이동춘:  '캔터베리 이야기'에 투영된중세 시대 노인의 이미지와 특징  Medieval and Early Modern English Studies Volume 24 No. 2 (2016)   83-105 
        [Lee, Dong Choon: The Images of Medieval Old Man As Portrayed in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales]

How many knew their accurate ages in the medieval period cannot be known. Absolute accuracy mattered less than the cultural meaning given to each age. Therefore, old age was a highly subjective concept. A common practice, however, was to divide it into two: an early stage beginning around fifty to fifty-five was called senectus, and a second stage beginning in the sixties or seventies was called decrepitude. Criticism and praise concerning the elderly were often two sides of the same coin. The old could instruct the young with words of wisdom and experience, while physically reminding them of the decay to come. On the other hand, the negative images of the old and the victims of ageing also predominate in late medieval literature. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer rules out any excessive behavior of the old, including desire, sexuality, possessiveness, and so on. In particular, the old’s excessive sexuality was particularly discouraged as an exertion which would get them to serve as fool. In Chaucerian tales, sexuality is the touchstone by which to define and judge his old figures either as positive or as negative. Far from being the calm and reflective fellow melting into his golden years, Chaucer’s old fools such as Reeve, John, and January are obsessed with carnal pleasures together with other vices. On the other hand, Chaucer’s old sages in The Canterbury Tales are commonly equipped with wisdom, experience, and prudence. They are depicted as the wise figures to offer advice to the young, though their moral or spiritual message is rejected. In spite of Chaucer’s balanced attitude toward the old figures in his tales, it seems that medieval society tended not to appreciate individuals’ growing old disgracefully.


초서, '캔터베리 이야기', 청지기, 노인, 나이 듦
Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Reeve, old man, aging