The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Boucher, Holly Wallace. "Nominalism: The Difference for Chaucer and Boccaccio." 20 (1986): 213-20.
Dante and the poet of the Queste del Sainte Graal both believed that poetry revealed truth and imitated divine order. Chaucer and Boccaccio, however, display different attitudes toward literature. Nominalism altered artists' perception of literature so that by the fourteenth century, they no longer thought that art revealed truth or divine order. Fourteenth-century writers play with words and meanings, as Boccaccio does in the tale of Frate Cipolla and as Chaucer does in the Summoner's Tale.
Steinmetz, David C. "Late Medieval Nominalism and the Clerk's Tale." 12 (1977): 38-54.
The Clerk's Tale is not about marriage, but is an allegory of nominalist justification. In such a scheme, Walter represents God; Griselda represents the sinner's soul. Walter is, however, like and unlike God. His primary unlikeness to God is his choice to test Griselda beyond what is necessary. Walter's behavior towards Griselda and hers towards him shows that she has the love of God (Walter) and the ability to exercise it. This quality indicates that she deserves grace. When Griselda assents to Walter's demand to take and kill her children, she shows the love of a faithful soul for God. At the end, Griselda is vindicated, an allegory of the reward of the faithful souls in heaven.