The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Dubs, Kathleen E., and Stoddard Malarkey. "The Frame of Chaucer's Parlement." 13 (1978): 16-24.
The opening stanza of the Parliament of Fowls expresses a poet's concern with shaping his raw materials into poetry. The writer-narrator of the Parliament is more detached than the narrator of the Book of the Duchess; the narrator of the Parliament achieves detachment through the frame of book, then dream. The dismissal of Somnium Scipionis in the opening stanzas of the Parliament can be read as part of Chaucer's concern with writing, and understanding the Parliament as a poem about writing illuminates the poem's circular structure.
Hewitt, Kathleen. "'Ther it was first': Dream Poetics in the Parliament of Fowls." 24 (1989): 20-28.
The Parliament of Fowls rearranges the material of Cicero's Somnium Scipionis, but still follows the pattern of descent from unity to disunity also found in the Somnium. In the process of presenting the dream, Chaucer borrows from Dante and from Boccaccio's Teseida. The parliament itself derives from Alanus de Insulis's De planctu naturae. In it, the rip in Nature's gown signifies humankind's separation from Nature. The labor of the birds that Chaucer highlights, however, suggests a movement towards redemption.
Oruch, Jack B. "Nature's Limitations and the Demande d'Amour of Chaucer's Parlement." 18 (1983): 23-37.
The Parliament of Fowls is an innovative treatment of the demande d'amour as shown by comparison with traditional elements of that genre. The choice presented to the formel eagle, the position of the judge and the birds who argue for each eagle, and the inconclusive end to which Nature assents all differ substantially from the traditional form. The role of Nature in Parliament of Fowls can be profitably compared to more traditional treatments in Alanus de Insulis's Anticlaudianus, Dante's Tesoretto, Jean de Meun's Roman de la Rose, and Guillaume de Deguilleville's Pèlerinage de la Vie Humaine. Chaucer designed Parliament of Fowls to cause the reader to examine larger questions, for example the narrator's interpretation of Somnium Scipionis.