The Legend of Good Women's transmission history in the fifteenth century shows that early readers attended to it as a whole and as part of an ongoing dialogue about love and literature, although confusion about the number of legends the poem contains suggests that many readers knew it by reputation rather than firsthand. As sixteenth-century printed editions made the Legend more widely available, they created new contexts for reading the poem. The paratexts in these editions emphasize the role of the Prologue, treating it primarily as a response to Troilus and Criseyde and secondarily as an allegory for Chaucer's interactions with his patrons. This emphasis on the Prologue and its relevance to Chaucer's biography has set the pattern for modern critics' responses to the poem.

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