The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Boitani, Piero. "Chaucer's Labyrinth: Fourteenth-Century Literature and Language." 17 (1983): 197-220.
In the House of Fame, Chaucer borrows from a number of sources, showing the literary milieu of his time. The poem may be"a maze where signs are lost and confused" (216), but it is a wonderful dream.
Carr, John W. "A Borrowing from Tibullus in Chaucer's House of Fame." 8 (1974): 191-97.
The first line of the House of Fame is probably borrowed from Tibullus, since none of the other authorities transmits that line. Furthermore, Chaucer maintains the purpose and diction of the original. What we know of Chaucer's diplomatic trips to Italy suggests that he may have visited Salutati's library, renowned for its collection of dream literature, and there discovered Tibullus.
Delany, Sheila. "'Phantom' and the House of Fame." 2 (1967): 67-74.
The narrator's plea to be protected from fantome points to his vulnerability to several kinds of error, particularly because of the phantom's separation from reality. Poets are especially susceptible to phantoms and singularly responsible not to impose them on an audience. Finally, the reader realizes that there is no perfect standard by which to distinguish truth from fiction.
Edwards, A. S. G. "House of Fame 2018: An Unnecessary Emendation." 25 (1990): 78-79.
The reading "laugh" for "languisshe" in line 2018 of House of Fame Book III makes the most sense of the passage. Laugh could easily have degenerated into languish through scribal transmission.
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?
Finlayson, John. "The Roman de la Rose and Chaucer's Narrators." 24 (1990): 187-210.
Comparing Chaucer's dream vision narrators to the narrator in the Roman de la Rose illuminates the functions of Chaucer's narrators. In the Roman de la Rose the narrator has a number of different stances highlighting a variety of personality traits. Guillaume de Lorris's narrator psychologically coresponds to the author. In the Book of the Duchess, however, the narrator is not established with a particular autobiographical connection to the author. The places in which the narrator becomes autobiographical are merely narrative devices because texts like the Book of the Duchess and the Parliament of Fowls do not present a "consistent, 'comic persona'" (200). The narrator in House of Fame is not consistently the same, but he is constantly in attendance as the unifying device for the poem. In the Book of the Duchess and the Parliament of Fowls the narrator is not often present, nor is he consistent, and his statements show greater neutrality than previous scholars have thought.
Frank, Robert W., Jr. "The Legend of The Legend of Good Women." 1 (1966): 110-33.
The idea that the good women bored Chaucer has halted criticism of the Legend, though writers immediately following Chaucer's death seemed unaware that Chaucer thought the project unpleasant, and the Legend of Good Women remained a part of literary fare into the fifteenth century. Nineteenth-century critics derived the idea that the Legend bored Chaucer from the project's unfinished state and other assumptions about Chaucer's literary development not drawn from the work itself. Others point to passages of "mocking, humorous tone" (116). References to various women in the Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, and the Parliament of Fowls, however, suggest that the material for the Legend had interested Chaucer for some time. He also rewrote the Prologue and mentioned the Legend in the Man of Law's Tale, surely not acts of boredom. Other passages which have been used to demonstrate Chaucer's boredom with his subject are in fact occupatio. The humorous tone does not present a problem because Chaucer characteristically lightens serious moments and because the topic itself (good women) evokes satire.
Harwood, Britton J. "Chaucer on 'Speche': House of Fame, the Friar's Tale, and the Summoner's Tale." 26 (1992): 343-49.
The House of Fame, the Friar's Tale, and the Summoner's Tale share the image of a wheel and a focus on sound. Together these three function like the three parts of a sentence. In the House of Fame, Chaucer opposes the castle of Fame and the house of Rumor. The Friar's Tale works because the same group of words can have two meanings. The Summoner's Tale operates on exactly the opposite principle: many groups of words all mean the same thing.
Hilberry, Jane. "'And in oure madnesse everemoore we rave': Technical Language in the Canon's Yeoman's Tale." 21 (1987): 435-43.
In the Canon's Yeoman's Tale Chaucer shows "the appealing, poetic quality of alchemical language" (435). Like the Franklin, Pertelote, and the narrator of House of Fame, the Canon's Yeoman is clearly attracted to the sound of technical language, though he recognizes alchemy as dangerous.
Kruger, Steven F. "Imagination and the Complex Movement of Chaucer's House of Fame." 28 (1993): 117-34.
Though the movement patterns in the House of Fame are complex, they unite the poem. The House of Fame is primarily a self-reflexive poem, drawing readers' attention to fundamental issues of art. Poetry is essentially concerned with fame and communication. As in other dream visions, however, there is no guarantee of discovery, and when moments of epiphany come upon the dreamer, they are inherently ambiguous. Both the House of Fame and of the House Tidings have equivocal relationships to Truth. Truth may be heeded or ignored.
