the revenge motif to explain the abrupt entry of the Canon’s Yeoman into Canterbury Tales, a theory that massively undermines Chaucer’s literary craftsmanship.

Other scholars point to the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale as proof of Chaucer’s alchemical knowledge. It is clear in other parts of Canterbury Tales that Chaucer was influenced by Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose, which contained “the earliest vernacular alchemical verses” (Kahn, “Part I” 252), which would prove that Chaucer had at least some alchemical knowledge outside of Vincent of Beauvais. Didier Kahn is quick to label Chaucer as the author who provided inspiration for a larger group of alchemical texts that came out of England following Chaucer’s treatment of the process in Canterbury Tales (“Part II” 65). Kahn declares that “Chaucer exhibits such competence that alchemists themselves recopied the canon’s long speech… , propagating the notion that Chaucer himself might have been an alchemist” (“Part I” 256). Chaucer’s alchemical knowledge was taken so seriously that “[i]n 1652 Elias Ashmole included the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale in his Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum,” an encyclopedia of alchemical texts (Kensak 217).

Some critics point to the minor alchemical inaccuracies in the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale as a sign of Chaucer’s familiarity with alchemy. S. Foster Damon has an interesting theory why Chaucer mixes up two different works of Arnaldus de Villanova at the end of the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale (l. 1428-1471):

These inaccuracies of Chaucer prove one thing: that he was quoting from memory. They also prove another: that the substance of his quotations (which he presents quite accurately) was more interesting to him than those very details which would be most likely to catch the fancy of a merely literary person. (785)

For Damon, Chaucer’s particular inaccuracies solidify his identity as an alchemical adept because the changes that he makes would have been clear to alchemical seekers. “It is sufficient to point out that only a serious student of these mysteries… could have chosen two quotations which concealed the entire formula so efficiently, while at the same time being so inaccurate about the inessentials” (Damon 787-88).

Whether or not Chaucer actually practiced alchemy, however, is irrelevant because a closer study reveals that his use of alchemy is not intended to be literal. A detailed examination of Canterbury Tales leads away from either of these extreme views and points rather towards a use of alchemy in a more interwoven and allegorical manner. To even consider Canterbury Tales in an alchemical framework at all is to place alchemy within the realm of symbols and cyphers. Linden states:

Alchemical authors are, then, centrally concerned with problems of selected revelation and concealment: with ensuring that their wisdom is passed only to those who are pure and pious and not to the ignorant, vulgar, and degenerate. To prevent the latter, alchemical works employ devices of concealment and disguise: cryptic imagery and symbol, fanciful simile and metaphor, pervasive allegory, arcane renderings of classical myth, biblical stories and fable, and… a persistently analogical habit of mind. (32)

In fact, seeking the alchemy within an alchemical text is not to look for the mundane; it is to look for the allegorical. Some alchemists explain this purposeful secrecy as “protection of God’s or Nature’s powers, which should not be available to the unworthy” (Knapp 578). Linden refers to this tradition as “ignotum per ignocius, explaining the unknown by the more unknown” (33). This tradition also included what Damon refers to as “a characteristic alchemical omission” (786), a purposeful neglect of some aspect of the process.

While modern readers may see this secretive nature as a purposeful hindering of an audience’s comprehension, medieval readers would not have viewed this quality in a negative manner. Kahn explains: “…for them, obscure passages simply indicated a need for decipherment” (“Part II” 65). Being able to see through the symbolism was a personal challenge to prove oneself an alchemical adept. Bruhn explains this textual interpretation as “the first task of the adept” (292), a form of alchemical initiation. This misunderstanding may explain the misconceptions surrounding the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale.

The fallacy in many investigation’s of the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale’s purpose is in attempting to divine the methodology of one of Chaucer’s tales as a single entity. Robert Longsworth notes: “the very format of the Canterbury Tales draws attention to striking differences in the means by which individual storytellers form and transform words, images, ideas, and actions into individual stories” (88). The tales are meant to read as commentaries upon one another, and Chaucer’s audience is meant to take note of similar imagery and story elements that arise amongst several tales at once. Tales within the same fragment of text in particular call to be analyzed in relation to each other. The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale should thus be considered along with the other tales in its fragment.

