The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Harrington, David V. "Indeterminacy in Winner and Waster and the Parliament of the Three Ages." 20 (1986): 246-57.
When examined in light of Wolfgang Iser's theories of reading, Winner and Waster and Parliament of the Three Ages reveal gaps that readers must fill in and examine. These gaps undermine traditionally accepted views and demand active participation in the text from the reader.
Lampe, David E. "The Poetic Strategy of the Parlement of the Thre Ages." 7 (1973): 173-83.
The length of the opening section of the Parliament of the Three Ages prepares the reader for the dream vision. The flowers both represent the temporality of human life and offer correction to those too involved in the temporal world. The birds show different dispositions towards love, foreshadowing the dream figures. The narrator's behavior also sets up the dream. In the dream discussion, both Youthe and Medil Elde demonstrate their failures. Elde, recalling figures of the past, emphasizes how mortality has affected the Nine Worthies. Thus, the poet suggests that the first two figures are vices, the third virtue.
Moorman, Charles. "The English Alliterative Revival and the Literature of Defeat." 16 (1981): 85-100.
Poems within the alliterative revival may be grouped by the geographical location of their writers. Writers from different areas of origin use different techniques. For example, the Parliament of the Three Ages and Winner and Waster use natural description and a non-doctrinal tone, elements found in Southern poetry. Western and North Midland poetry of this period (1350-1400) employs concrete physical detail and avoids Christian and political emphasis. Eastern poems focus on immediate socio-political goals, and they resemble Chaucer's and Gower's works. The poets of the alliterative revival rely on "an inherited oral and poetic tradition" (89), the revival of which grew out of opposition to the royal court. The more Norman-Western poets deal "with the conflicting passions and basic instincts of men" (90). The Western poems show the elements of Anglo-Saxon poetry beneath the Christianized exterior.
Reed, Thomas L., Jr. "'Bo[th]e blysse and blunder': Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Debate Tradition." 23 (1988): 140-61.
The Pearl-Poet built Sir Gawain and the Green Knight on a dialogic structure that suggests the poem's affinities with the debate tradition. That the poet does not reach any real conclusions does not disqualify the poem as a debate, since many debate poems do not reach resolution. The poet presents events from many angles. Gawain's use of various magical defensive devices suggests a dialogue between chivalry and Christianity. Given sources and analogues like the Owl and the Nightingale, Winner and Waster, the "Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie," the Parliament of the Three Ages, and Ressoning betuix Age and Yowth, readers may see the poem as a series of arguments between youth and age, spring and winter, life and death. Gawain's experience with Lady Bercilak brings to mind the débat amoreux. Gawain is also tried in verbal argument. Other poems grouped with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Patience, show similar debate structures. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is most likely a kind of recreation, as demonstrated by the Christmas games of Arthur's court.
Rowland, Beryl. "The Three Ages of The Parlement of the Three Ages." 9 (1975): 342-52.
The three ages were generally considered 30, 60, and 100, though 60 was considered very old. Using these traditional ages allows the poet to include the moral and spiritual significance of those ages in the irony which runs throughout the text.