The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Palmer, R. Barton. "The Narrator in The Owl and the Nightingale: A Reader in the Text." 22 (1988): 305-21.
The Owl and the Nightingale examines how texts and readers labor together to create meanings, though in this case the meanings may be functions of a refusal on the poet's part finally to resolve the disparate elements in the plot. The "discursive structures" of the Owl and the Nightingale "aim at an interrogation rather than a declaration of 'meaning'" (307). Other medieval poems play on this dichotomy, including Isopet. The narrator of the Owl and the Nightingale functions as one who experiences a fabulous experience and reports it, all the while reminding his listeners that the encounter he reports is impossible. One of the narrator's roles is to propel readers from the realm of animal imagery to the realm of application.