The Chaucer Review is essential reading for Chaucerians at
all levels of study. More than any other resource, it provides a
record of most of the significant trends in medieval and Chaucer
scholarship for the past three decades. It has, however, grown so
rich and full that only with difficulty can we make the best use of
it. Even those of us fortunate enough to have been charter
subscribers and to have our own full runs of the Journal have no
ready way to know what is in the more than three linear feet of the
quarterly numbers of the Chaucer journal that now occupy our
shelves. The purpose of this special issue of the journal is to
provide scholars with a compiled list of all of the nearly 800
articles that have appeared, and, more important, a subject index to
all of those articles.
Subtitled A Journal of Medieval Studies and Literary Criticism, The Chaucer Review has spoken boldly and fully and long as the prominent sounding board for scholars of medieval literature, especially Chaucerians. Fundamental as this journal is, as issue after issue has come from The Pennsylvania State University Press, finding material in The Chaucer Review has been an increasingly daunting and frustrating challenge. The staff of the journal has provided at the end of each volume a list of the articles to appear in that volume and a comprehensive list at the end of each decade, but there has been no index. The titles of the articles are some guide to the contents, but every scholar knows that the titles often contain only the most subtle hint about what the article is really about. Who would know, for example, that Jackson J. Campbell's "Polonius among the Pilgrims" (7 : 40) is about the fictional teller of the Manciple's Tale? No one has before now attempted to provide a subject-matter index of the journal.
Using the Index.
We have tried to keep the index both useful and within reasonable bounds. We have made every attempt to help scholars locate articles that may be relevant to their specific projects, but we have made no attempt to design an index that would replace the individual research that scholars working on specific problems will need to do.
We have used our best judgment in selecting items to be included in the index. We have tried to guide readers to significant discussions of important topics, but have tried not to send readers scurrying after obscure or unimportant references. In constructing the index we followed the general principle that scholars most need a guide to specific works, pilgrims, authors, and concepts. We have indexed the term courtly love, for example, but not the broader term love; the term Manciple but not the terms pilgrim or relationship between tale and teller; the term Boethius but not the term philosophy; the term Knight's Tale but not the terms military conflict or consolation for death or Palamon.
Pages, dates, and case.
Whereas the bibliographies included at the end of each volume and at the end of each 10-year set of The Chaucer Review provide only the first page of each article, we have provided the inclusive pages. Whereas those bibliographies provide cumulative-year dates of the volume in which an article appeared (e.g., 1984-85), we have provided the exact year (e.g., either 1984 or 1985) of the quarterly issue in which the article appeared. We have converted the all-upper-case titles in the original articles into mixed upper-and-lower-case format.
Our most crucial decision was the decision not to attempt to index the names of the characters within the various works--John, Bercilak, Alisoun, Black Knight, Beowulf, the magician, and so on. Our doing so would have added many pages to the index, but would even so have been incomplete. Would we include only major characters, or the very minor ones, as well? Would we include passing or endnote references to a given character, or only long and focused discussions? We decided, rather, to index under Pardoner's Tale every article that discusses that tale or its characters in a significant way, and leave it to individual scholars to see whether the articles listed give them the information they seek about the old man--or any other character in the tale. Our one exception was the individual Canterbury pilgrims. These characters we have included in the index.
We have indexed the Canterbury pilgrims discussed in an article when we felt that the article was concerned in a significant way with the history or character of that pilgrim. We have indexed under the terms most commonly referred to by scholars: Host rather than Harry Bailly, Man of Law rather than Sergeant of Law, Friar rather than Huberd.
Names of Works.
Chaucer's works are listed separately rather than under his name. The works of the better-known other medieval writers are listed under the writer's name. Other works are listed by their titles. We alphabetize an item without reference to any article--"the," "a," "le," "la," "il"--that precedes the key word.
Names of Scholars.
Because the bibliography, which follows the index, is organized alphabetically by the last names of the authors of the various articles, we have neither included the names of these scholars in the index nor attempted to note when a scholar was agreeing with or challenging another scholar. For articles with multiple authors, we have of course included the names of both authors, but we list them alphabetically under the name of the author given first on the article. We have cross-referenced the names of the second and third authors.
The numbers following each index item refer to the numbers to the left of each item in the bibliography, not to page numbers.
In constructing the index we composed quick abstracts of each of
the nearly 800 articles in this bibliography. Some scholars may find
them a useful guide to what we saw as the major arguments and
emphases of each article. Readers should be aware, however, that the
summaries have not been "vetted," and the abstracts have not received
the blessing of the scholars who wrote the articles we attempt to
summarize. Still, they may be useful, especially in conjunction with
the abstracts available in the annual list in Studies in the Age
of Chaucer. To this end, we have decided to make them available
electronically for at this site.
At this site, our abstracts are listed alphabetically, and numbered by the same reference numbers as used in the printed index. Scholars may browse alphabetically through the index or use the search engine (still in progress unfortunately) to find all the occurrences of particular characters, phrases, and other key words. In the event that scholars do not have handy the index printed in The Chaucer Review, they will find it by clicking on the index link at the top of this page. Any suggestions about the construction of the website may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are grateful to
Lehigh University and Baylor
University for providing limited but important initial funding
for this project, and to Northwest
University for providing space on its library server for this important resource.
In addition, we must thank Aaron Ensminger for his help in proofreading.
We thank Amanda Bigbee for her help on the website. Mostly, however, we
must thank Robert Worth Frank, Jr., who started The Chaucer
Review three decades ago and who edited it until his recent retirement.
Bob has shepherded two generations of Chaucer scholars--more than 550 of
them--into print. No one contributing to or reading this journal can fail
to be grateful to him.
Peter G. Beidler
Martha A. Kalnin