The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Dahlberg, Charles. "The Narrator's Frame for Troilus." 15 (1980): 85-100.
Reading with an eye for dissimilarity may illuminate the first sentence of Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer alters the classical form of the opening sentence to reflect more clearly the minstrel tradition. The invocation to the Muse shows the principle of contrast as does the end, which carefully alternates between Chaucer's and Boccaccio's ideas. The style follows an equally contrasting pattern, alternating between high and low styles.
Dyck, E. F. "Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Troilus and Criseyde." 20 (1986): 169-82.
The Middle Ages saw poetry as persuasive and writers looked toward earlier models to support their ideas. Geoffrey de Vinsauf's Poetria nova instructed writers on style. Augustine's De doctrina christiana suggested that poetry should persuade its audience to a greater awareness of Christian truths. Both these writers derive their ideas from the Aristotelian tradition in which a writer uses three modes to persuade, ethos (character), pathos (emotion), and logos (reason). The narrator of Troilus and Criseyde opens by appealing to ethos in order to impress readers that he is a poet. Once he undermines his status as a poet by consistently referring to Lollius instead of Boccaccio, he becomes more human, but loses ethos in his writing. At the end of the poem, he returns to ethos. Chaucer adds the appeal to pathos to what he found in Boccaccio, and although that pathos does not come directly from the narrator, it affects the audience nonetheless. The narrator's appeal to logos seems to fail, but if readers examine the poem in terms of Chaucer's appeal to logos, it is more successful.
Finlayson, John. "The Knight's Tale: The Dialogue of Romance, Epic, and Philosophy." 27 (1992): 126-49.
The Knight's Taleis a unique romance in English, and does not follow the typical romance form. Chaucer takes Boccaccio's characters and treats them much differently, though Chaucer does follow the traditional romance opening as seen by comparison to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Ywain and Gawain, and the Alliterative Morte Arthure. Chaucer invokes the tradition of courtly love when Palamon and Arcite see Emily, though he adds the debate as to who has prior claim. Chaucer also takes great pains to elaborate the few differences he selects from Boccaccio, and then reverses the differences left in his sources so that Palamon becomes more like Boccaccio's Arcite. Chaucer also adds philosophical material to each character. Theseus's final speech, while Boethian in tenor, also cues the reader that the Knight's Tale is about "love and order and dignity and continuance" (147).
Garbáty, Thomas J. "Pamphilus, de Amore: An Introduction and Translation." 2 (1967): 108-34.
Pamphilus greatly affected the primary writers of the Middle Ages including Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Gower. The reader can see its influence in Troilus and Criseyde and the Roman de la Rose. The translation shows the importance to Chaucer studies of this neglected work.
Garbáty, Thomas J. "Troilus V, 1786-92 and V, 1807-27: An Example of Poetic Process." 11 (1977): 299-305.
When Chaucer asks that his book "subgit be to alle poesye" (300), he looks for poetic inspiration from Virgil, Ovid, Homer, Lucan, and Statius, not Boccaccio. Chaucer creates a comedic end for Troilus and Criseyde by having Troilus ascend to the eighth sphere and laugh in heavenly joy.
Gaylord, Alan T. "Friendship in Chaucer's Troilus." 3 (1969): 239-64.
Troilus and Criseyde deals as much with courtly friendship as with courtly love, and when Chaucer exposes the flimsy nature of love, he also exposes the shallowness of the friendship on which courtly society is based. Chaucer expands the role of the friend from that in the Roman de la Rose and in Boccaccio. Chaucer's friends defend and advise, though not necessarily wisely, as Pandarus does for both Troilus and Criseyde. In Roman de la Rose, the Ami (friend) serves as the one who advises listening to Love instead of Reason. Christian writers capitalized on Ciceronian echoes and connected Reason to Charity. The advice of Ami, then, shuts out Reason and Christian Charity. Chaucer complicates his Troilus and Criseyde by putting friendship under the command of Venus so that friendship then describes the relationship between "nations, continents, and spheres" (251). Thus, when Pandarus comes to set Criseyde up for Troilus's advances, he can couch his suggestions in the language of friendship. When Pandarus returns to Troilus, he can imply that Troilus must press his advantage so that the "friendship" can be expanded into passionate courtly love. Unfortunately, Troilus becomes so much a lover that when he needs to champion Criseyde, preventing her from being shipped off to Troy, he does nothing. By the end of the narrative, "ironies, complications, and contradictions" become apparent to the audience through the idea of friendship (261). The reader realizes that Pandarus is no friend at all. Diomede's courtship of Criseyde progresses quickly through friendship to love, causing the reader to recognize Fortune's power over love. Chaucer's use of friendship makes Troilus and Criseyde both romance and antiromance, and questions noble courtly values.
