Geoffrey Chaucer: The Second Nun's Tale

(2246 words)
  • Joseph Luke Grossi (Canisius College )

Chaucer's Seconde Nonnes Tale of the lyf of Seinte Cecile, as the title is worded in the manuscripts, is the first tale in the eighth fragment (formerly Group G) of The Canterbury Tales as modern editors have arranged it. It comprises 553 lines of verse in 79 seven-line stanzas, with the rhyme scheme ababbcc. One of the shortest narratives in this long poem, the SNT comprises both a Prologue (lines 1-119) narrated by the same Prioress' Nun who receives no portrait in the General Prologue, and the Tale itself (120-553). The latter is a re-telling of the Passio Sanctae Ceciliae [“Passion” or “Suffering and Death of the Life of St Cecilia”] from the enormously popular collection of …

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Grossi, Joseph Luke. "The Second Nun's Tale". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 January 2007
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]