The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
apRoberts, Robert P. "Love in the Filostrato." 7 (1972): 1-26.
Criseyde's sensuality makes her the ideal kind of woman to have a paramour. Boccaccio shows successful love only as that which is hidden because the lover cannot prove the force of his love unless it is forbidden by society. Pandarus convinces Troilus that he will be most capable of procuring Criseyde's love, though the kind of love Troilus desires is outside of marriage, and therefore dishonorable. This kind of love results in greater sensual delight. Boccaccio indicates that sensuality is one of the characteristics of the perfect mistress. Troilus and Criseyde have a love whose sensuousness results from its secret, dishonorable nature. Troilus wants Criseyde to desire him, not to pity him, and Boccaccio characterizes Criseyde as "burning with desire" (15). Criseyde, like other women according to Boccaccio, longs for love, and this longing fuels her desire. No matter how great her love and sexual desire grow, Criseyde is aware that theirs is an immoral love. Sensual desire motivates Troilus from the beginning, and the progress of his love is merely an increasing sexual desire. Boccacio presents Criseyde as the perfect mistress with the exception that she is not faithful, a weakness of all young women in Boccaccio's view. Troilus, however, believes that dishonorable love is so intense that those who participate in it become faithful. The great love which Boccaccio presents, therefore, is a love based on mutual physical desire, satisfied under circumstances which maintain this desire at its highest intensity. This love is possible only outside of marriage.
Camargo, Martin. "The Consolation of Pandarus." 25 (1991): 214-28.
Chaucer alters the character of Pandarus in Troilus and Criseyde to reflect the character of Philosophy in Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. Chaucer also borrows Petrarch's sonnet "S'amor non è" for Troilus to sing instead of the song Boccaccio uses in Filostrato. This sonnet has clear Boethian overtones. Chaucer also changes Troilus's character to reflect Boethius's character in the Consolation more closely. This change is particularly visible in Troilus's response to Fortune. Chaucer's modification of Pandarus allows him to create irony by undercutting the readers' expectations.
Collette, Carolyn. "Seeing and Believing in the Franklin's Tale." 26 (1992): 395-410.
Readers can examine the Franklin's Tale in terms of medieval theories of sight, vision, and will. Chaucer's focus on sight and the illusions of appearance is an original addtion to the source material in the Filostrato, and Historia regnum Britanniae. Dorigen's complaint revolves around her perception of the rocks. Her agreement with Aurelius uses the different perceptions among people and also engages the appearance and reality debate, as does the episode with the Clerk of Orleans. For those living in the Middle Ages, "sight was the chief of the physical senses" (401). By Chaucer's time, people valued mystical insight in a neo-Platonic way. The neo-Platonic tradition conflicted with Aristotelian views in which sight corresponded to reality, and created new opinions regarding how sight and experience became knowledge. In the fourteenth century people became fascinated by optical science and how the ability to see physically interacts with mental acuity of perception. The ability to see was also related to the will and a person's ability to perceive truth, as Augustine shows in De trinitate. Dorigen's obsession with the sight of the rocks creates a situation in which the marriage vow is questioned, thereby engaging this debate. Chaucer also examines sight and perception in the Second Nun's Tale and the Canon's Yeoman's Tale.
Fish, Varda. "The Origin and Original Object of Troilus and Criseyde." 18 (1984): 304-15.
Because Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde is not a personal experience for the narrator in the way that Boccaccio's Filostrato is, Chaucer's story is more about writing poetry than Boccaccio's story which is more about love. The use of Boethian imagery emphasizes the ironical nature of the narrator's position. Chaucer suggests that poetry has all the seductive power of Boccaccio's lady. In the end, Chaucer's narrator turns away from the philosophy of love and of poetry expressed by Boccaccio.
Fleming, John V. "Deiphoebus Betrayed: Virgilian Decorum, Chaucerian Feminism." 21 (1986): 182-99.
To experience fully the effect of Troilus and Criseyde, readers must recognize within it the translations of many different works. Chaucer's alterations of the sexual consummation scene from the Filostrato draw particular attention. In describing Criseyde, the narrator does not express feminist views, but is against anti-feminism. The incident in Deiphoebus's house has striking similarities to the Biblical story of Amnon and Tamar, thus giving overtones of incest to this incident. Chaucer uses Deiphoebus to portray treacherous women, but his anti-anti-feminism forces him to undercut that image. Pandarus deceives Deiphoebus in the name of brotherly love in order to trick Criseyde. Chaucer uses a number of details to connect Pandarus's betrayal of Deiphoebus to Criseyde's betrayal by Troilus.
