Book of the Duchess

Edward I. Condren

in Chaucer from Prentice to Poet

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032412
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038339 | DOI:
Book of the Duchess

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  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)


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This chapter discusses the poem Book of the Duchess. Almost every study conducted on this poem began by announcing an interpretation of the poem based on lines that appear only at its end. In subtle ways, the opening lines of this poem lay out the thematic strategy governing the whole poem. The discussion presents a careful analysis of the entire poem and attempts to answer several questions, such as whether Chaucer always intended the Book of the Duchess to honor Blanche of Lancaster, or began it as a tribute to Queen Philippa, and whether he designed the man in black to represent John of Gaunt or a twenty-four year old image of himself.

Keywords: Book of the Duchess; interpretation; opening lines; thematic strategy; Chaucer; Blanche of Lancaster; Queen Philippa; John of Gaunt

Chapter.  21968 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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