HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Dream Visions and Other Poems [Norton…
Loading...

Dream Visions and Other Poems [Norton Critical Edition] (2007)

by Geoffrey Chaucer

Other authors: Kathyrn L. Lynch (Editor)

Series: Norton Critical Editions

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1022178,560 (3.86)4

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 4 mentions

Showing 2 of 2
Chaucer is mostly known for The Canterbury Tales, but they and his other poetic works and translations fill more than 750 of the 1300-page Riverside edition of his complete works. While the Tales provide a highly entertaining and wide-ranging selection of stories, it is a daunting task to read them in their entirety in the original Middle English, which is the best approach because so much of the charm and humor of Chaucer's writing is lost in translation to modern English. Middle English comes at that point where Anglo-Saxon and French are in the process of blending together into what will become the modern English language. Standard spellings are not yet established, the old inflections are inconsistent and the vocabulary is much more limited. Many words serve double and triple duty with widely varying definitions, and words that look familiar have frequently evolved over the ages to mean something quite different than they did in the 1300s.

When spoken aloud Middle English is much more comprehensible than just seeing it on the page. Reading aloud seems to turn one into a participant, and the delights of hearing the sounds of the language cannot be adequately described. One simply must experience it to appreciate it. To the modern ear Middle English sounds like a remote dialect, which gives the illusion that it is just on the edge of being understandable. Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple, but once into it and aware of the pitfalls, one can pick it up relatively quickly.

Until relatively recently Chaucer's shorter poetical works were accessible only to serious students and scholars, but these shorter works are in some ways much more approachable than the Tales, in addition to conveying the essence of both Chaucer and his dialect.

Norton Critical Editions has provided a perfect introduction in Geoffrey Chaucer: Dream Visions and Other Poems, beautifully selected, edited and introduced by Kathryn Lunch, who also wrote The High Medieval Dream Vision: Poetry, Philosophy, and Literary Form, a book I devoured and reported on a few years ago. This Norton edition provides line by line glosses which save the reader from the necessity of constantly referring to a separate vocabulary. Footnotes at the bottom of the page explain difficult passages and mythological, historical, biographical and literary references.

What exactly is a "dream vision"? It is a recounting of a dream that is so memorable or significant that it almost seems like a vision. It was one of the most popular literary genres of the Middle Ages, and many examples abound that are well known today. Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy was the prototype, and Dante's Divine Comedy is perhaps the culmination and the most famous. Of Chaucer's four stand-alone dream visions only two were finished, The Book of the Duchess and the Parliament of Fowls. The House of Fame and The Legend of Good Women both end abruptly mid-sentence, and no one knows why they were not completed. These works all pre-date The Canterbury Tales, so we don't know whether Chaucer simply lost interest or set them aside and simply never got back to them.

The Book of the Duchess was written for John of Gaunt to honor his wife Blanche who had recently died. It deals with the pain of loss without sinking into sentimentality. The Parliament of Fowls may be the first literary commemoration of Saint Valentine's Day and celebrates the advent of spring. The subject matter is difficult to pin down as it begins with a brief discussion of poetic art but shifts to how the poet is stymied by his attempts to deal with Love. It then turns to books before it evolves into a debate among the birds about which of three male eagles the lady eagle should choose as a mate. The House of Fame tells of the narrator's dream of being carried into the heavens to the realm of the goddess Fame, and in the course of the story demonstrates how Fame is nearly as capricious as Fortune. In The Legend of Good Women, a dream vision provides the frame for a series of lives of virtuous women and the men who betrayed them.

In addition to these four dream visions, Chaucer's narrative poem Anelida and Arcite and a selection of his very short poems are included.

True to Norton tradition, a selection of contextual materials are provided, in this case excerpts from Chaucer's sources including Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Boethius, Alain de Lille, Jean de Meun, Dante, Guillaume de Machaut and Boccaccio. Finally, several critical essays from different periods and with widely varying perspectives are presented. This is perhaps the weakest element of an otherwise superb book. I would have chosen differently in some cases, but I am thinking in terms of introductory materials. The editor has a more academic perspective.

