From that commission, most likely before 1372 (which is when John of Gaunt remarried), Chaucer wrote The Book of the Duchess (Hussey 29). This poem, one of Chaucer's first, was strongly influenced from the French poetry, and is in the format of the dream motif.
The Book of the Duchess is likely in the format of the dream motif for various reasons. One reason is the disconnection from reality that the dream gives: if this poem and the actions therein were not in a dream, Chaucer might have easily offended his patron if he somehow misrepresented Blanche. Another reason is the freedom that the dream gives the author to use his poetic talent to create a balanced and highly organized work. The balance in this work -- the balance of ideas, images, and the overarching balance of the whole poem -- is thought to be Chaucer's first step to the high level of poetic beauty that Chaucer writes later in his life.
... middle of paper ...
...r, with The Book of the Duchess, created a masterwork. As with Shakespeare's King Lear, the harmony within the poem surpasses in brilliance over any of the source materials.
Benson, Larry." The Riverside Chaucer." Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston. Dallas. 1987.
Hussey, S.S.. "Chaucer: An Introduction." Methuen & Co., LTD. London. 1971.
Ibeji, Mike. "The Plague in Britain." BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/history/renderplain.pl?file=/history/society_culture/welfare/blackdeath/black_10.shtml>
"John of Gaunt (1340-1399)." Britannia.com, LLC. 2001. http://www.britannia.com/bios/royals/jgdklanc.html>
"John of Gaunt." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. 1994. http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0826444.html>
Kiser, Lisa. "Truth and texuality in Chaucer's poetry." University Press of New England. Hanover, N.H.. 1991.
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