Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Kevin Marti

Second Advisor

Catherine Loomis

Third Advisor

Robert Shenk


Sergei Eisenstein’s theory of collision montage can be applied to The Canterbury Tales because Chaucer’s writing is highly visual and often unconventional. This study analyzes several portraits and tales to demonstrate Chaucer’s literary collision montage technique. The opening lines of the General Prologue present the juxtaposition of the tripartite plant and humans to suggest commoners’ social immobility. The interruption of the Miller’s Tale clashes with the Knight’s to suggest the possibility of social mobility and to challenge traditional patriarchy. The latter half of the narrator’s description in the Wife of Bath’s portrait indicates a sexualized subtext through the juxtaposition of neutral images that undercuts her wealthy appearance. Chaucer’s literary collision montage technique is used to suggest the possibility of social mobility, and to reflect the disruption of the social hierarchy in late fourteenth-century England.


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