The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Grudin, Michaela Paasche. "Chaucer's Manciple's Tale and the Poetics of Guile." 25 (1991): 329-42.
The Manciple's Tale "explains and reinforces" the poetic principles present in the Canterbury Tales (330). The tale is built on fallen language; if it is about silence, there is a multitude of words within it. The action focuses the attention of the audience on truth and the act of speaking the truth. Though Chaucer suggests that society is not entirely comfortable with truth, he accentuates the creative, mimetic voice. Chaucer constructs the tale to remind his audience of his position as a court poet, and the tale shows Chaucer's awareness of corruption and the danger of instructing kings. The amplifications that seem to disrupt the tale remind readers of the need for slyness and care in political arenas. Phoebus is completely disconnected from such impulses. Without the discernment to pierce deception, Phoebus ultimately has no perception. Chaucer thus demonstrates how poets can "survive," but never resolves the question of truth-telling (339).
Lenaghan, R. T. "Chaucer's Circle of Gentlemen and Clerks." 18 (1983): 155-60.
Most court poets held other offices at court such as clerk or customs officer. These official duties were more important than writing poetry. Because of the political atmosphere in which a number of powerful noblemen were jockeying for rulership of the king's household, administrative skills were highly valued. Each group of officials also became a social structure. The poems Chaucer wrote to Scogan and Bukton reveal a sense of social equality. Even in writing to the king, Chaucer develops a sense of equality, as is seen in "Lak of Stedfastness" and the "Complaint of Chaucer to His Purse."