Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Research on women in medieval literature is abundant but often focused on broad questions of narrative and character development. Among the areas seldom examined is what I will term "female voice," a term that encompasses the thoughts and speech of women in literature. This project analyzes the representation of female voice in Chaucer's work, and it explores alterations to female voices within the largely male worlds (both actual and literary) in which they were created.

This study broadens the analysis from the restrictive and traditional realm of women's studies and contextualize these alterations on a grander scale of textual and paleographical studies and masculinity studies. Not only does this project compare and examine the changes that Chaucer made to the female voice as well as the significance of those alterations, but it provides careful examination of manuscripts and accounts for the paleographical evidence of these changes in order to contextualize said changes in terms of male textual production and transmission of the female voice. This permits the female voice to be analyzed in terms of, and defined by, new traditions. What lacks in current scholarship is an assessment of voice outside of female contexts; female voice is not just about women, but is equally about men and textual history. A re-examination of specific points in Chaucer's works through these new lenses shows that alterations to the female voice deserve far more critical analysis than they have been afforded in the past.

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