The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Hieatt, Constance B. "Un Autre Fourme: Guillaume de Machaut and the Dream Vision Form." 14 (1979): 97-115.
Machaut never wrote a dream vision in the sense that the frame occurs while the protagonist is awake but the primary action takes place during sleep. He did, however, write works clearly related to the dream vision tradition. Dream visions are characterized by a frame that points out details important to interpretation, a dreamer who observes but does not participate in the action, scenes that grow out of each other, and personified characters who participate in the action. In a dream vision, the protagonist must withdraw from society and encounter an instructor who will help the dreamer. The epilogue to the dream vision states the dreamer's new-found knowledge or lack of it. The Roman de la Rose is both a dream vision and a romance, so it cannot be used as a standard by which to determine the characterstics of dream vision. Though some of Machaut's works do not employ a dream, they read like dream visions because they follow the basic structure of dream visions as discussed above, for example Dit dou Vergier, Dit de la Fonteinne Amoureuse, Dit dou Lyon, Jugement de Roy dou Behaingne, Jugement de Roy dou Navarre, Remede de Fortune, and Dit de l'Alerion. Many scholars consider the Dit de l'Alerion Machaut's least successful work, but careful examination reveals that Chaucer borrowed from it for the Parliament of Fowls.
Pelen, Marc M. "Machaut's Court of Love Narratives and Chaucer's Book of the Duchess." 11 (1976): 128-55.
Examining poems by Machaut and Froissart may help to illuminate Chaucer's early voice. Most of these poems are dream visions, and they follow a three-part structure in which the dreamer calls up a perfect garden, is met by a guide, and discovers a dispute which will work towards the resolution of his love-trials. Readers can also find this structure in poems like Phyllis and Flora, which is not technically a dream vision. In these French poems, classical references inform the images and the structure, as does a "larger memory of a common marriage theme" (130). Close examination also reveals borrowings from the Roman de la Rose. In the Book of the Duchess, Chaucer includes lines from Jugement dou Roy de Behaingne and Jugement dou Roy de Navarre. The structure of both poems falls into the traditional clerk-chevalier debate. Remede de Fortune integrates Boethian philosophy as a response to Ovidian infatuations. The lover's complaints against Fortune appear in the Book of the Duchess as the complaints of the man in black. Dit de la Fonteinne Amoureuse employs the traditions of complaint and consolation, and Chaucer borrows elements of this poem in the Book of the Duchess. In light of the borrowings from Machaut, readers must hear the Book of the Duchess as a French "love-debate at a Court of Love without a specific plea, contest, or decision" (147).
Stevenson, Kay Gilliland. "Readers, Poets, and Poems within the Poem." 24 (1989): 1-19.
Chaucer examines the relationship between reader and poet in the Book of the Duchess. This exploration is most apparent in the narrator's reaction to Seys and Alcyone's tale, the challenge to the reader posed in the Prologue, the man in black's story and the following elaboration in the man in black's dialogue, and the three attempts to court Blanche. Chaucer borrows from Froissart's Paradys d'Amours, Machaut's Dit de la Fonteinne amoureuse and the Jugement de Roy de Behaingne, and Roman de la Rose, altering them to change the reader's response to his telling of the story.