Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The origin and social position of Chaucer’s Franklin has long been a subject of controversy. Scholars have been in disagreement as to how the Franklin fits in the society of his times. Chaucerian students have examined sources looking for information about him in his day, but most of them accepted the findings of others and have not deliberately taken the trouble to examine primary sources to substantiate their present views and to find additional material which would contribute to findings already made. Only a few men have dared to venture into historical fact to examine documents, records and contemporary works, in addition to Chaucer’s own works, to find answers adequate enough to change the entire picture of the Franklin’s position. I have examined both primary and secondary materials and have amassed much evidence to establish a point that has been variously accepted for over a hundred years. As I have explained on page five of this thesis, gentry is the class ranking below the nobility. Among the gentry, a squire is immediately below a knight in rank and a franklin, also of the gentry class, follows further down the line. On page twenty of this thesis, I have quoted from John Russell’s Book of Nurture, which is a book of etiquette, that a squire’s table may honor sergeants of law, late mayors of London, masters of chancery, preachers, residencers, and persons that are agreeable, apprentices of law, merchants, and franklins. I had a great deal of difficulty finding the right material for this thesis. Material on the subject of the franklin seemed to be very limited in Forsyth Library, but I was able to find source materials from books obtained by the inter-library loan which were listed in books containing secondary source material. Mr. Marc Campbell has been exceptionally helpful in obtaining books for me through the inter-library loan and the Forsyth Library staff have been helpful in assisting with checking materials out and in. In addition to this, Mr. Gene Mullen has been especially helpful and cordial and has given the finest of service.
Copyright 1961 M. Dale Anderson
Anderson, Dale M., "Chaucer's Franklin" (1961). Master's Theses. 692.