CLASSICAL AND LATE-CLASSICAL LITERARY RELATIONS    

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

 

165. DEAN, NANCY. "Chaucer's Complaint: A Genre Descended from the Heroides." Comparative Literature 19 (1967):1-27.

Surveys the complaint genre and suggests that Ovid's Heroides influenced Chaucer's Complaint of Mars. Chaucer's complaints to Pity, His Lady, and of Venus are conventional, but dramatic context enriches the complaint of the Black Knight in Book of the Duchess as Ovidian irony does the Complaint of Mars.

166. DEAN, NANCY. "Ovid's Elegies from Exile and Chaucer's House of Fame." Hunter College Studies, no. 3 (1966):75-90.

Suggests that Ovid's Tristia and Ex Ponto "may have been an important influence" on Book III of House of Fame, both for specific details, and for the conceptions of Fame, Fortune, Rumor, and their relation to humans.

167. FYLER, JOHN M. Chaucer and Ovid. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979, 216 pp.

Compares Chaucer to Ovid, identifying their mutual appreciation of the "comic pathos of human frailty," and tracing how each explores this pathos through manipulation of biased or reductionistic personae. Offers Ovidian precedent for Chaucer's narrators, assessing their comic value and their relation to Chaucer's world view. In House of Fame, the narrator tries unsuccessfully to understand "structures that immediately fall apart." In Book of the Duchess and Parliament of Fowls, the narrators fail to understand the facts of nature. The narrator of Legend of Good Women retells stories, but Alceste forces him to leave out much of the traditional accounts. Identification with partisan actors limits the narrators of Troilus and Criseyde and Knight's Tale, and Canterbury Tales portrays several unresolved perspectives, including the Manciple's banality and the Nun's Priest's wry rhetoric.

168. HARBERT, BRUCE. "Chaucer and the Latin Classics." In Geoffrey Chaucer. Edited by Derek Brewer. Writers and their Background. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1974. Reprint. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976, pp. 137-53.

Describes medieval access to classical Latin literature through manuscripts of miscellanea and florilegia (collections of excerpts). Suggests what Chaucer probably knew of classical authors, and surveys Chaucer's use of this literature--his adjustments through mistranslation and change of context, and his reshaping to fit medieval conventions.

169. HOFFMAN RICHARD L. Ovid and the "Canterbury Tales". Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1966, 229 pp.

Surveys Chaucer's relations to Ovid in Canterbury Tales, suggesting that the Roman poet may have inspired the frame, the unifying theme of love, and the sophisticated manipulation of narrators. Specifies Chaucer's direct allusions to Ovid, comparing Chaucer's derivative passages with Ovidian originals and with medieval analogues and commentaries. Treats at length General Prologue, Knight's Tale, Wife of Bath's Prologue, and Franklin's Tale, and somewhat more shortly, Man of Law's Prologue, the Monk's account of Hercules, Tale of Melibee, and the tales of the Miller, Wife of Bath, Summoner, Merchant, Squire, Physician, and Manciple.

170. JEFFERSON, BERNARD L. Chaucer and the Consolation of Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1917. Reprint. New York: Gordian Press, 1968, 173 pp.

A seminal investigation of Chaucer's debt to Boethius which examines the relation of Chaucer's Boece to Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, gauges the influence on Chaucer of Boethian concepts of fortune, Providence, happiness, and gentilesse, discusses Chaucer's use of the Consolation in Troilus and Criseyde, Knight's Tale, and Truth, and lists Boethian passages in Chaucer's other works. Chaucer knew the Consolation through the Latin original, Jean de Meun's translation, and Nicholas Trivet's commentary. He absorbed its thought and imagery so thoroughly that his poetry reflects intense and consistent concern with the same fundamental questions.

171. MINNIS, A.J. Chaucer and Pagan Antiquity. Chaucer Studies, no. 8. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer; Totowa, N.J.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1982, 208 pp.

Assesses Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde and Knight's Tale as romans d'antiquite. Anachronistic only in social conventions, these works reflect Chaucer's conscious and sophisticated attempt to represent the philosophy and faith of the pagan past, primarily its fatalism, polytheism, and idolatry. Surveys the sources of Chaucer's understanding of the pre-Christians and examines his characters in the context of their analogues to show that the poet received from tradition an opinion of the pagans that emphasized not only their limitations but their "shadowy perfection." Particularly wise characters like Theseus anticipate Christianity. Fatalism mars Troilus's love. Other characters considered include Calkas, Cassandra, Criseyde, the narrator of Troilus and Criseyde, and the "young fatalists" of Knight's Tale: Emelye, Arcite, and Palamon.

172. PAYNE, F. ANNE. Chaucer and Menippean Satire. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1981, 302 pp.

Traces the history of Menippean satire and demonstrates its impact on Chaucer's irony, diversity, and disjunctions. The Menippean tradition in Lucan, Petronius, Apuleius, Martianus Capella, and especially Boethius provide context for discussion of three Chaucerian narratives. Following Boethius's unresolved conflation of Cynical, Platonic, Aristotelian and Augustian thought, Chaucer poses in Troilus and Criseyde a tragedy of disjunction between event and character. His Nun's Priest's Tale is a "gleeful attack" on theoretical explanations that disguise the Priest's sense of empty commitment. Knight's Tale parodies Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy and, in Menippean fashion, undercuts the Menippean acceptence of conflict.

173. SARNO, RONALD A. "Chaucer and the Satirical Tradition." Classical Folia 21 (1967):41-61.

Summarizes Chaucer's place in satirical tradition, suggesting that he may have known Horace's Satires, and arguing that if he did not, he combines moral censure with amused acceptence in Horatian fashion. Far from Juvenalian invective or the Christian complaint tradition of Jerome that most of his contemporaries follow, Chaucer's spirit is Horatian, especially his use of double entendre.

174. SHANNON, EDGAR F. Chaucer and the Roman Poets. Harvard Studies in Comparative Literature, no. 7. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1929, 423 pp.

Tallies Chaucer's references and allusions to classical authors, including Statius, Lucan, Valerius Flaccus, Claudian, Horace, Juvenal, Persius, Catullus, Vergil, and especially Ovid. Examines the references to determine Chaucer's knowledge of these authors, whether first-hand familiarity or through florilegia. Investigates Chaucer's use of Ovid most extensively, considering the Ovidian influence on each of Chaucer's major poems and concluding that he followed Ovid in technical innovation, realism, attitudes towards women, and allusiveness. The Ovidian works Chaucer knew most intimately were Heroides and Metamorphoses. Suggests that Chaucer's contact with Italian poetry contributed to his familiarity with classical literature, and notes where Chaucer may have borrowed classical references from French and Italian sources.

See also entries 8, 47, 144-45, 164, 182, 252, 308, 418, 702, 811, 826, 846, 868-68, 874.

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