The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Burlin, Robert B. "Middle English Romance: The Structure of Genre." 30 (1995): 1-14.
Middle English romances did not exist solely for entertainment. Included with the delightful elements of the romance were social, spiritual, and class concerns. The paradigmatic axis of the romance is the chivalric and courtly codes, apparent in works like Havelok the Dane, the Alliterative Morte Arthure, Marie de France's Lanval, and Malory's Morte d'Arthur. Chaucer also makes use of this code in the Knight's Tale and in Troilus and Criseyde. On the syntagmatic axis are the quest and the test. The Knight's Tale, Malory's Morte, and Sir Orpheo use the chivalric and courtly codes together to create narrative tension. In Sir Orpheo, Troilus and Criseyde, and the Roman de la Rose, however, any attempt to put the narrative on the syntagmatic axis fails because such tales only work in the context of idleness. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight shows a different interpenetration of the two axes in that Gawain is both a courtly lover and a questing knight, but he can handle only one code at a time.
Finlayson, John. "The Knight's Tale: The Dialogue of Romance, Epic, and Philosophy." 27 (1992): 126-49.
The Knight's Taleis a unique romance in English, and does not follow the typical romance form. Chaucer takes Boccaccio's characters and treats them much differently, though Chaucer does follow the traditional romance opening as seen by comparison to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Ywain and Gawain, and the Alliterative Morte Arthure. Chaucer invokes the tradition of courtly love when Palamon and Arcite see Emily, though he adds the debate as to who has prior claim. Chaucer also takes great pains to elaborate the few differences he selects from Boccaccio, and then reverses the differences left in his sources so that Palamon becomes more like Boccaccio's Arcite. Chaucer also adds philosophical material to each character. Theseus's final speech, while Boethian in tenor, also cues the reader that the Knight's Tale is about "love and order and dignity and continuance" (147).
Foley, Michael. "The Alliterative Morte Arthure: An Annotated Bibliography, 1950-1975." 14 (1979): 166-87.
This bibliography attempts to fill the need of medievalists for a comprehensive bibliography of the Alliterative Morte Arthure.
Hamel, Mary. "The Dream of a King: The Alliterative Morte Arthure and Dante." 14 (1980): 298-312.
Arthur's terrifying dream at the start of the Alliterative Morte Arthure accurately predicts his fall. Sage philosophers correctly interpret his dream, suggesting that it is time for Arthur to admit his misdeeds and to ask God for mercy, but Arthur shows no interest in doing so. The terrifying atmosphere of the dream may well derive from the first Canto of Dante's Inferno--a poem that the author of the Alliterative Morte Arthure probably knew. A comparison of the two suggests that Arthur had, indeed, become a man of worldly values--a man of violence, anger, avarice, and pride. His fall at the hands of Fortune, then, can be seen as a punishment for his sin or a correction of his flawed character. By the end of the poem, Arthur comes to a full realization of his flaws and achieves an understanding of the role of Fortune. He dies repentant and reconciled to his fate, having learned that what appears to be bad fortune is really good.
Keiser, George R. "Narrative Structure in the Alliterative Morte Arthure, 26-720." 9 (1974): 130-44.
In the Alliterative Morte Arthure, the poet creates a particularly fourteenth century portrait of Arthur. The poet reshapes Wace's Brut in order to accomplish this portrait, as sustained comparison demonstrates. The poet stresses the insult that the Roman messengers give Arthur when they tell him that he must pay tribute or be attacked. Arthur treats them in the same way the fourteenth century treated criminals. In various places the poem shows similarities to Froissart's Chroniques.
Ziolkowski, Jan. "A Narrative Structure in the Alliterative Morte Arthure 1-1221 and 3150-4346." 22 (1988): 234-45.
The Alliterative Morte Arthure is divided into two parallel prescient dreams, both of which have overtones of pilgrimage.