Hardman, Phillipa. "Chaucer's Articulation of the Narrative in Troilus: The Manuscript Evidence." 30 (1995): 111-33.
The discovery of an autograph copy of the Filostrato indicates that the narrative glosses, previously though to be scribal, are actually authorial. The presence of such glosses in Troilus and Criseyde suggests that perhaps some of the glosses previously considered scribal might be authorial. Comparison of Chaucer manuscripts with those of Boccaccio reveals a number of differences and some surprising similarities. Examination of all the Chaucer manuscripts of Troilus and Criseyde shows that while there is some evidence of scribal error and variation, a number of the narrative divisions, illuminated capitals, and textual glosses appear in the same place in many manuscripts. Such similarity between so many manuscripts suggests that Chaucer may have followed Boccaccio's practice of inserting glosses and narrative breaks in the manuscript.
Ruggiers, Paul G. "Towards a Theory of Tragedy in Chaucer." 8 (1973): 89-99.
Chaucer relies on the same view of Fortune as Boethius and Dante: Fortune is God's providential agent. In the Monk's Tale, Fortune is a pagan goddess who alternately raises and lowers humans without favoritism, but she is ultimately God's mysterious agent. In this tale, Chaucer uses a "high-mimetic" style, but he can also work with "low-mimetic" tragedy involving pathos. The idea that love may be treated tragically derives from Latin writers such as Ovid as well as Boccaccio (Teseida, Filostrato), Dante, and Gower, but the tone of pathos is tempered by the Christian sense of hope. Following Boethius, Chaucer models tragic figures on Adam and Christ, one suffering deservedly, the other undeservedly. Chaucer does, however, seek to lighten tragedy with romantic effects or irony or at least attempts to make the sufferers deserve their troubles. Thus, Chaucer balances God's role in human affairs with the choices humans make that affect their destinies.
Sadlek, Gregory M. "Love, Labor, and Sloth in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde." 26 (1992): 350-68.
Chaucer changes Troilus from his counterpart in the Filostrato, both making Troilus a greater courtly lover and increasing his slothfulness (acedia). Chaucer so develops Troilus's acedia that Troilus becomes a complex parody of a courtly lover. Publicly, of course, Troilus is a great warrior; privately his sloth is revealed. Sloth is necessary to love, and though Troilus thinks of love as work, he does not seem to do much of it. In the beginning, Troilus boasts that he has avoided laboring. He also shows fear, forgetfulness, and sorrow. This behavior contrasts with that of Pandarus and Diomede, both of whom labor courageously. Perceiving Troilus this way makes him more responsible for the failure of his and Criseyde's love, and suggests that Chaucer wants him to share the blame for the failure of their romance.
Spillenger, Paul. "The Metamorphosis of Musorno: A Note on Chaucer's Translation of Filostrato I, 54 in Troilus I, 526-32." 29 (1995): 348-51.
Chaucer most likely read Filostrato I, 54 and translated according to the Italian he had learned as a result of contact with merchants. Not having learned Italian in school and not having the benefit of editorial punctation, he would be likely to translate these lines in accord with popular idiom, so arriving at a different meaning than that actually present in Boccaccio.
Windeatt, Barry [A.]. "'Love that oughte ben secree' in Chaucer's Troilus." 14 (1979): 116-31.
Comparison of Boccaccio's Filostrato to Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde shows that the English characters enjoy less privacy and model their behaviors after literary characters. Troilus is particularly susceptible to the social isolation created by his intense feelings which leads him to imagine himself as a literary courtly lover, not a member of his own society. The attention the English characters pay to the presence of other people and to appearances differentiates between private and public domains. Chaucer's characters become more imaginative, since they must carefully conceal their inner feelings to preserve their outward appearances. When Troilus confesses his love to Pandarus, Pandarus responds by forcing Troilus into carefully orchestrated patterns gleaned from books. Because the lovers are so careful of society, they are incapable of acting on their own to consummate their love, and Pandarus must arrange for a private moment in which they may make love. By emphasizing the social aspect of his characters' lives, Chaucer demonstrates the impracticality of courtly love conventions.