The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
DiMarco, Vincent. "Nero's Nets and Seneca's Veins: A New Source for the Monk's Tale." 28 (1994): 384-92.
The second stanza of the Monk's treatment of Nero has no source either in the Roman de la Rose or in the Consolation of Philosophy. However, examination of Vincent of Beauvais's Speculum historiale and Jacobus de Voraigne's Legenda aurea reveals that Chaucer borrowed details and motivations for Nero from these works.
Eggebroten, Anne. "Laughter in the Second Nun's Tale: A Redefinition of the Genre." 19 (1984): 55-61.
Though readers often feel that laughter is an inappropriate response to the Second Nun's Tale, Chaucer carefully alters his sources (Jacobus de Voraigne's Legenda aurea and the anonymous Passio S. Caeciliae) in order to increase further the hilarity of the story. The creation of such laughter is common in medieval saints' lives.
Strohm, Paul A. "Passioun, Lyf, Miracle, Legende: Some Generic Terms in Middle English Hagiographical Narrative: Part II." 10 (1975): 154-71.
Collections of legenda contain all traditional hagiographical genres, the most famous being Jacobus's Legenda. Lyf became a generic term to describe all variations on the traditional pattern of the saint's life. Chaucer uses lyf in both strict and loose senses. Medieval writers rarely used miracle as a generic term; most often it denotes narration of a specific event. Medieval dramatists, however, used the term miraculum more loosely, associating it with other adjectives to describe particular works. Fourteenth and fifteenth century readers would, therefore, have read miracle as a generic term. Legende refers to individual stories in a collection of saint's lives; it is not used generically. When Chaucer uses legend as part of the title for Legend of Good Women, he uses the term satirically. Medieval writers did not write consistently in one genre, even within the same work. Close reading is necessary to determine the genres of any one work. Terms like lyf and legend controlled readers' responses to a work, forcing them to read a legend as a legend, not as a fabliau, for example. Comparison of the Second Nun's Tale to the Man of Law's Tale emphasizes the distinction between legend and tale and shows how reading experiences of the two differ.