THE PERSONA                       

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

 

78. BETHURUM, DOROTHY. "Chaucer's Point of View as Narrator in the Love Poems." PMLA 74 (1959):511-20. Reprinted in Chaucer Criticism, Volume II: "Troilus and Criseyde" & The Minor Poems, ed. by Richard J. Schoeck and Jerome Taylor (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1961), pp. 211-31.

Studies Chaucer's developing personas in his love poems in light of the Neoplatonic poetic tradition of Boethius, Macrobius, Alain de Lille, and Jean de Meun. Behind his comic masks, Chaucer's appreciation of love is clear in his association of its fragility with the stability of learning and belief in God.

79. BLOOMFIELD, MORTON W. "The Gloomy Chaucer." In Veins of Humor. Edited by Harry Levin. Harvard English Studies, no.3. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972, pp. 57-68.

Explores one aspect of Chaucer's humor--his persona's answering to a "querulous objector," an apostrophic response to an unspoken challenge or question. Apostrophes which defend, for example, Criseyde's quick falling in love or Arveragus's concession to Dorigen's promise, humorously delay the inevitable and playfully underscore the unreality of Chaucer's pose. Yet the ploy also posits an external observer or Judge and thereby mixes gravity with levity.

80. DONALDSON, E. TALBOT. "Chaucer the Pilgrim." PMLA 69 (1954):928-36. Reprinted in Chaucer Criticism, Volume I: The "Canterbury Tales," ed. by Richard J. Schoeck and Jerome Taylor (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1960), pp. 1-13; Speaking of Chaucer (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1970), pp. 1-12; Chaucer--The "Canterbury Tales": A Casebook ed. by J.J. Andersen (London: Macmillan, 1974), pp. 93-104.

A seminal essay which characterizes the pilgrim Chaucer as a "fallible first person singular" narrator who compliments his social superiors, patronizes his equals, and assesses his inferiors. As such, the character helps establish the "moral realism" of Canterbury Tales and contributes largely to its comic irony.

81. DONNER, MORTON. "Chaucer and His Narrators: The Poet's Place in His Poems." Western Humanities Review 27 (1973):189-95.

Traces a development of Chaucer's narrative personas, describing his subjective participation in Book of the Duchess and House of Fame, and his role as objective observer in Parliament of Fowls and Troilus and Criseyde. In Canterbury Tales, the separation of poet and pilgrim includes both subjective and objective vantages.

82. GARBATY, THOMAS J. "The Degradation of Chaucer's 'Geffrey'." PMLA 89 (1974):97-104.

Assesses the evolution of Chaucer's "pose" or persona, exploring his manipulation of various levels of perception. In his early poems, Chaucer's "reasonable" but blase pose ironically evokes humor in the face of dream-vision wonders. The less perceptive Canterbury narrator functions more obliquely and therefore more suggestively.

83. HOWARD, DONALD R. "Chaucer the Man." PMLA 80 (1965):337-43. Reprinted in Chaucer's Mind and Art, ed. by A.C. Cawley, Essays Old and New, no. 3 (London: Oliver & Boyd, 1969), pp. 31-45.

Correlates Chaucer the man and the naive persona developed from House of Fame to Canterbury Tales. Chaucer forces his readers to project themselves into the "role of the implied author" in the same way as he, as bourgeois statesman, successfully disarmed and manipulated the aristocracy. The man, like the persona, refuses to criticize, thereby implying the goodness of all.

84. PAYNE, ROBERT O. "Late Medieval Images and Self-Images of the Poet: Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, Henryson, Dunbar." In Vernacular Poetics in the Middle Ages. Edited by Lois Ebin. Studies in Medieval Culture, no. 16. Kalamazoo, Mich.: Medieval Institute Publications, 1984, pp. 249- 61.

Contrasts various kinds of personas evident in the works of Chaucer and his near contemporaries, suggesting that the variety reflects their varied poetic purposes more than their individual personalities or the strictures of convention. In House of Fame, Chaucer manipulates his persona to clarify the difficulty of confronting poetry.

85. WATTS, ANN CHALMERS. "Chaucerian Selves--Especially Two Serious Ones." Chaucer Review 4 (1970):229-41.

Describes the relations between various Chaucerian personas and the poetic worlds in which they appear, noting the fluctuations in these relations and the dominant tendency for the narrators to seem less real than their imaginary settings. However, at the end of Troilus and Criseyde and during Geffrey's rejection of fame in House of Fame, the narrators become tangible, dissolving authorial distance, adopting serious tones, and condemning the poetic worlds they inhabit.

86. WINNY, JAMES. "Chaucer Himself." In An Introduction to Chaucer. By Maurice Hussey, A.C. Spearing, and James Winney. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965, pp. 1-27.

Summarizes the details of Chaucer's political life and assesses the deprecatory self-portraits found in his poetry, suggesting that the personas of the poems reflect his awareness of the disparity between himself as an inspired poet and as a "commonplace individual."

See also entries 10, 66, 87, 152, 162, 167. In Canterbury Tales: 169, 298, 503; Troilus and Criseyde: 795-96, 798; Book of the Duchess: 815-16, 819, 827; Legend of Good Women: 900.

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