The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Berry, Craig A. "The King's Business: Negotiating Chivalry in Troilus and Criseyde." 26 (1992): 236-65.
Chaucer's poetic negotiation of the chivalric code appears most prominently in Troilus and Criseyde. Reading Troilus and Criseyde against the backdrop of contemporary events suggests a number of parallels, such as that between England and Troy. This kind of reading also suggests the kinds of social and court views Chaucer would have supported, such as the one which suggested that a knight successful in the bedroom might experience defeat on the battlefield. The tensions Chaucer engages, however, express the dichotomy of the chivalric code and its relationship to knighthood and the behavior of both men and women. The use of fear to manipulate the reactions of women particularly addresses an incident in Andreas Capellanus's Art of Courtly Love, and records of real instances in which knights rescued "ladies in distress" can be found in the fourteenth century.
Green, Richard Firth. "Women in Chaucer's Audience." 18 (1983): 146-54.
Historical records indicate that at court, men and women did not spend much time together. Most likely, the audience that heard Chaucer read his poetry aloud was entirely male, in part because the population of women at court was quite small. The increasing presence of women at court towards the end of the fourteenth century may account for the decline of the fabliau.
Reiss, Edmund. "Chaucer and His Audience." 14 (1980): 390-402.
Historical records tell little about Chaucer's audience. Chaucer, however, is clearly aware of his audience and of what that audience knows. Because Chaucer's audience knew classical authorities, he could play against their expectations without being misunderstood. Chaucer's various discussions of gentillesse are perfect examples of this dialogue between Chaucer and his audience. Court poetry, while expressing social concerns, presented answers already familiar and accepted by the audience. By playing with what his audience knows, Chaucer draws them into his work. He can also force them to consider the discrepancy between their ideal and what is real.