SCIENCE, INCLUDING ASTROLOGY
[Cross-references included at the bottom of the page]
215. CLARK, GEORGE. "Chaucer's Third and Fourth of May." Revue de l'Universite d'Ottawa 52 (1982):257-65.
Surveys the criticism of Chaucer's three uses of May third or fourth (Nun's Priest's Tale, Knight's Tale, Troilus and Criseyde), clarifying their astrological contexts and their ambiguities. Argues that Chaucer's use of the date in Troilus is based on contemporary "collective moon-books" (lunaria) and is an appropriate day for Pandarus to select for his match-making.
216. CURRY, WALTER CLYDE. Chaucer and the Mediaeval Sciences. 2d ed. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1960, 392 pp.
Eleven essays comprise a seminal study of Chaucer's poetic use of medieval medicine, physiognomy, astrology and dream psychology. Five essays demonstrate and explain the rich characterization inherent in the references to physiognomy, medical humors, and planetary influence in Canterbury Tales: the Physician's erudition, the skin infections of the Summoner and Cook, the Pardoner's eunuchry, the contention between the Miller and Reeve, and the Wife of Bath's sexual aggressiveness. Four essays explore the interplay between astrological determinism and traditional plot in Troilus and Criseyde, Knight's Tale, Man of Law's Tale, and the Hypermnestra section of Legend of Good Women, focussing on tragic inevitability in Troilus, Arcite's death, and the Providential care of Constance. Two essays investigate the dream psychology that helps characterize Chauntecleer and Pertelote in Nun's Priest's Tale, and explain the nature and function of the classes of dream in Chaucer's love-visions.
217. EADE, J.C. "`We Ben to Lewed or to Slowe': Chaucer's Astronomy and Audience Participation." Studies in the Age of Chaucer 4 (1982):53-85.
Explains in clear detail three of Chaucer's thorniest astronomical passages (the clerk's casting in Franklin's Tale, the narrative section of Complaint of Mars, the apostrophe to the firmament in Man of Law's Tale), substantiating the thesis that Chaucer's astronomical references assume of their audience only moderate alertness and expertise.
218. KELLOGG, ALFRED L., and COX, ROBERT C. "Chaucer's May 3 and Its Contexts." In Chaucer, Langland, Arthur: Essays in Middle English Literature. By Alfred L. Kellogg. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1972, pp. 155-98.
Explores the traditional associations of May 3 with the malevolent workings of fortune in Chaucer's three uses of the date, suggesting that the fated determinism associated with May 3 in Troilus and Criseyde diminishes to a kind of humanism in Knight's Tale and to parody in Nun's Priest's Tale.
219. MANZALAOUI, MAHMOUD. "Chaucer and Science." In Geoffrey Chaucer. Edited by Derek Brewer. Writers and their Background. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1974. Reprint. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976, pp. 224-61.
Surveys the likely sources of Chaucer's scientific knowledge and illustrates the variety of uses to which he puts empirical science, pseudo science, and the occult. Attempts to define the limits of Chaucer's acceptence of astrology, alchemy, magic, and physiognomy.
220. METLITZKI, DOROTHEE. "Scientific Imagery in Chaucer." In The Matter of Araby in Medieval England. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1977, pp. 73-92.
Demonstrates Chaucer's indirect debt to Arabic science, tracing the names "Algarsyf" and "Elpheta" of Squire's Tale to Arabic star catalogs and the Canon's Yeoman's alchemical knowledge, especially his knowledge of alchemical mysteries, to Arabic sources.
221. NORTH, J.D. "Kalenderes Enlumyned Ben They: Some Astrological Terms in Chaucer." Review of English Studies 20 (1969):129-54, 257-83, 418-44.
Analyzes the astrological and astronomical allusions in Chaucer's works, seeking to date the works and explain the allegory or significance of days and dates covertly embedded in his poetry. Discusses the scientific aspects of Chaucer's astrological knowledge, including his use of technical calendars, the information evident in Treatise on the Astrolabe, and the possibility that he wrote Equatorie of the Planets. Analyzes allusions in Complaint of Mars, Troilus and Criseyde, Parliament of Fowls, Legend of Hypermnestra, and from Canterbury Tales, the tales of the Knight, Squire, Franklin, Merchant, Nun's Priest, and Man of Law, and the prologues of the Wife of Bath, Man of Law and Parson.
222. SMYSER, HAMILTON M. "A View of Chaucer's Astronomy." Speculum 45 (1970):359-73.
Attempts to establish the evolution of Chaucer's interest in astronomy and astrology, identifying 1380 as a turning point, contrasting Chaucer's stellar references to John Gower's, challenging North's astronomical dating of Parliament of Fowls (entry 221), and assessing the cosmological imagery of Complaint of Mars, Troilus and Criseyde, and Canterbury Tales, especially Man of Law's Tale.
223. WINNY, JAMES. "Chaucer's Science." In An Introduction to Chaucer. By Maurice Hussey, A.C. Spearing, and James Winny. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965, pp. 153-84.
Clarifies the nature of medieval science, emphasizing its philosophical underpinnings, and demonstrating Chaucer's poetic use of astrology, physiognomy, medicine, and alchemy.
224. WOOD, CHAUNCEY. Chaucer and the Country of the Stars: Poetic Uses of Astrological Imagery. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1970, 337 pp.
Surveys medieval attitudes toward the study of the stars, their relation to determinism, and the confusion of astrology and astronomy. Describes Chaucer as "high among the skeptics on the medieval scale of belief in astrology," identifies Dante and Boccaccio as the sources of much of his astrological imagery, and interprets the value of such imagery in the Chaucerian works that it dominates. Complaint of Mars, Chaucer's only "astrological poem," conflates the mythography and iconography of Mars and Venus and traces the astrological motion of these planets to comment on the nature of love. Elsewhere, Chaucer manipulates astrological imagery to characterize his speakers or lend depth to his narratives. Discusses the opening of Canterbury Tales, Troilus's ascent through the spheres, the Wife of Bath's horoscope, and, at greater length, the Parson's Prologue and the tales and characters of the Franklin and Man of Law.
See also entries 47, 57, 355, 557, 565, 661, 878. For astrology: 16, 18, 291, 342, 367, 774, 847-48, 850, 864, 909.
Table of Contents
Previous Section: Philosophy and Religion
Next Section: Imagery, Iconography, and Mythology