The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Bachman, W. Bryant, Jr. "'To maken illusioun': The Philosophy of Magic and the Magic of Philosophy in the Franklin's Tale." 12 (1977): 55-67.
The two questions underlying Dorigen's complaint about the black rocks show Boethius's influence on Chaucer. In the Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius asserts that evil does not exist. Since experience contradicts this premise, however, Boethius must find an explanation for evil. Boethius then offers patience as a solution; patience is also a solution to Dorigen's problem of the black rocks. Dorigen's complaint can evoke two responses: readers either sympathize with her fears, or they condemn her for her lack of patience. Both the Consolation and the Franklin's Tale posit the role of human perception in terms of the problem of evil. Dorigen also attributes her problem to Boethian Fortune. Arveragus presents the only possible response to this kind of universe--a choice to keep his word, the only thing humans can control.
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.
Clasby, Eugene. "Chaucer's Constance: Womanly Virtue and the Heroic Life." 13 (1979): 221-33.
Instead of making the upper classes comfortable, the Man of Law's Tale reminds them that they are also subject to Fortune. Constance does not suffer for no reason; her suffering pictures human suffering as it relates to God and to virtue. In the Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius addresses a similar fall from power which questions God's power and Boethius's virtue. In the course of their sufferings, Boethius and Constance discover that Providence, not Fortune, rules their lives. Chaucer's treatment of Constance, however, raises additional issues. Constance's responses to her sufferings throughout the tale show her spiritual growth. While Constance submits to physical authority, she never accepts that authority over her spiritual well-being. Constance's identity as a woman symbolizes the life-giving abilities of all humans, and is not a sign of weakness. Chaucer presents Constance from a temporal and an eternal perspective, allowing him to raise questions about evil rulers and Providence.
DiMarco, Vincent. "Nero's Nets and Seneca's Veins: A New Source for the Monk's Tale." 28 (1994): 384-92.
The second stanza of the Monk's treatment of Nero has no source either in the Roman de la Rose or in the Consolation of Philosophy. However, examination of Vincent of Beauvais's Speculum historiale and Jacobus de Voraigne's Legenda aurea reveals that Chaucer borrowed details and motivations for Nero from these works.
Donner, Morton. "Derived Words in Chaucer's Boece: The Translator as Wordsmith." 18 (1984): 187-203.
Careful examination of Chaucer's translation of Boece reveals how Chaucer thought about language and translation. He borrows words for which he can find no English equivalent or which denote exactly the right meaning. A number of Chaucer's innovative words are gerunds, and most of them have English, not French or Latin roots. Others are present participles and formations using "un-" as a prefix. The formation of gerunds and present participles is not as frequent in Chaucer's original work, suggesting that he used more linguistic innovation when translating. Chaucer also makes nouns from verbs by using the "-er" suffix. The care Chaucer uses to translate Boece shows his respect for meaning and language.
Dwyer, Richard A. "The Appreciation of Handmade Literature." 8 (1974): 221-40.
In creating physical texts, medieval scribes believed themselves capable of filling in textual gaps. Scholars must, therefore, be aware of the scribes' participation as manuscripts were remade. Medieval writers were not concerned with the "final" version of a text, since revisions were made later by scribes. In Piers Plowman, the different versions show scribes who, enthusiastic about older forms, attempted to align Langland's text with those forms and so "fix" the manuscript. Scribal "fine-tuning" to make significant changes in the manuscript is also a problem for those studying the Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde. The changes made to "Luf es Lyf" by Rolle show how selecting verses from different poems and putting them together can allow the scribe to create his own work. The resulting inconsistencies seem even more the product of a person who is madly in love. Examination of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy demonstrates how scribes popularized it by lifting sections from model versions and attaching them to newer transcriptions. For example, Jean de Meun's proheme appears in several manuscripts as does William of Conches commentary. Mixed prose versions eventually led to verse translations. Renaud de Louhans questionings of Boethius's rigorous stand eventually led Renaud to replace Fortune with Death, thus making the tale more accessible to those not of aristocratic background.
