The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Kelley, Michael R. "Antithesis as the Principle of Design in the Parliament of Fowls." 14 (1979): 61-73.
The contrasts which seem to undermine the Parliament of Fowls unify the work in a series of formal oppositions. Chaucer employs antithetical pairs of works throughout Parliament as part of a structural design. The bird groups form another contrasting pair: the higher, more courtly birds contrast with the lower, more bourgeois birds. Chaucer also presents description and characterization in opposing pairs. The last section of the poem directly contrasts dream vision with beast fable. In the course of the poem, the narrator's tone shifts from the extreme of love poet to poet of "hevynesse" (89). The Parliament, then, can be analyzed as a work based on design faithfully applied to all its elements. It is one of many medieval works that employ design to unite disparate elements.
Mandel, Jerome. "Contrast in Old English Poetry." 6 (1971): 1-13.
The various uses that Anglo-Saxon poets make of contrast in their poetry suggest that contrast is more than a rhetorical device: contrast is a structural principle. By contrasting words, lines, and groups of lines, the poet can suggest the thematic tensions of a work, such as the tension between peace and war. Examination of Beowulf, the Wanderer, the Dream of the Rood, and Deor demonstrates that contrast is a structural principle of Anglo-Saxon poetry that poets use to suggest the transitory nature of life.