Fragment VIII only contains two stories, the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale and the Second Nun’s Tale. The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale describes the alchemical process in minute details, listing both specific ingredients and precise tools that should be used. The Second Nun’s Tale relates the life of St. Cecilia and the conversions of her husband and brother-in-law to Christianity. In Robert M. Longsworth’s article, “Privileged Knowledge: St. Cecilia and the Alchemist in the ‘Canterbury Tales’”, Longsworth points out the alchemical nature of the Tale: “The conversion wrought spiritually upon souls in the saint’s life is curiously parodied by the putative transmutation wrought just as mysteriously upon material objects in the alchemict’s laboratory” (87). The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale relates a story of literal alchemy; the Second Nun’s Tale relates a story of spiritual alchemy. In the Second Nun’s Tale, the transformation is successful, but in the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale, the alchemical work literally blows up in the Canon’s face. Longsworth points to the pairing of these tales as “a means for the narrative poet to reflect and to elicit from his audience relection upon transformation both as a theme and as a methodological problem” (87).

Linden states that alchemy “is splendidly equipped to represent moral transformation and transmutation” (24), which is the central focus of the Second Nun’s Tale. Bruhn describes alchemy’s developing symbolism:

Through the Middle Ages, the elusive philosopher’s stone came to be seen as a metaphor for Truth, or Christ, the Logos; the experimental quest to understand and refine nature at the elemental level, with the possible reward of unbounded riches, became the material figure for the spiritual quest of the soul toward transubstantiation, immortality, and union with God. (293)

The alchemical symbolism in this tale is exceedingly strong. When Cecilia’s husband, Valerian, wants to be baptized, he must go into the catacombs, “Among the seintes buryeles lotynge” (l. 186), for the ritual to take place. This coincides with the alchemical process of the metals being “produced beneath the earth’s surface” (Linden 15). There, he meets an old man wearing white robes who reads from a book with gold leaf. “And with that word anon ther gan appeere/ An oold man, clad in white clothes cleere,/ That hadde a book with letter of gold in honde,/ And gan bifore Valerian to stonde” (l. 200-03). The white clothes represents innocence (Kensak 221). The gold is also significant in its symbolism:

Cecile wears a golden robe, and her husband finds faith after reading a book written with golden letters. Spiritual purity characterizes the saint just as alchemical purity characterizes gold… Like the Philosopher’s Stone in alchemy, Cecile exerts a transforming influence on those around her… Unlike the alchemists who labor in vain, Saint Cecile effortlessly transforms leaden souls into spiritual gold. (Kensak 216)

After reading the book, Valerian is able to see the guardian angel that protects Cecilia. “Valerian gooth hoom and fynt Cecilie/ Withinne his chambre with an angel stonde” (l. 218-19). She also has a garland of flowers around her head that is invisible and smell-able to believers. Cecilia’s garland is composed of lilies, and since her name is explained to mean “heaven’s lily”—“It is to seye in Englissh ‘hevenes lilie,’/ For pure chaastnesse of virginitee” (l.87-88), Cecilia has a double connection to the Virgin Mary, which is a statement on her own virginity and purity (Dean 748). Once Valerian’s brother Tiburce is converted, he is able to smell Cecilia’s garland.

These two brothers represent the elements of mercury and sulphur, which are the two elements necessary for the alchemical work to take place. The element of mercury is given the qualities of “coldness, moistness, and femininity” (Linden 15). Valerian must go to a cold, damp place to be converted. This place is deep within the earth, which can be likened to a womb. Tiburce is converted through smell, and sulphur is known for its pungent odor. It is also known for the qualities of “hotness, dryness, and masculinity” (Linden 15). Tiburce’s conversion above ground, through Valerian’s wish, connotes these qualities.

Traditionally, it’s the alteration in color that alerts the alchemist to the next stage in the alchemical work (Linden 14). As Cecilia’s transformation moment comes nearer, Chaucer utilizes the symbolism of color changes to signify that Cecilia is moving into the final stages of her personal metamorphosis. Cecilia’s martyrdom scene is clearly invoking the red stage of alchemy. “Brenne hire right in a bath of flambés rede” (l. 515). She is burned in a fire that does not destroy her, and then her throat is cut. She eventually bleeds to death. How is this a display of successful alchemy? Mary W. Helms points to the specific symbolism in transformation by fire as the “purification of physical being and the spiritual salvation of the soul” (456). This was specifically relevant to those who would die in “fiery martyrdom… when the physical body died and was dissolved and then renewed and transformed to a purified celestial glory” (Helms 460).

