The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Manning, Stephen. "Troilus, Book V: Invention and the Poem as Process." 18 (1984): 288-302.
Troilus and Criseyde, particularly Book V, reveals a concern with the mutability of poetry and the Narrator's metamorphosis from narrator to poet. Medieval writers thought of poetry in two ways. Like Geoffrey of Vinsauf, some writers thought that creating poetry was like building a house; other writers believed, like Boethius, that Fortune had a significant part in writing. Chaucer follows the Boethian view in Troilus and Criseyde. Inventio includes mimesis and imagination, and Chaucer's narrator employs both. In the Epilogue, the narrator realizes the theme of his story and so gives himself a unified identity as narrator and poet.
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.
Windeatt, Barry [A.]. "'Love that oughte ben secree' in Chaucer's Troilus." 14 (1979): 116-31.
Comparison of Boccaccio's Filostrato to Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde shows that the English characters enjoy less privacy and model their behaviors after literary characters. Troilus is particularly susceptible to the social isolation created by his intense feelings which leads him to imagine himself as a literary courtly lover, not a member of his own society. The attention the English characters pay to the presence of other people and to appearances differentiates between private and public domains. Chaucer's characters become more imaginative, since they must carefully conceal their inner feelings to preserve their outward appearances. When Troilus confesses his love to Pandarus, Pandarus responds by forcing Troilus into carefully orchestrated patterns gleaned from books. Because the lovers are so careful of society, they are incapable of acting on their own to consummate their love, and Pandarus must arrange for a private moment in which they may make love. By emphasizing the social aspect of his characters' lives, Chaucer demonstrates the impracticality of courtly love conventions.