chapter  1
Tradition as Collaboration
The Public and the Private in The Physician's Tale
WithGiaccherini Enrico
Pages 9

The widely popular notion of 'originality', which modernity has inherited from the pre-Romantics and the Romantics, is of little avail when attempting to describe the understandably complex relationship that medieval authors entertained with their predecessors. The Physician's Tale has always been, and in part still is, one of Chaucer's least popular tales. The variations consist not only in the addition to the Physician's Tale of new material not to be found in the sources and parallel texts, but also in the elimination, or transformation, of what indeed was in the sources. The temptation to question the role of Virginius in the Physician's Tale is strong. The temptation to question the role of Virginius in the Physician's Tale is strong. In composing the Physician's Tale Chaucer, as has been noted, chose to deal with a traditional story – one which, in its simple outline, might have provided the stufffor an exemplum to be delivered from a medieval pulpit.