Cecilia’s spiritual alchemy is successful because her death allows her to live eternally with God. Longsworth states: “That life everlasting is the aim of Saint Cecilia” (94). Eternal life also happens to be one of the aims of alchemy. In spiritual alchemy, death is not loss. Death is victory. Stanton J. Linden remarks in his book, Darke Hierogliphicks: Alchemy in English Literature from Chaucer to the Restoration, that “divine grace is requisite to obtaining the philosopher’s stone” (8), and grace is certainly present in Cecilia before she has obtained eternal life.

The work of the Canon, however, falls under the category of “practical or exoteric alchemy” as opposed to the “esoteric, spiritual, or philosophical alchemy” that Cecilia practices (Linden 8). The Canon is literally trying to transform baser metals into gold, which imbues the character of the Canon with an adherence to materialism. There is sloth involved in this tale as well since the Canon is not attempting to discover the philosopher’s stone on his own, but is instead hiring another alchemist to do it for him. Linden describes these types of exoteric alchemists as:

pretenders to alchemical wisdom who… drew upon the art’s mysterious processes and substances, its associations with magic, who utilized its revered authorities and exotic jargon, and, most of all, its promise of limitless wealth, in order to cheat the credulous and greedy. (26)

This selfish transformation that he attempts results in physical injury and the loss of his gold, the precise opposite of what alchemy is meant to accomplish. The charlatan alchemist is the one character in this tale who comes out successful: “…by sleight of hand the protagonist substitutes one metal for another, and thereby deludes his victim into supposing that the substance of a single metal has been altered… It is the power of deception rather than of atomic change” (Longsworth 88-89).

The Canon’s failure and Cecilia’s success can be intrinsically tied to the level of spiritual depth that each of their alchemies contained. Linden states: “For mystically minded adepts, the purely chemical operations and reactions occurring within their vessels symbolized deeper spiritual meanings” (9). Even practical alchemy could not be divorced from the spiritual realm. The work of the material and the alchemist must be one as “the evolving ‘stone’ becomes the symbol for, or direct reflection of, stages in the subject’s inner purification” (Linden 10). To attempt alchemy without any thought of spiritual transformation was therefore doomed to failure. The Canon’s Yeoman has taken on very physical signs of his alchemical catastrophe. His complexion, which used to be rosy, is now pale and sickly. “And wher my colour was bothe fressh and reed,/ Now is it wan and of a leaden hewe” (l. 727-28). Michael Kensak points out that “[the Canon’s Yeoman] has undergone a color change opposite to that of a successful alchemical transformation. The idolatrous pursuit of gold, in short, has turned the Yeoman to lead” (215). This description is particularly relevant in the spiritual analysis of the Canon’s Yeoman:

In the color-imagery of the early Christian tradition and the early Middle Ages, the darkness of a lump of iron ore was a significant factor in its ‘baseness’ since it signified the absence of any element of godly (spiritual) light or luminosity and thus represented the purely physical world, death and night, and/or spiritual humility (Helms 465).

Chaucer’s description of the Canon’s Yeoman as leaden thus makes sufficient commentary on the base spiritual nature that can occur from pursuing purely physical transformation.

It is important to recall, however, that these are only two tales within the larger framework of Canterbury Tales as a whole. These tales point together to a joint theme of allegorical transformation, but there are more tales with transformation at their core.

In the Wife of Bath’s Tale, a knight is presented with a problem of transformation. To discover the knowledge of what women want most in marriage, the knight is forced to marry an old hag. When he has married her, she presents him with an opportunity: she can either be foul and faithful or fair and unfaithful.

“Chese now,” quod she, “oon of thise thynges tweye:

To han me foul and old til that I deye,

And be to yow a trewe, humble wyf,

And nevere yow displease in al my lyf,

Or elles ye wol han me yong and fair,

And take youre aventure of the repair

That shal be to youre hous by cause of me,

Or in som oother place, may wel be.” (l. 1219-1226)

The knight chooses to leave the choice up to her, utilizing his otherworldly knowledge that what women want most is sovereignty in their marriage. By allowing her to choose, he is granted with a wife that is both fair and faithful. The hag can be likened to alchemical lead, which requires transformation. Once transformed, she becomes a maiden with golden hair, signifying the completion of the alchemical work.