Maguire, John B. "The Clandestine Marriage of Troilus and Criseyde." 8 (1974): 262-78.
The medieval Church taught that the mutual consent of the couple made a valid marriage, a church ceremony was not necessary; because of abuse, however, clandestine marriages were considered undesirable and, in some communities, unlawful. While Boccaccio clearly depicts an extramarital affair between Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer shows the lovers in a different light. Chaucer's Criseyde is a modest widow, unwilling to compromise her virtue. Troilus sings a hymn to Hymen, god of marriage, and, as in a medieval wedding ceremony, Troilus and Criseyde exchange rings and pledge their "trouthe" to one another. Furthermore, when Chaucer speaks of the tales of feminine fidelity he would rather tell, he choses tales of married women. The fact that Troilus and Criseyde are married explains why Troilus will not forget Criseyde even at Pandarus's urging and why he does not have the option of taking Criseyde away and then returning her if necessary. Finally, Chaucer never suggests that Troilus is guilty of sin.
Mieszkowski, Gretchen. "Chaucer's Much Loved Criseyde." 26 (1991): 109-32.
In Troilus and Criseyde, the portrait of women Chaucer presents is based on ideas of the woman as Other. Criseyde is not the strong female heroine of other medieval writings. She does not take control of her life, but submits to the will of the male authority figures around her. Critics often praise her, and Chaucer makes her very alluring, but her attractiveness "diminishe[s] her selfhood" (110). Throughout Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer alters Boccaccio's characterization of Criseyde to make her more passive. She does not speak for herself, and her attractiveness is directly correlated to her submissiveness. Even when she maks plans, they are only to submit to the will of the strongest party. She does not, however, have a sexual relationship with Pandarus; though many critics believe that their relationship is incestuous, the text does not support such an assertion.
Parr, Johnstone. "Chaucer's Semiramis." 5 (1970): 57-61.
The source for Chaucer's reference to Semiramis in the Man of Law's Tale could not have come from Dante. At the end of the Middle Ages, Semiramis became a symbol of lust and that is how Dante portrays her. Chaucer, however, depicts her more as Boccaccio does: she is a power-hungry mother who usurps her son.
Ross, Thomas W. "Troilus and Criseyde, II. 582-87: A Note." 5 (1970): 137-39.
By translating Boccaccio's word intero as hool (line 587), Chaucer creates a bawdy pun which sheds aditional light on the characters of Criseyde and Pandarus.
Stroud, T. A. "The Palinode, the Narrator, and Pandarus's Alleged Incest." 27 (1992): 16-30.
The Palinode at the end of Troilus and Criseyde has always puzzled critics. The narrator's depiction of Troilus's end draws attention to two possible ways of interpreting the plot, either as "pathetic romance" or as an allegorical "Boethian quest" (18). Identification of the repudiation of earthly love as a palinode allows critics to examine the charge that Pandarus committed incest. Though medieval writers treated unwedded sex as sin, Gower treats incest as a sin in Confessio amantis, neither Boccaccio, Dante, Ovid, nor any of the French fabliau treat incest. Though Pandarus does act as a go-between, he merely asks Criseyde to forgive him the next morning.
Witke, Charles. "Franklin's Tale, F 1139-1151." 1 (1966): 33-36.
By including a passage on magic, the Franklin reveals a personal interest in magic literature and shows himself familiar with Breton lays. The magic that occurs in his tale, however, appears only in a possible source for Boccaccio, not, as has been suggested, in a lay which is no longer extant.
Zatta, Jane Dick. "Chaucer's Monk: A Mighty Hunter before the Lord." 29 (1994): 111-33.
The Monk's Tale addresses political issues current in Chaucer's time, particularly tyrannical abuses. For his material, the Monk draws on Augustinian political views revealed in De civitate dei. The Monk's material follows the same pattern of examples as used by other writers such as Thomas Aquinas, John of Salisbury, Boccaccio, Dante, Boethius, Lydgate, Jean de Meun and Guillaume de Lorris. Surprisingly, however, all of the Monk's heros are tyrants. The political subtext becomes most plain in the vignettes, but the Monk lacks the ability to interpret these stories for the benefit of his audience. The tale of Nimrod, characterized as "a mighty hunter before the Lord" (Genesis 10:9) is particularly appropriate to Richard's court. Chaucer presents similar political views in the Parson's Tale.