The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Barney, Stephen A. "Suddenness and Process in Chaucer." 16 (1981): 18-37.
Chaucer uses sudden action to emphasize both good and bad events. Troilus and Criseyde has the most occurrences of sudden appearances and events of all of Chaucer's works, though the Wife of Bath's, Knight's, Miller's, and Squire's Tales also use this technique. Chaucer uses suddenness of emotions when depicting courtly manners and quick judgments for moral questions (26). By tracing suddenness through Troilus and Criseyde, readers realize that Chaucer makes "humorous, ridiculous, or contemptible" what is sudden (30). Chaucer also focuses significantly on process, the process of time as opposed to Fortune, the process of time as a consolation, and the process of penitence. Though Troilus falls in love suddenly, he continues to love Criseyde by process, thereby expressing patience.
Benson, C. David. "Incest and Moral Poetry in Gower's Confessio Amantis." 19 (1984): 100-09.
In the Confessio amantis Gower treats two incestuous stories, those of Canacee and Apollonius of Tyre. Gower creates a sense of necessity in both, suggesting that passionate love is so strong that it overwhelms reason and that these characters can therefore be exonerated to some extent. While demonstrating the sinfulness of such passion, however, Gower does not provide genuine penitential solutions for these sins.
Campbell, Jackson J. "The Canon's Yeoman as Imperfect Paradigm." 17 (1982): 171-81.
The Canon's Yeoman leaves the Canon because the Canon fails in his alchemical pursuits. The Yeoman cannot let go of alchemy no matter how much he hates it. Pilgrimage is fundamentally about change, and the change the Canon's Yeoman makes prefigures the penitential focus of the Parson's Tale.
Dean, James. "Chaucer's Repentance: A Likely Story." 24 (1989): 64-76.
Though present-day readers are skeptical that Chaucer cried in repentance on his deathbed, the placement of the Parson's Tale and the "Retraction" at the end of the Canterbury Tales suggests that Chaucer followed Langland, Mandeville, Deguilleville, and Gower in retraction, but Chaucer changes the tradition. In works by each of the other four, a journey or pilgrimage is followed by episodic experience or storytelling, followed by age and perhaps penitence. Given the prevalence of this pattern, Thomas Gascoigne's account of Chaucer's deathbed repentence is likely to be true.
Frantzen, Allen J. "The Body in Soul and Body I." 17 (1982): 76-88.
Ideas about penance are the basis for Soul and Body I. Clearly, the body's behavior dictates the soul's future. The soul, however, is superior to the body, though the body may defeat the soul. Penance is the responsibility of the body to ensure the soul's well-being. The decay of the evil body after death represents the torments of the evil soul in hell, while the good soul/ body remains untouched by such destruction.
Kinneavy, Gerald. "Gower's Confessio Amantis and the Penitentials." 19 (1984): 144-61.
The Confessio amantis contains a significant amount of material drawn from confession handbooks, those both for the laity and for the priesthood, as comparison with Robert of Brunne's Handlyng Synne and John Myrc's Instructions for Parish Priests shows. Amans makes a heartfelt confession to Genius in secret, and Genius responds with the mild manner counseled for confessors. Both Amans, the penitent, and Genius, the confessor, manifest an awareness of the necessity for the penitent to reveal everything about his sin in order for the confessor to respond properly. The instructions for the laity also inform the Confessio amantis. The penitent seeks to be shriven while alive and takes care to show the sincerity of his confession. In the end, reason reasserts control over courtly love.
Roper, Gregory. "Pearl, Penitence, and the Recovery of the Self." 28 (1993): 164-86.
The dreamer in Pearl begins speaking like a penitent confessing to a parish priest, and he must face the weak person he has been. The Pearl-Maiden, like the priest, presents the dreamer with representations of himself that the dreamer recognizes as accurate portraits. He then judges himself in need of change. The Pearl-Maiden then gives the dreamer a different self so that he may reconstruct himself by giving himself wholly to God. Having reconstructed himself, he will be considered one of the elect after death.
Wenzel, Siegfried. "Notes on the Parson's Tale." 16 (1982): 237-56.
Certain passages in the Parson's Tale are closely related to sermon texts on pride and penitence. The image of the Tree of Penance derives from the Compileison de Seinte Penance which incorporates parts of the Ancrene Riwle. For all of its borrowing from sermons, the Parson's Tale is not a sermon, but a handbook devoted to penitence.