Miller, Jacqueline T. "The Writing on the Wall: Authority and Authorship in Chaucer's House of Fame." 17 (1982): 95-115.
Inherent in the genre of dream vision is the problem of authority: there is no one who can corroborate the narrator's dream. The narrator of the House of Fame carefully establishes his separation from the dream vision tradition by placing the dream in December and appealing to himself as an authority figure. When telling the story of Dido and Aneas off the walls of the Temple of Venus, the narrator refers to himself as a kind of author, determining the parts of the story he will include based on his purpose. When he leaves the temple, however, the world outside is too much for his voice, and the voice is silenced. Silence gives authority to the true creator.
Payne, Robert O. "Making His Own Myth: The Prologue to Chaucer's Legend of Good Women." 9 (1975): 197-211.
The Prologue to the Legend of Good Women shows a standard Chaucerian narrator, an academic who relates his dream. Like the Book of the Duchess, the Parliament of Fowls, and House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women chronicles the development of a love poet. The narrator becomes progressively more integral to the prologues of these poems, gaining an identity and participating in the activity of the dream garden. In the Legend of Good Women, the narrator becomes a representative of Chaucer; as the narrator, Chaucer refers to his earlier work. Finally, the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women portrays the quest for an ars poetica.
Ruffolo, Lara. "Literary Authority and the Lists of Chaucer's House of Fame: Destruction and Definition through Proliferation." 27 (1993): 325-41.
Though based on Dante's Commedia, the House of Fame works in the opposite direction, using lists of secular and sacred materials, jumbled together, to undermine literary authority. Fame's presentation draws attention to the fact that fame is often not deserved. Ultimately, Chaucer suggests that a poet's fame does not depend on the greatness of his art, but on the reception that his art receives, thus making the audience, not writing predecessors, the final authority.
Ruggiers, Paul G. "Platonic Forms in Chaucer." 17 (1983): 366-82.
Chaucer builds his poetry around four different topics, "1) eating and drinking; 2) sexuality and love; 3) play and seriousness; and 4) the making of art" (367). Drinking has religious overtones of suffering, and the drinking image appears in the Reeve's, Pardoner's, Man of Law's, and Franklin's Tales as well as in Troilus and Criseyde and the House of Fame. Chaucer treats love in four different ways as seen in Troilus and Criseyde, and in the Miller's , Reeve's, and Second Nun's Tales. Furthermore the Canterbury Tales as a whole experiments with the theme of play, examining play from a number of different points of view. Chaucer also investigates what it is to create a literary work, a theme particularly present in the Tale of Sir Thopas and the Tale of Melibee.
Russell, J. Stephen. "Is London Burning? A Chaucerian Allusion to the Rising of 1381." 30 (1995): 107-09.
Three fairly specific references in lines 935-49 of the House of Fame suggest that Chaucer refers to the Peasant's Revolt of 1381. In light of these allusions, the date for the House of Fame must be considerably later than previously thought.
Watts, Ann Chalmers. "Chaucerian Selves--Especially Two Serious Ones." 4 (1970): 229-41.
The separation between Chaucer the author and Chaucer the speaker seems to vary considerably throughout Chaucer's work. The relationship between the author and the speakers is also the relationship between the speakers and the worlds of their settings. The speaker is "normal" while the world is fantasy, and the speaker accepts his illusory world, asking the wrong questions or no questions at all. Thus, the narrator in the Book of the Duchess displays notable obtuseness in his conversation with the man in black, an obtuseness that points to the real world. In the House of Fame, readers experience a similar disjunction between the real world and the fanciful world, and at the end, the narrator denounces the surroundings. As in the House of Fame, the narrator of Troilus and Criseyde presents an interesting problem, particularly at the end of the poem when the distance between the narrator and the author collapses. The joining of author and narrator presents a distinct moral discernable in the serious tone and the absence of qualifing phrases. At the end of the poem, the speaker curses his world, and the author prays for salvation.
Whitman, F. H. "Exegesis and Chaucer's Dream Visions." 3 (1969): 229-38.
The Book of the Duchess, the House of Fame, and the Parliament of Fowls have structural similarities which imitate French love poetry. Each poem has a moral, though each includes substantial sections from classical works. The works of Ovid, Macrobius (on Scipio), and Virgil generate the themes of which the dream visions are contemplations. All three poems examine love as it relates to real and unreal happiness. The dream vision is the best way to examine and apply moral principles of love.
Wilson, William S. "Scholastic Logic in Chaucer's House of Fame." 1 (1967): 181-84.
The three episodes that make up the House of Fame are not digressions from the journey, but are arranged so as to demonstrate the Trivium--grammar, persuasive rhetoric, and logic. In Book III, Chaucer uses logic "to analyze the popular idea of fame, refining it into a philosophic idea" (182). Finally, Chaucer suggests that logic leads only to what one already knows by common sense or intuition, and that truth cannot be discovered by logical means.