The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Gilmartin, Kristine. "Array in the Clerk's Tale." 13 (1979): 234-46.
In the Clerk's Tale, Chaucer uses Griselda's clothing to make the tale more realistic and to discuss the themes of knowledge, mutability, and degree. The first mention of Griselda's clothing draws attention to the difference between her social class and that of Walter. Until Walter dresses Griselda in fine clothes, the people do not recognize her virtues. This lack of perception suggests the issue of knowledge. Walter's tests are also related to knowledge: he wants to know if Griselda has the virtues he believes she has and wants proof that becoming his wife has not diminished her virtues. The attempts to know Griselda lead, however, to false knowledge because they are based on lies. Chaucer's emphasis on the difference between Griselda's poor clothes, her rich ones, and the corresponding change in status, suggests that Chaucer examines other themes in addition to marriage. [For an explanation of the dual publishing of this article, see "Communication," 14 (1979): 96.]
Johnson, William C., Jr. "The Man of Law's Tale: Aesthetics and Christianity in Chaucer." 16 (1982): 201-21.
Chaucer carefully constructs the Man of Law's Tale so that it is psychologically ambivalent towards Christianity, thereby undermining didactic allegories and revealing uncertainties and pathos. Constance's story tells of a saint caught in a mutable world. Because Constance's world is controlled by supernatural forces, her misfortune questions religious concepts. Chaucer employs apostrophe to break the flow of the story and to make places in the text for readers to create a number of different meanings. In the course of the Man of Law's Tale, Chaucer softens the line between human and divine. Chaucer makes Constance a cross between saint and woman, thereby emphasizing the humanness of Constance and providing greater freedom for characters.
Manning, Stephen. "Troilus, Book V: Invention and the Poem as Process." 18 (1984): 288-302.
Troilus and Criseyde, particularly Book V, reveals a concern with the mutability of poetry and the Narrator's metamorphosis from narrator to poet. Medieval writers thought of poetry in two ways. Like Geoffrey of Vinsauf, some writers thought that creating poetry was like building a house; other writers believed, like Boethius, that Fortune had a significant part in writing. Chaucer follows the Boethian view in Troilus and Criseyde. Inventio includes mimesis and imagination, and Chaucer's narrator employs both. In the Epilogue, the narrator realizes the theme of his story and so gives himself a unified identity as narrator and poet.
Salemi, Joseph S. "Playful Fortune and Chaucer's Criseyde." 15 (1981): 209-23.
Chaucer crafts the opening of Troilus and Criseyde so that the characters display the mutability of this life. This opening presents the opportunity to get Boethius's point of view. Following instances of the phrase "to pleye" throughout the work reveals that however the characters "play," the game has consequences. Chaucer associates Criseyde with freedom and Troilus with the human reaction to Fortune. Because Criseyde makes choices to which others like Troilus and Pandarus respond, Criseyde behaves like Fortune in the poem.