Hart, Thomas Elwood. "Medieval Structuralism: 'Dulcarnoun' and the Five-Book Design of Chaucer's Troilus." 16 (1981): 129-70.
Chaucer carefully laid out the structure of Troilus and Criseyde, and examination of the division of Troilus and Criseyde into five books shows that the divisions themselves add to the work. Readers can assume that Chaucer intended to construct his poem carefully since he borrows from Vinsauf's Poetria nova, which advocates constructing poems architecturally. Chaucer alludes to the highest principle of medieval mathematics when he has Pandarus use "dulcarnoun" (3782), Pythagoras's theorem. The five-book structure may be viewed geometrically as representing two right triangles. The reference to "dulcarnoun" falls in the middle of the shared hypotenuse of the triangles. The number of lines is also proportioned in such a way that they form a regular pentagon. The text may also be examined in terms of "circular proportionality" (145). Chaucer's mention of "nombres proporcionables" in his translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy (III, Met.ix) suggests that he was interested in numerical proportion.
Lepley, Douglas L. "The Monk's Boethian Tale." 12 (1978): 162-70.
The Monk's Tale illustrates Boethius's idea that happiness comes from spiritual existence. When the Monk discusses Fortune, he pictures her in the same way as Philosophy does in the Consolation of Philosophy. According to Philosophy, Fortune controls only the material world, so she does not control spiritual virtues and cannot take away spiritual gains. The Monk's discussion of Fortune, happiness, and spiritual gain complements the Knight's Tale.
Machan, Tim William. "Scribal Role, Authorial Intention, and Chaucer's Boece." 24 (1989): 150-62.
The traditional view of scribal role and authorial intent in creating manuscripts does not adequately describe how scribes thought about their work. Looking at Boece, for example, reveals that scribes may have altered Chaucer's word choice to make it more modern and consulted sources to "improve" what Chaucer had done. Scribal alterations show that the scribes did not think of the text or the author as untouchable. They were primarily concerned with communication.
Payne, F. Anne. "Foreknowledge and Free Will: Three Theories in the Nun's Priest's Tale." 10 (1976): 201-19.
The Nun's Priest's Tale is primarily a satire of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. The Nun's Priest gives opinions of Augustine, Bradwardine, and Boethius with regard to the problem of free will and foreknowledge. These writers represent three opposing views: 1) there is no free will, 2) God's foreknowledge does not affect human free will, or 3) God's foreknowledge only affects humans in cases of conditional necessity. Readers can trace the way in which Chaucer satirizes each view in the tale, but must realize that he concentrates satire on the Boethian concept of conditional necessity.
Quinn, William. "Memory and the Matrix of Unity in The King's Quair." 15 (1981): 332-55.
The King's Quair explores the theory that all memories have equal impact. The opening of the poem refers to Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy and gives the impression that the young man presently writes the poem. The tension between present and past becomes a theme as the poem progresses. Eventually, the loosely connected materials of the opening resolve into a sustained memory--the first sight of the protagonist's beloved. Throughout The King's Quair, the protagonist uses conventions in unorthodox ways. The relation of the dream vision section to the rest of the poem shows the poet's ability to unify seemingly disparate elements. Unlike Boethius, the protagonist rises to the level of the spheres, but returns to the sublunary world. The meeting between the protagonist and Fortune epitomizes the paradoxical difference between the heavenly and sublunary worlds. Memory allows the poet to join the real to the ideal and thus creates the unity of the poem.
Taylor, Paul Beekman. "Chaucer's Eye of the Lynx and the Limits of Vision." 28 (1993): 67-77.
Chaucer adds the image of the lynx's eye to his translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. Jean de Meun also uses the traditional qualities of Lynceus's eyes. Alanus de Insulis's Anticlaudianus and Adam de la Bassée's gloss, as well as the works of Eustache Deschamps, also use this image for sharp sight. Isidore of Seville and John Trevisa's translation of Proprietatibus associate the lynx with the ruby, giving the stone extraordinary healing qualities. Chaucer questions the insight associated with the lynx's eye in the Monk's Tale. Ultimately it becomes a symbol "of the limits of the artist's ability to see and express the perfection of form beneath the ugly matter of things" (75).