The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Gaylord, Alan T. "The Moment of Sir Thopas: Towards a New Look at Chaucer's Language." 16 (1982): 311-29.
Both Dante and Deschamps wrote treatises expressing a particular view of language. In the Tale of Sir Thopas Chaucer presents his view of literary language carefully concealed behind parody. Chaucer adjusts the tail-rhyme of Guy of Warwick to create laughter and to establish literary English. A standard of language adapted for poetry did not exist in the fourteenth century: Chaucer had to create a poetic language that sounded believably like speech.
Hill, John M. "The Book of the Duchess, Melancholy, and that Eight-Year Sickness." 9 (1974): 35-50.
In addition to Chaucer, poets like Guillaume de Machaut and Deschamps use what is traditionally love poem material to portray other states. For example, general melancholy and love melancholy share many symptoms. In the Book of the Duchess, the narrator's melancholy cannot be love because the narrator is not fixated on his beloved. Instead, the narrator suffers from a non-fatal head melancholy. The narrator's insomnia suggests his highly unnatural state, indicating that sleep is the only remedy. The insomnia results in a semi-hysterical attitude toward sleep for the narrator, who would like to sleep, but without dying as Alcyone did. Finally, Seys and Alcyone's story allows the narrator to sleep. In an appendix, Hill suggests a date for the Book of the Duchess, 1374.
Lenaghan, R. T. "Chaucer's Envoy to Scogan: The Social Uses of Literary Conventions." 10 (1975): 46-61.
The logical connection between the two parts of the Envoy to Scogan is not clear, but it does suggest a particular historical time in which to examine Chaucer's talent. Given the date of Scogan's service in the royal household, the poem can be dated in the 1390's. Like other poems of this period, the Envoy to Scogan contains a personal statement of a love which produced obligation. Like Deschamps, Chaucer indicates a sense of friendship for his companions, and like Machaut, he is self-deprecatory. The Envoy to Scogan uses a common theme to evoke activity from Scogan, in part by reminding him that he and Chaucer are equals. The suggestion of friendship, however, prevents such an idea from disrupting the social order.
Taylor, Paul Beekman. "Chaucer's Eye of the Lynx and the Limits of Vision." 28 (1993): 67-77.
Chaucer adds the image of the lynx's eye to his translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. Jean de Meun also uses the traditional qualities of Lynceus's eyes. Alanus de Insulis's Anticlaudianus and Adam de la Bassée's gloss, as well as the works of Eustache Deschamps, also use this image for sharp sight. Isidore of Seville and John Trevisa's translation of Proprietatibus associate the lynx with the ruby, giving the stone extraordinary healing qualities. Chaucer questions the insight associated with the lynx's eye in the Monk's Tale. Ultimately it becomes a symbol "of the limits of the artist's ability to see and express the perfection of form beneath the ugly matter of things" (75).