LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN
[Cross-references included at the bottom of the page]
887. AMY, ERNEST F. The Text of Chaucer's Legend of Good Women. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1918. Reprint. New York: Haskell House, 1965, 118 pp.
Identifies the eleven manuscripts and Thynne's 1532 edition of Legend of Good Women, describing how they divide into two independent families, each with its own version of the prologue, designated "F" from the Fairfax manuscript and "G" from Cambridge Gg. Provides no complete text of the poem but assesses two early editions line by line, comparing their readings to the manuscripts.
888. ESTRICH, ROBERT M. "Chaucer's Maturing Art in the Prologues to the Legend of Good Women." JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology 36 (1937):326-37.
Compares Chaucer's early (F) and later (G) versions of the Prologue to Legend of Good Women to argue that Chaucer's revision was largely a process of reducing "conventional courtly love material" with a "concomitant heightening" of ironic comedy at the expense of these conventions.
889. FISHER, JOHN H. "The Revision of the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women: An Occasional Explanation." South Atlantic Bulletin 43, no. 4 (1978):75-84.
Assesses the G-version of the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women as a commemoration of Richard's marriage to Isabel in 1397, arguing that the event accounts for Chaucer's revision. The changes in detail and tone all reflect "how distant and dream-like" the ideal of the F-version had become.
890. FRANK, ROBERT WORTH, Jr. Chaucer and the "Legend of Good Women." Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972, 228 pp.
The first full-length study of Legend of Good Women, reading it as essential to understanding Chaucer's development as a narrative artist, a self-conscious innovation in genre, theme, technique, and verse form. The Prologue, a playful farewell to the love-vision, introduces and justifies the legends and earnestly questions the proper subject matter of poetry and its allowable sources. The tales are "essentially alien to the code of courtly love," and reflect Chaucer's dexterity with brief, straightforward narration that requires quick summary and deft characterization, more typical of Canterbury Tales than Troilus and Criseyde. Through the legends, Chaucer explored his poetic freedom and developed the ability to write emotionally charged tales. Critical accusations that Chaucer became bored with the legends misconstrue their tone and rhetorical use of occupatio.
891. FRANK, ROBERT WORTH, Jr.. "The Legend of Good Women: Some Implications." In Chaucer at Albany. Edited by Rossell Hope Robbins. New York: Burt Franklin & Co., 1975, pp. 63-76.
Assesses the narrative virtues of Chaucer's Legend of Good Women and John Gower's Confessio Amantis, particularly their "unimpeded succession of events" which makes for bare stories that benefit from clear events, sharp sequence, memorability, and meaning--the "magnetic power of a simple story."
892. GAYLORD, ALAN T. "Dido at Hunt, Chaucer at Work." Chaucer Review 17 (1983):300-315.
Contrasts the Dido account of Chaucer's Legend of Good Women with its Latin and French sources, assessing the prosody of the works and demonstrating how Chaucer's new decasyllabic line creates a new "literary colloquial"--a new voice.
893. HANSEN, ELAINE TUTTLE. "Irony and the Antifeminist Narrator in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women." JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology 82 (1983):11- 31.
Reads Legend of Good Women as a parody of literature which falsely idealizes female passivity and stupidity, arguing that Cupid and perhaps the narrator ironically prefer such an ideal, that the legends individually reflect the absurdity of the notion, and that the incomplete state of the text underscores Chaucer's rejection of the false ideal.
894. KISER, LISA J. Telling Classical Tales: Chaucer and the "Legend of Good Women." Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1983, 169 pp.
Reads Legend of Good Women as a poem about poetry, especially about the artist's responsibility to his classical sources. The Prologue clarifies the author's conviction that poetry need not be abstract and that it should not be distorted by Christian moralization. The legends reflect both these concerns and Chaucer's role as a "translator" of traditional sources rather than as an original maker or poet.
895. KNOPP, SHERRON. "Chaucer and Jean de Meun as Self-Conscious Narrators: The Prologue to the Legend of Good Women and the Roman de la Rose 10307-680." Comitatus 4 (1973-4): 25-39.
Compares patterns and details of Chaucer's Prologue to the Legend of Good Women with Jean de Meun's meeting with Amours in Roman de la Rose, demonstrating how Chaucer emulates Jean's ironic self-portrait and inverts his view of love, both complimenting and parodying Jean's depiction.
896. KOLVE, V.A. "From Cleopatra to Alceste: An Iconographic Study of The Legend of Good Women." In Signs and Symbols in Chaucer's Poetry. Ed. by John P. Hermann and John J. Burke, Jr. University: University of Alabama Press, 1981, pp. 130-78.
Argues that Cleopatra, the first tale in the Legend of Good Women, provides a paradigm of the major motif of the collection as it stands--fruitless pagan tragedy. Had Chaucer finished the series, he would have transcended the motif in the tale of Alceste as an icon of Christian resurrection. The full design of the poem, implied in the Prologue, reflects Chaucer's respect for the pagan past and for women, locating "within pagan history certain possibilities of human loving that Christian history would later confirm and redeem."
897. LOSSING, MARIAN. "The Prologue to the Legend of Good Women and the Lai de Franchise." Studies in Philology 39 (1942):15-35.
Challenges the traditon that that Deschamps' Lai de franchise was the primary source of Prologue F of the Legend of Good Women, demonstrating the conventional nature of their verbal parallels. As a result, questions the pre-1385 date for the Prologue.
898. LOWES, JOHN LIVINGSTON. "The Prologue to the Legend of Good Women as Related to the French Marguerite Poems and to the Filostrato." PMLA 19 (1904):593-683.
Defines the French tradition of marguerite poetry, and demonstrates its pervasive influence upon Chaucer's two versions of the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women. Takes account of the influence of Boccaccio's Filostrato on the poem and establishes that the B [F] version of the Prologue preceded A [G].
899. LOWES, JOHN LIVINGSTON. "The Prologue to the Legend of Good Women Considered in Its Chronological Relations." PMLA 20 (1905): 749- 864.
Using internal and external evidence, dates the early, F version of the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women as "not earlier than 1386." Compares this version with other Chaucerian works, proposing the following chronology: House of Fame about 1379; the early version of Knight's Tale, Troilus and Criseyde, and the early version of the Legend of Good Women Prologue and most of its tales by 1386; revised Prologue, 1394.
900. PAYNE, ROBERT O. "Making His Own Myth: The Prologue to Chaucer's Legend of Good Women." Chaucer Review 9 (1975):197-211.
Assesses the place of the second, G version of Prologue to the Legend of Good Women in Chaucer's career, reading it as a personal valediction to his book-inspired love-visions. Its narrator is an "imaginative reconstruction from Chaucer's early poems," but closely aligned with the historical Chaucer. Structurally, the work reflects Chaucer's self conscious search for an ars poetica.
901. TAYLOR, BEVERLY. "The Medieval Cleopatra: The Classical and Medieval Traditions of Chaucer's Legend of Cleopatra." Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 7 (1977):249-69.
Reads the account of Cleopatra as a signal of pervasive irony in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women, demonstrating its deviation from traditional condemnations of Cleopatra and its ironic assertion of her virtue. As the first legend, it sets an ironic tone for the rest of the collection.
See also entries 3, 10, 47, 67, 96, 154, 162, 190, 216, 221, 235, 563, 807, 810. For literary relations: 167, 373, 775, 811.
Table of Contents
Previous Section: House of Fame
Next Section: Short Poems, Lyrics and Lyrical Technique