The Franklin’s Tale can be connected to the Wife of Bath’s Tale because of its similar issue with a woman’s sovereignty in marriage, but it also has elements that connect it to the larger alchemical framework. A noblewoman, Dorigen, wishes to be faithful to her husband, and when she finds that a squire is in love with her, she tells him that she will marry him when the boulders disappear from the shore. “Ye remoeve alle the rokkes, stoon by stoon” (l. 993). The squire gets a clerk to complete this feat, and Dorigen is faced with the dilemma of oath breaking either in her marriage vows or in her promise to the squire. It is interesting that the squire’s promise is tied specifically to stones. The aim of alchemy is the creation of the philosopher’s stone so the unreasonable nature of the promise to the squire is typified not by the achievement of stone but by the loss of it. The success of the squire in this story is merely that he is forgiven his debt. The unreasonable nature of the squire proves his transformation purchased from the clerk to be temporary and ultimately unsuccessful. This is foreshadowed in the General Prologue by Chaucer’s presentation of the Clerk as a failed alchemist: “But al be that he was a philosopher,/ Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre” (l. 297-298).

The character of the demon in the Friar’s Tale seems to mirror the character of the Canon in the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale. The Canon is pictured as a demonic figure. He is detached from civilization and he spends his time in front of a furnace attempting an immoral, materialistic work. Helms states: “[A metal-worker] could be a feared figure, identified with the devil” (460). The Canon’s Yeoman specifically mentions that intent is what proves the Canon’s form of alchemy as false. The demon in the Friar’s Tale is also specifically concerned with intent. It is the desire for evil that damns both the Canon and the souls that the Friar’s Tale demon hunts.

The reverse of this negative result of alchemy is that if evil intent can damn, then good intent can save. This is the key the to deciphering the varying levels of success that the knight from the Wife of Bath’s Tale and the clerk from the Franklin’s Tale have achieved. The squire’s intent was to beguile Dorigen into maintaining a contradictory oath. His alchemy is impermanent and unsuccessful. The knight used good intent in allowing his wife to choose her form, and thus, he was blessed with a successful and permanent transformation. Chaucer as well has intent in layering alchemy within his Canterbury Tales, and deciphering his intention can answer the question not only of why the Canon’s Yeoman intrudes on the pilgrims, but also what purpose was behind the composing of the work as a whole.

Thus far, it has been shown that Chaucer’s alchemy seeps out of the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale and indicates connections throughout several tales. These connections are enough evidence to claim a motif but hardly enough to claim an overlying framework. However, there is imagery utilized in the opening lines of Canterbury Tales that indicates Chaucer’s purposeful intent to color the entire work with alchemical allegory. Paul B. Taylor points out that Chaucer’s reference to Zephirus in the opening lines had a particular allegorical significance to medieval readers: “The story of [Zephirus’] rescue of Psyche from Aphrodite was read by medieval mythographers as a figuring of Christ’s rescue of man’s soul from concupiscence” (1). Because the poem begins in April, the month connected with Christ’s resurrection, it is consistent for other images in the opening to also speak of spiritual salvation. Taylor also notes the order in which the wind appears with the natural elements: “First, Chaucer has reversed the normal, or meteorological, order of seasonal phenomena by placing the rain before the wind that should carry it. This order echoes Genesis, where the waters of life are in place before God’s breath animates them” (1). The rain then becomes “an image of the primal waters of life, the logoi spermatikoi of the pilgrimage itself” (Taylor 3). Chaucer has layered references to both the Creation and the Resurrection within this opening image. The audience is being guided towards a theme of new life. With this information in mind, the Canon’s Yeoman’s intrusion on the story can be seen in a new light.

Scholar James Dean has argued for the Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale as well as a collection of three other tales to be viewed as a group whose main purpose is “to bring [Chaucer’s] Canterbury book to closure” (746). These tales take on a very different tone and theme from the preceding tales.

Love, lust, sexuality, which played such important parts in earlier sections of the Tales, scarcely appear here. Instead we view distressed souls who undergo transformations—from flesh-bound to spirit (Cecilia), from joyous to darkly melancholy (Canon’s Yeoman), from bright divinity to black avenger (Phebus, in the Manciple’s Tale), from mortal sinner to penitent (Parson’s Tale, Retraction). (Dean 746)

This theory suggests that these tales seem so divorced from the others because Chaucer was attempting to round out the allegorical framework for a work he knew he was not going to finish. Dean mentions particularly that Chaucer purposefully wanted to “expose the architectonic features of his Canterbury Tales” and “to lay bare his storytelling art” (746). Leaving the alchemical symbolism as is without the addition of the final alchemy tales would have dissolved the alchemical allegory as a whole. A complete alchemical transformation involves a “cyclical transmutation process” (Linden 18), which connects strongly to the literary structure of chiasm. If alchemy were only mentioned at the beginning of Canterbury Tales, this circular structure would not have been complete, and the alchemical allegory may not have been discernable. Perhaps the Canon’s Yeoman would not have had to burst so abruptly into the plot if the pilgrims had actually made it back from Canterbury. Yet, as it stands, without the alchemist included, Chaucer’s intent is lost.

