My worst nightmare

October 29, 2004

Teaching in Australia, I asked for comments on Absolon's reaction when he unwittingly kisses Alisoun's "nether ye" in The Miller's Tale . I was surprised when a woman asked why it said he felt something "rough and long-haired". My saviour was a lugubrious young man, who quipped: "I guess it was only her eyebrows she plucked, then, mate."

Greg Walker is professor of early modern literature and culture at Leicester University.

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