The total effect here is of a commonplace book which can form the basis for many hours of enjoyment and indeed a jumping off point for delving into some of the full works excerpted and into more treasures from Chaucer's pen. For the reader who is thinking of giving Chaucer and Middle English a try, there cannot be a more rewarding place to begin than with this volume. ( )
  Poquette | Nov 26, 2014 |
It isn't exactly a dream come true.

This volume contains what it says: Chaucer's dream poems, plus a few others. So we have The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls, The Legend of Good Women, and some (not all) of his minor poems. Since the minor poems supllied here include most of the better and more noteworthy ones (Anelida and Arcite, Truth, Gentilesse, Lack of Steadfastness, Adam Scriven), this volume, plus the other Norton volumes on The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde, will give you almost a complete edition of Chaucer.

The text is not the standard Riverside Chaucer, but is a modified edition of Skeat's old workhorse edition. This is understandable, since the two editions are more or less in competition, and Skeat's text is good enough for most purposes. The texts are suitably glossed, with notes on the page; it is an easy-to-use edition. And the introductions to the individual poems are solid.

But Norton's anthologies usually include translations of an author's sources, plus a section on criticism. The sources section, which includes relevant material from Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Boccaccio, and others, is good. But the criticism... is strange. "The Feminization of Men in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women"? This was frankly hard for me to comprehend. Most of the other critical pieces weren't much better.

Of the three Norton volumes on Chaucer, this one is probably has the most potential interest, because these are the writings that get the least attention. Yet they show how Chaucer matured as a poet, and some of the short writings (notably "Truth") give a real insight into his thought processes. Yet I came away with very little that I didn't know. I fear the Riverside Chaucer still holds the field. ( )
  waltzmn | Jan 18, 2014 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geoffrey Chaucerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lynch, Kathyrn L.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
for Michael and Rachel
"Al this mene I by Love."
First words
Preface
This Norton Critical Edition is intended both for students just beginning their acquaintance with Chaucer and for those coming to what are sometimes referred to as his "minor poems" -- his dream visions, short lyrics, complains -- for a deeper knowledge of the power after reading his masterworks, the Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde.
Quotations
Forth, pilgrim, forth! Forth, beste, out of thy stal!
Know thy contree, look up, thank God of al;
Hold the hye wey, and lat thy gost thee lede,
And trouthe shal delivere, it is no drede.
p. 219, "Truth," lines 18-21.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393925889, Paperback)

This Norton Critical Edition presents Chaucer’s four dream visions and selected shorter poems and is suitable for both beginning and advanced students.

The texts are extensively glossed and are accompanied by individual introductions and explanatory annotations. A lightly regularized system of spellings has been adopted. No prior knowledge of Chaucer is assumed.

“Contexts” connects the poems to their classical and medieval foundations and includes works by Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Boethius, Dante, and Boccaccio, among others.

From the wealth of scholarly work available, the editor has chosen for “Criticism” six essays that address the poems’ central themes. Contributors include Charles Muscatine, A. C. Spearing, R. T. Lenaghan, Richard Firth Green, Elaine Tuttle Hansen, and Steven Kruger.

A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:35 -0400)

The texts are extensively glossed and are accompanied by individual introductions and explanatory annotations. A lightly regularized system of spellings has been adopted. No prior knowledge of Chaucer is assumed. "Contexts" connects the poems to their classical and medieval foundations and includes works by Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Boethius, Dante, and Boccaccio, among others. From the wealth of scholarly work available, the editor has chosen for "Criticism" six essays that address the poems' central themes. Contributors include Charles Muscatine, A. C. Spearing, R. T. Lenaghan, Richard Firth Green, Elaine Tuttle Hansen, and Steven Kruger. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.… (more)

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.86)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5 2
3 3
3.5
4 5
4.5
5 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 136,458,754 books! | Top bar: Always visible