The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Aers, David. "The Parliament of Fowls: Authority, the Knower and the Known." 16 (1981): 1-17.
Chaucer's poetic construction forces his readers to overlook problems inherent in the idea of "commune profyt." By choosing explicitly pagan material in considering questions posed by Augustine in the De civitate dei, Chaucer undermines the pagan text. By noticing the juxtaposition of the two texts, readers recognize the "human mediations involved in all human knowledge" (9). The conflict between the lower classes of birds and the eagles in the Parliament of Fowls indicates a social conflict. Ultimately, Chaucer subverts all dogmas and all attempts to replace personal knowing with authoritative interpretation.
Zatta, Jane Dick. "Chaucer's Monk: A Mighty Hunter before the Lord." 29 (1994): 111-33.
The Monk's Tale addresses political issues current in Chaucer's time, particularly tyrannical abuses. For his material, the Monk draws on Augustinian political views revealed in De civitate dei. The Monk's material follows the same pattern of examples as used by other writers such as Thomas Aquinas, John of Salisbury, Boccaccio, Dante, Boethius, Lydgate, Jean de Meun and Guillaume de Lorris. Surprisingly, however, all of the Monk's heros are tyrants. The political subtext becomes most plain in the vignettes, but the Monk lacks the ability to interpret these stories for the benefit of his audience. The tale of Nimrod, characterized as "a mighty hunter before the Lord" (Genesis 10:9) is particularly appropriate to Richard's court. Chaucer presents similar political views in the Parson's Tale.