The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Acker, Paul. "The Emergence of an Arithmetical Mentality in Middle English Literature." 28 (1994): 293-302.
Arithmetical methods passed from Pythagoras to Boethius, who passed these ideas on to Cassiodorus and Isidore. Bartholomaeus Anglicus picks up these ideas in De proprietatibus rerum, translated by Trevisa into Middle English. In the twelfth century, algorism began to replace arithmetic. Gower refers to this new arithmetic in the Confessio amantis in a stanza borrowed from Brunetto Latini. The Court of Sapience also reveals a shift in mathematical models. The Art of Nombryng and Mum and the Sothsegger give evidence that even those writers not concerned with mathematics were becoming aware of it.
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).