The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Dean, James. "Chaucer's Repentance: A Likely Story." 24 (1989): 64-76.
Though present-day readers are skeptical that Chaucer cried in repentance on his deathbed, the placement of the Parson's Tale and the "Retraction" at the end of the Canterbury Tales suggests that Chaucer followed Langland, Mandeville, Deguilleville, and Gower in retraction, but Chaucer changes the tradition. In works by each of the other four, a journey or pilgrimage is followed by episodic experience or storytelling, followed by age and perhaps penitence. Given the prevalence of this pattern, Thomas Gascoigne's account of Chaucer's deathbed repentence is likely to be true.
Garbáty, Thomas J. "Pamphilus, de Amore: An Introduction and Translation." 2 (1967): 108-34.
Pamphilus greatly affected the primary writers of the Middle Ages including Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Gower. The reader can see its influence in Troilus and Criseyde and the Roman de la Rose. The translation shows the importance to Chaucer studies of this neglected work.
Moorman, Charles. "The English Alliterative Revival and the Literature of Defeat." 16 (1981): 85-100.
Poems within the alliterative revival may be grouped by the geographical location of their writers. Writers from different areas of origin use different techniques. For example, the Parliament of the Three Ages and Winner and Waster use natural description and a non-doctrinal tone, elements found in Southern poetry. Western and North Midland poetry of this period (1350-1400) employs concrete physical detail and avoids Christian and political emphasis. Eastern poems focus on immediate socio-political goals, and they resemble Chaucer's and Gower's works. The poets of the alliterative revival rely on "an inherited oral and poetic tradition" (89), the revival of which grew out of opposition to the royal court. The more Norman-Western poets deal "with the conflicting passions and basic instincts of men" (90). The Western poems show the elements of Anglo-Saxon poetry beneath the Christianized exterior.
Nicholson, Peter. "The Man of Law's Tale: What Chaucer Really Owed to Gower." 26 (1991): 153-74.
Chaucer's debt to Gower for the material in the Man of Law's Tale has never been adequately assessed. Chaucer and Gower eliminate the same details and follow the same plot line. Chaucer also borrows a number of words and phrases from Gower. Chaucer chooses to borrow from Gower's treatments of several key scenes instead of taking directly from Trevet. Gower was probably more Chaucer's source for the Man of Law's Tale than Trevet's Cronicles.
Ruggiers, Paul G. "Towards a Theory of Tragedy in Chaucer." 8 (1973): 89-99.
Chaucer relies on the same view of Fortune as Boethius and Dante: Fortune is God's providential agent. In the Monk's Tale, Fortune is a pagan goddess who alternately raises and lowers humans without favoritism, but she is ultimately God's mysterious agent. In this tale, Chaucer uses a "high-mimetic" style, but he can also work with "low-mimetic" tragedy involving pathos. The idea that love may be treated tragically derives from Latin writers such as Ovid as well as Boccaccio (Teseida, Filostrato), Dante, and Gower, but the tone of pathos is tempered by the Christian sense of hope. Following Boethius, Chaucer models tragic figures on Adam and Christ, one suffering deservedly, the other undeservedly. Chaucer does, however, seek to lighten tragedy with romantic effects or irony or at least attempts to make the sufferers deserve their troubles. Thus, Chaucer balances God's role in human affairs with the choices humans make that affect their destinies.
Shaw, Judith Davis. "Lust and Lore in Gower and Chaucer." 19 (1984): 110-22.
Chaucer and Gower treat lore differently. Both believe that lore is the wisdom of the past, but Chaucer doubts that lore can be used effectively in modern times. Gower shows no doubt that lore has something to say to his era. Chaucer's characters construe authority (lore) to suit their own ends; Gower's characters display an honest desire to learn. Chaucer and Gower also treat lust differently. Few of the Canterbury Tales combine meaning and delight. Gower avoids complex rhetorical figures, however, and focuses on his text, succeeding in mingling teaching and delight.