[Cross-references included at the bottom of the page]


87. BRONSON, BERTRAND H. "Chaucer's Art in Relation to His Audience." In Five Studies in Literature. University of California Publications in English, vol. 8, no. 1. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1940, pp. 1-53.

Assesses Chaucer's sensitivity to his aural audience, summarizing the evidence that he read his poetry aloud and surveying the ways that oral performance affected his works. Oral performance influenced Chaucer's habits of dialogue and transition, and restricted his subject matter and his rhetoric. His personal relationship with his audience encouraged topical allusions and his modest narrative pose, perhaps leading to the dramatic technique of Canterbury Tales.

88. GIFFIN, MARY. Studies in Chaucer and His Audience. Quebec: Leclerc Printers, 1956, 127 pp.

Explores the historical and aesthetic issues involved in reading four Chaucerian poems as occasional pieces, appropriate in style and tone. The tale of St. Cecilia was composed to recognize the appointment of Adam Easton as Cardinal Priest to Santa Cecilia in Trastavere; its elevated mood and conservatism reflect it religious audience. Parliament of Fowls, appropriate to its courtly audience and the occasion of St. Valentine's day, balances hierarchical orders but takes some liberties with courtly codes. The tale of Constance, originally addressed to Chaucer's merchant peers, attempts to foster support for Costanza of Castile and John of Gaunt's Spanish campaign. Complaint to His Purse is a personal address to Henry, apt in tone and sensitive to its quite narrow audience.

89. GREEN, RICHARD FIRTH. "Women in Chaucer's Audience." Chaucer Review 18 (1983):146-54.

Argues by assessing contemporary records and the direct addresses to the "implied audience" in Chaucer's poetry that the number of women in Chaucer's audience was small.

90. MEHL, DIETER. "The Audience of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde". In Chaucer and Middle English Studies, in honour of Rossell Hope Robbins. Edited by Beryl Rowland. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974, pp. 173-89. Reprinted in Chaucer's "Troilus": Essays in Criticism, ed. by Stephen A. Barney (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1980), pp. 211-29.

Studies the relation between Chaucer and his audience in Troilus and Criseyde, exploring how he addresses a "fictional audience" to compel his readers to be a "self-conscious and critical audience," especially in their assessment of the poem's characters. Chaucer uses techniques similar to those of novelists Henry Fielding and Laurence Sterne, leaving ambiguous many "crucial questions raised by his story," thereby engaging his audience.

91. MEHL, DIETER. "Chaucer's Audience." Leeds Studies in English 10 (1978):58-74.

Studies Chaucer's creation and manipulation of "fictional audiences" which provoke the "active participation" of the reader, especially in Canterbury Tales. Examines various links between the tales, the interrupted tales, and the opinions of the Host to show how Chaucer encourages participation by the fictional audience and sensitivity to the variety of responses tale-telling can provoke.

92. REISS, EDMUND. "Chaucer and His Audience." Chaucer Review 14 (1980):390-402.

Surveys critical attempts to define Chaucer's audience and theorizes about his engagement of audience expectations, especially his manipulation of familiar doctrines and plots to produce irony and humor, and his exploration of familiar notions in unfamiliar contexts to encourage serious intellectual analysis.

93. STROHM, PAUL. "Chaucer's Audience." Literature and History 5 (1977):26-41.

Sketches the possible social range of Chaucer's original audience, suggesting that a specific group was at its center: "later fourteenth-century knights, esquires, civil servants, and women of equivalent station." Associates Chaucer's "poetics of juxtaposition" with the social mobility, attitudes towards tradition and hierarchy, and concomitant "complexity of response" of this group.

94. STROHM, PAUL. "Chaucer's Fifteenth-Century Audience and the Narrowing of the Chaucer Tradition." Studies in the Age of Chaucer 4 (1982):3-32.

Contrasts Chaucer's fourteenth- and fifteenth-century audiences. The earlier, more elite audience preferred and encouraged Chaucer's innovations, while his more conservative poetry appealed to the class consciousness of the later group. Manuscript evidence of the reception of the Prioress's Tale parallels modern reactions and indicates how different audiences can "esteem a single work" for different reasons.

95. WILSON, GEORGE P. "Chaucer and Oral Reading." South Atlantic Quarterly 25 (1926):283-99.

Surveys the custom of oral reading in ancient Greece, medieval France, and fourteenth-century England, attributing the custom in Chaucer's day to contemporary educational, linguistic, and paleographic conditions. Cites several passages that indicate that Chaucer intended his poetry to be read aloud.

See also entries 8, 10, 55, 141, 154, 396, 424, 806. For oral recitation: 60, 72, 96, 134, 152, 158, 435, 581, 772, 830, 863.

Table of Contents

Previous Section: The Persona

Next Section: Language--General