By considering the alchemical imagery throughout Canterbury Tales, Chaucer’s authorial purpose is revealed to be anagogical. Chaucer’s pilgrims are on a spiritual journey, and Chaucer’s readers participate in this journey alongside them. As the Host judges the merit of the individual tales, the reader is judging them as well, gaining insight and otherworldly knowledge on the way. From a privileged vantage point, the reader is granted insight like Cecilia, able to see the revelations as a true believer. Chaucer may not have completed Canterbury Tales, but he made sure that alchemy was included within the work so that his readers could embark on their own spiritual journeys.

[1] All Canterbury Tales quotes will be taken from The Riverside Chaucer, Third Edition.


  1. Thanks for this! I just began reading The Cantebury Tales, just finishing up The Knights Tale. Last night I thought I recognized some alchemical references. I look forward to reading the whole essay when I have finished the story. I can almost promise never to be an expert, but Hogpro makes me pretty dangerous at least! Thanks, Luisa

  2. Since I didn’t cover the Knight’s Tale in this essay, I’d love to hear what you spotted!

  3. Carol,

    In your essay you quote, “Alchemical authors are, then centrally concerned with problems of selected revelation and concealment: with ensuring that their wisdom is passed only to those who are pure and pious and not to the ignorant…” causing me to chuckle. While I saw individual hints of alchemy during my quick reading of “The Knights Tale,” an overarching picture of transmutation was hidden from me. Here are a few alchemical clues that flashed at me like blurry neon signs:

    The story is heavy with alchemical symbols, many references to the planets, to the colors and metals we would expect – iron, gold, red, white, sulfur. At the end, Theseus says,

    “The primal Mover and First Cause above,
    when first he made the beauteous chain of love,
    Great was the end, and great was his intent;
    Well he knew why, well He knew what he meant.
    Of that fair chain of love He made a band
    Holding the air, the flame, the flood, the land
    In definite boundaries, that they might not flee…”

    It’s a very long speech, probably more linked to alchemy than I understood, but my ears pricked up at the mention of the basic elements: earth, water, air and fire.

    Also, each character has alchemical references in their personal descriptions, even as their situations change during the story. A few examples:

    • Emely has golden blond hair. At the beginning of the story she is picking a bouquet of red and white roses. She is associated with Venus. The opposing male characters aspire to wed Emely.
    • Palamon, one of two cousins competing for the hand of Emely, has a constantly tear-streaked face. When his cousin is released from jail, he remains in the dark dungeon. Ultimately he weds Emely when Arcite, the other lover of Emely and his cousin, dies. An alchemical wedding, a joining of two opposites?
    • Arcite is released from prison and becomes a dry leaf of a man because he has been banished and can no longer see Emely in the garden. Later in the story, as Philostrate, he is the “water fetcher” for Emely. He wins a competition to gain the hand of Emely but ultimately dies of his wounds and is transformed by death, as indicated when he is buried in gold clothing and white gloves.

    In your essay you also explain how the individual tales must be viewed in relation to each other. I have to think that if other stories are studied in relation to “The Knights Tale,” there is probably a treasure-trove of alchemy. I’m auditing a Chaucer course at Mythgard beginning this Spring. The Canterbury Tales portion of the course is scheduled for the summer semester. I’m hoping that when I study carefully, as opposed to the casual reading I gave the tale this Christmas, I will see a more strenuous message than just the few loosely connected hints that appear to point towards alchemy.

    My copy of The Riverside Chaucer just arrived in the mail. Yikes.

    I really enjoyed reading both of your essays posted on this site – beautifully written and even a novice like myself could understand them.


  4. Wow! That is some great stuff right there! I’m going to have to go back and look at that speech definitely. I love your connection with the alchemical wedding. I think that’s definitely relevant. The tale I believe that needs to be looked at particularly is the Miller’s Tale in relation to the Knight’s Tale. I’m sure there are some alchemical parallels there. There’s a whole bunch of water imagery as well as the black, white, and red going on. You know, I’d really love to get my PhD eventually. I think if I do, I might just take this paper and expand it to include more tales and analysis.

    LOL, Yeah, the Riverside is a beast of a book, but don’t fear! It’s so big because there’s so much jam packed into there.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed them! I had hoped they would come across easily. I think medieval literature can be a bit daunting for a lot of people, but there’s so much in there that I hope more and more people are willing to dive in!

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