The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Campbell, Thomas P. "Machaut and Chaucer: Ars Nova and the Art of Narrative." 24 (1990): 275-89.
Chaucer's narratives borrow both from Machaut's poetry and his music. The dissonance of conflicting solutions to an enigma, the simultaneity of events, and the nested perspectives found in poems like the Parliament of Fowls and the Knight's, Nun's Priest's, Merchant's, and Reeve's Tales can all be traced to medieval music. Examination of Machaut's ballad "Je Puis Trop Bien" demonstrates corresponding qualities of medieval music, especially the ballad form. Cursory examination of this ballad shows that contrast between music and the poetry joined to it was the mode. Scrutiny of the Miller's Tale shows that it uses all the musical techniques found in Machaut's ballad to maintain its unity.
Guthrie, Steven R. "Prosody and the Study of Chaucer: A Generative Reply to Halle-Keyser." 23 (1988): 30-49.
Chaucer wrote Troilus and Criseyde and other poems in a Romance iambic pentameter with strong French overtones, as opposed to Shakespeare who wrote in a Renaissance iambic pentameter. Chaucer's rhythms depend on his ability to put weak stresses where strong stresses should be and vice versa. Careful comparision of Chaucer to Shakespeare reveals that the two writers use significantly different variations of iambic pentameter. Examination of Machaut's lines reveals, however, a number of similarities to Chaucer.
Hill, John M. "The Book of the Duchess, Melancholy, and that Eight-Year Sickness." 9 (1974): 35-50.
In addition to Chaucer, poets like Guillaume de Machaut and Deschamps use what is traditionally love poem material to portray other states. For example, general melancholy and love melancholy share many symptoms. In the Book of the Duchess, the narrator's melancholy cannot be love because the narrator is not fixated on his beloved. Instead, the narrator suffers from a non-fatal head melancholy. The narrator's insomnia suggests his highly unnatural state, indicating that sleep is the only remedy. The insomnia results in a semi-hysterical attitude toward sleep for the narrator, who would like to sleep, but without dying as Alcyone did. Finally, Seys and Alcyone's story allows the narrator to sleep. In an appendix, Hill suggests a date for the Book of the Duchess, 1374.
Lenaghan, R. T. "Chaucer's Envoy to Scogan: The Social Uses of Literary Conventions." 10 (1975): 46-61.
The logical connection between the two parts of the Envoy to Scogan is not clear, but it does suggest a particular historical time in which to examine Chaucer's talent. Given the date of Scogan's service in the royal household, the poem can be dated in the 1390's. Like other poems of this period, the Envoy to Scogan contains a personal statement of a love which produced obligation. Like Deschamps, Chaucer indicates a sense of friendship for his companions, and like Machaut, he is self-deprecatory. The Envoy to Scogan uses a common theme to evoke activity from Scogan, in part by reminding him that he and Chaucer are equals. The suggestion of friendship, however, prevents such an idea from disrupting the social order.
Martin, Carol A. N. "Mercurial Translation in the Book of the Duchess." 28 (1993): 95-116.
Chaucer employs figures of Mercury to camouflage gaps in the text. As a result, careful readers become even more painstaking when such a figure appears. Chaucer uses Mercury in Book of the Duchess as Juno's messenger. In order to give Mercury a role, Chaucer changes the story of Seys and Alcyone that he found in Ovid, Statius, and Machaut, though Mercury is not named. Chaucer alters the use of the word "goddess" so that he can install "language itself as the ultimate shape-shifter" (102). Chaucer even invests the dog with symbolic significance, creating a line of dog imagery throughout the poem until the dog materializes. The dog and other Mercury figures guide the reader beyond gaps in the text, "unite thematic and structural elements of the poem" (110), bring messages and guide souls.
Owen, Charles A., Jr. "Notes on Gower's Prosody." 28 (1994): 405-413.
Analysis of the Mirour de l'Omme and the Confessio amantis shows that Gower borrowed regular, octosyllabic standard meter and intricate rhyme patterns from French writers like Machaut. He also uses run-on lines. To create humor, Gower emphasizes his rhymes.
Phillips, Helen. "Literary Allusion in Chaucer's Ballade, 'Hyd, Absalon, thy gilte tresses clere.'" 30 (1995): 134-49.
In the prologue to the Legend of Good Women Chaucer borrows from Thomas Paien's ballad "Ne quier veoir la biauté d'Absalon" and Froissart's "Ne quier veoir Medee ne Jason." Like these writers, Chaucer also inserts a catalogue of classical and biblical women, each associated with different virtues. To create this list Chaucer steals from a number of different writers, including Ovid, Guido delle Colonne, Machaut, Froissart, the twelfth-century Piramus et Thisbé, Dante, and Vincent de Beauvais. Such examination tells scholars much about Chaucer's reading habits and the care with which he designed the opening ballade.
Robbins, Rossell Hope. "Geoffroi Chaucer, Poète Français, Father of English Poetry." 13 (1978): 93-115.
Chaucer's early work is lost, though scholars conjecture that because the courts of Chaucer's early life were French-speaking, his early poetry was French. French continued to be used as a court language until approximately 1417, though it continued to be the professed language of noble families for some time thereafter. Chaucer's wife also spoke French and probably Flemish. The Book of the Duchess was not written in French because a small audience for English poetry was growing at the aristocratic level. Also, Chaucer probably wrote the Book of the Duchess to read before the personal staff of the Duke of Lancaster, most of whom spoke English. Certainly, Chaucer's early works followed the French tradition in a manner similar to that of Michael de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk. Anonymous French poems, while not attributable to Chaucer, may be considered similar to courtly love lyrics Chaucer may have composed. Chaucer borrowed heavily from French works by Machaut and Froissart as well as the anonymous Songe Vert. Froissart and Machaut, not earlier French romances, were his models for the Book of the Duchess.