The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Brody, Saul Nathaniel. "Truth and Fiction in the Nun's Priest's Tale." 14 (1979): 33-47.
The Nun's Priest constructs his tale around the tension between literature and life. He employs digression to remind his audience that his tale is fiction but that it still has implications for "real" life. By consistently equating Chanticleer and Pertelote with a man and a woman respectively, the Nun's Priest underscores the connection between reality and fiction. When the Nun's Priest refers to Dante's portrait of Paolo and Francesca, he further explicates the relationship between truth and fiction. The fact that Paolo and Francesca begin their affair while reading about Lancelot and Guinevere implies that reading or hearing about human action can alter human behavior. The digressions in the Nun's Priest's Tale remind the audience that, though a fable, the tale contains some truth. The truth in the Nun's Priest's Tale is difficult to determine, however, because there are so many ambiguities in the tale. The Nun's Priest asserts that all stories, no matter how unreal, contain moral truths.
Ellis, Steve. "Chaucer, Dante, and Damnation." 22 (1988): 282-94.
The relationship between eagle and pilgrim in Book II of the House of Fame satirizes the relationship between Dante and Virgil as it appears in the Inferno. Chaucer's view of Virgil, Aneas, and fame derives from the Convivio. In the House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women, and Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer seems to question the end result of fame derived from literature: does it result in spiritual damnation or glorification?
Hamel, Mary. "The Dream of a King: The Alliterative Morte Arthure and Dante." 14 (1980): 298-312.
Arthur's terrifying dream at the start of the Alliterative Morte Arthure accurately predicts his fall. Sage philosophers correctly interpret his dream, suggesting that it is time for Arthur to admit his misdeeds and to ask God for mercy, but Arthur shows no interest in doing so. The terrifying atmosphere of the dream may well derive from the first Canto of Dante's Inferno--a poem that the author of the Alliterative Morte Arthure probably knew. A comparison of the two suggests that Arthur had, indeed, become a man of worldly values--a man of violence, anger, avarice, and pride. His fall at the hands of Fortune, then, can be seen as a punishment for his sin or a correction of his flawed character. By the end of the poem, Arthur comes to a full realization of his flaws and achieves an understanding of the role of Fortune. He dies repentant and reconciled to his fate, having learned that what appears to be bad fortune is really good.
Olson, Glending. "Chaucer, Dante, and the Structure of Fragment VIII (G) of the Canterbury Tales." 16 (1982): 222-36.
The Canon's Yeoman's and the Second Nun's Tales are closely linked by imagery and theme. Cecilia's effort to convert the people around her from pagans to Christians, a work of eternal value, is the reverse parallel to the alchemical process of turning base metals to gold, a labor of earthly value. Examination of the Canon's Yeoman's Tale reveals significant borrowings from Dante's Inferno, though Chaucer never indicates to his readers that the Canon's Yeoman goes to Purgatory. Finally, the Canon's Yeoman finally realizes his human limitations.
Shoaf, R. A. "The Franklin's Tale: Chaucer and Medusa ." 21 (1986): 274-90.
The Franklin's Tale shows how Chaucer read Dante's Inferno, Cantos 9 and 10. Chaucer especially uses the image of the Medusa who turns to stone those who look at her. Dorigen's response to Aurelius's announcement that the rocks are gone indicates her "a-stone-ishment" (275). Chaucer uses the image of Medusa to examine the difficulties illusions create for those who cannot pierce the rhetoric from which they are built. As a result of these problems, Chaucer advocates an unshrinking analytic faculty to his readers.