PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION                     

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


205. BOYD, BEVERLY. Chaucer and the Liturgy. Philadelphia: Dorrance & Co., 1967, 95 pp.

Surveys Chaucer's poetic treatment of the sacraments, the canonical hours, saints, and holy days to discover his attitudes toward Church ritual. Chaucer very often uses saints' names as oaths to serve rhyme, and holy days in his works are most often occasions of merrymaking. His treatment of sacramental and canonical liturgies reveal his familiarity with and his essential lack of interest in both. In his liturgical references, Chaucer is neither Wycliffite zealot nor "orthodox ascetic." He criticizes clerical abuses and ritualism, but his criticism is witty and secular rather than acerbic.

206. HOLLEY, LINDA TARTE. " Chaucer. T.S. Eliot, and the Regenerative Pilgrimage." Studies in Medievalism 2 (1982):19-33.

Parallels Chaucer's awareness and valuation of language with T.S. Eliot's, arguing that for both poets language mediates between past and present, faith and experience, idea and reality. Chaucer's self-conscious use of books in his dream visions and his awareness of the "social dimension of rhetoric" in Canterbury Tales indicates his conviction that discovery and regeneration come through words, analogous to the Christian notion of Word.

207. HUSSEY, MAURICE. "The Church." In An Introduction to Chaucer. By Maurice Hussey, A.C. Spearing, and James Winny. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965, pp. 56-88.

Describes the religious officers of Chaucer's day from Pope to parish priest, and clarifies contemporary theological issues and terminology. A guide to the fourteenth-century Church, sensitive to Chaucer's religious attitudes.

208. MADELEVA, SISTER M. "A Lost Language." In A Lost Language and Other Essays on Chaucer. New York: Sheed & Ward, 1951, pp. 11-26.

Discusses the prayers in Chaucer's works, concentrating on An A.B.C. as his first work, and assessing prayer as evidence of Chaucer's religious sincerity and devotion. Other prayers include Dorigen's address to God, the prayers of Griselda and the little clergeon's mother, the Retraction, and various other references to God and the saints.

209. MOGAN, JOSEPH J., Jr. Chaucer and the Theme of Mutability. De Proprietatibus Litterarum, Series Practica, no.8. The Hague: Mouton, 1969, 190 pp.

Demonstrates the pervasiveness of the theme of mutability in Chaucer's works, describing the Christian and classical backgrounds of the theme and investigating its functions in his works. Mutability may be the most important common feature among the works Chaucer translated--Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, Innocent III's De contemptus mundi, and Jean de Mean's Roman de la rose--perhaps the reason he selected them. His short poems and love visions explore various aspects of mutability: fortune, fame, life's transitoriness, lack of stability, and contemptus mundi. Troilus and Criseyde exposes the antithesis of the spiritual and earthly realms in terms of mutability. Knight's Tale reflects Chaucer's progress towards resolution of this antithesis, and much of Canterbury Tales attests to his acceptence of the world "in all its transitoriness."

210. OWEN, CHARLES A., Jr. "The Problem of Free Will In Chaucer's Narratives." Philological Quarterly 46 (1967):433-56.

Traces a developing pattern in Chaucer's portrayal of character, observing a philosphical and aesthetic contrast between determinism and free will. As Chaucer sophisticates his techniques from Complaint of Mars to the early Knight's Tale, Troilus and Criseyde, and Canterbury Tales, his characters become increasingly free from external influence and control by the narrator.

211. PECK, RUSSELL A. "Chaucer and the Nominalist Questions." Speculum 53 (1978):745-60.

Suggests that Chaucer's dream visions reflect nominalistic inquiry through their concern with the narrators' efforts to know or understand. Timidity of will adversely affects the narrators' abilities to know, paralleling the cognition theory of William of Ockham as modified by Robert Holcot.

212. RUGGIERS, PAUL G. "Notes Towards a Theory of Tragedy in Chaucer." Chaucer Review 8 (1973):89-99.

Suggests that Chaucer's idea of tragedy must be understood in terms of fortune and providence, whether manifested in the rare, elevated concern of Monk's Tale or the more familiar, more emotional pathos of Legend of Good Women. In either case, Chaucer's intellectual context encouraged the view that tragedy is "merely one episode in the larger pattern of reconciliation of man to God."

213. SHEPHERD, GEOFFREY T. "Religion and Philosophy in Chaucer." In Geoffrey Chaucer. Edited by Derek Brewer. Writers and their Background. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1974. Reprint. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976, pp. 262- 89.

Surveys the religious and philosophical polemics of the late fourteenth century, summarizing the attitudes of the major thinkers (Ockham, Bradwardine, Wyclif), and noting where Chaucer responds to such concerns. Religious issues in Chaucer's works are moral rather than doctrinal, "questions of doubt and conscience." Philosophically, his works reflect epistemological doubt and a strong concern with the issue of determinism.

214. WETHERBEE, WINTHROP. "Some Intellectual Themes in Chaucer's Poetry." In Geoffrey Chaucer: A Collection of Original Essays. Edited by George Economou. New York: McGraw- Hill, 1975, pp. 75-91.

Explores the influence of Boethian, Neoplatonic idealism in representative works by Chaucer. Parliament of Fowls leaves unresolved a tension between idealized love and resistence to this ideal. Troilus and Criseyde transcends a similar opposition. Knight's Tale synthesizes various philosophical ideals which the rest of the Canterbury tales test, suggesting that certainty can not "be achieved in its own terms."

See also entries 3, 57, 171. For philosophy: 154, 159, 162, 170, 172, 196, 223, 259, 283, 336, 340, 493-95, 736, 846, 854, 864, 872, 880; religion: 12, 47, 77, 177, 288, 293, 317, 387, 573, 585, 594, 603, 820, 842.

Table of Contents

Previous Section: Literary Influence and Reputation

Next Section: Science, Including Astrology