The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Ambrisco, Alan S., and Paul Strohm. "Succession and Sovereignty in Lydgate's Prologue to The Troy Book." 30 (1995): 40-57.
In the prologue to the Troy Book Lydgate presents the problems of literary succession. Much like political successions, literary succession is continually interrupted and resumed. First Lydgate admits his debt to preceding authors, attempting to fill in the fissure between his present and the literary past by referring to the Troy Book. Because it is merely imaginary, the text does not have a temporal element, thus escaping the problems of historicity plaguing Guido delle Colone's Historia destructionis Troiae and Lydgate's reworking of it. The Troy Book thus reappears through various lacunae in the text in interrupted lines of succession. Lydgate contrasts this text to more historical texts such as De excidio Troiae historia and Ephemeris belli Troiani. A conflict erupts in Lydgate's work between historical, linear authority and self-asserted authority in Guido's text which rests on the subjugation of Benoît's Roman de Troie. But Lydgate makes merit the most important qualification for legitimacy. In his prologue, Lydgate attempts to create a gap in the succession of literary authorities which he and Guido can fill. Politically Henry IV follows much the same process, affirming himself as king in the line of succession. In both cases, memory reworks both political and social history, providing links for succession where before none existed.
Condren, Edward I. "The Historical Context of the Book of the Duchess: A New Hypothesis." 5 (1971): 195-212.
Readers will never know with certainty the context of this poem, though we recognize that Blanche of Lancaster is the subject of this elegy. External evidence suggests that Chaucer wrote it between 1369 and 1387, but internal evidence points to a more specific date. The narrator's "phisicien" and the man in black's lady are one and the same. Also, the knight and the narrator provide two different reactions to Blanche's death. Further, the man riding toward Richmond cannot be the man in black because he is on foot and not associated with the hunt, and the riding man is not given a social rank. The knight has dedicated his service to Love, not to Blanche, so he cannot be her husband. The knight might be identified as Chaucer, particularly since the knight is a budding poet, and poets in Chaucer's other works often turn out to be Chaucer himself. In their two responses to death, the knight and the narrator seem to be two different figurations of the same person. The way in which the work progresses, then, depends on the process of Chaucer's patronage after the death of Blanche under Edward III, John of Gaunt, and Henry IV.
Urban, William. "When Was Chaucer's Knight in 'Ruce'?" 18 (1984): 347-53.
The mention of "Ruce" in the Knight's portrait in the General Prologue refers to a small part of Samogithia, possibly making the Knight a complimentary reference to Henry of Derby.