Chaucer's Dream Poetry

This book provides all of Chaucer's dream poems with individual introductions and a full critical guide to the genre of dream poetry. Now in a second edition, it discusses The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls and The Legend of Good Women. New pieces that have come to light more recently are incorporated, including eight additional legends taken from The Legend of Good Women. The texts provide an indispensable guide to the poetic agenda that informs other works by Chaucer and they are profound explorations of subjects central to his thought such as love and transience, the experience of suffering (especially of women), and the role of the modern vernacular poet in relation to cultural tradition. The new additions connect with Shakespeare in several cases, and involve important critical considerations such as rape, masculinities, and patriarchal ideas of female sexual honour. Each poem is accompanied by details of composition, manuscript and sources, as well as allusions to contemporary religious, historical and social issues. A general introduction gives context to all the pieces and provides a penetrating account of Chaucer's development and innovative use of the dream vision to give greater depth to English poetry.