The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Campbell, Josie P. "Farce as Function in the Wakefield Shepherds' Plays." 14 (1980): 336-43.
The Wakefield Shepherd's plays use farce to emphasize both spiritual and secular elements. The cycle postpones the announcement of the Christ Child until the moment when the shepherds share their meat and bread. The overtones of communion in conjunction with the announcement of the Christ Child's birth eliminates class distinctions for the moment. In the Second Shepherd's Play, Mak's trickery accentuates the sacred aspect of the play, drawing attention to the timelessness of God's gift.
Phillips, Helen. "Structure and Consolation in the Book of the Duchess." 16 (1981): 107-18.
Readers' interpretations of the consolation in the Book of the Duchess rest on how they read the other parts of the poem. To readers, the work presents four parallel structures in the man in black's tale, Alcyone's story, the narrator's own situation, and the hunt. Many medieval works, both of art and literature, employ form to add to meaning. The Second Shepherd's Play, Pearl, and Piers Plowman use such typological imagery. Three of the four instances of parallelism in the Book of the Duchess end with the loss of a beloved object, but the man in black's tale seems to extend into the consolation. The reference to "Octavian" (368) probably denotes the story of Octavian and Sibyl. Careful analysis of this story may suggest an additional parallel to other situations in the poem. Finally, the Book of the Duchess demands that humans come to terms with mortality, but that mortality does not invalidate love.