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The Influence of Dante on Medieval English Dream Visions


Roberta L. Payne

The book begins with a discussion of the influence of the Divina Commedia on Pearl, in terms of religious experiences and poetics. Like Pearl, The House of Fame borrows both these thematic levels from the Italian. The Parliament of Fowls illustrates even more sophisticated borrowing techniques. Here Chaucer relies for massive thematic borrowings on really only one specific topos - the inscription on the gate of hell in Dante's Inferno. It is likely Chaucer is borrowing Dante's dream of Beatrice and the God of Love from the opening of the Vita Nuova for use in both the structure and the visual images of Criseyde's Dream of the Eagle in Book Three of Troilus and Criseyde. A brief study of John Lydgate's Temple of Glass and James I's Kingis Quair completes the study.
Contents: This study documents and discusses the influence of the Divina Commedia on Pearl, The House of Fame, and The Parliament of Fowls. It also examines similarities between the Vita Nuova and Troilus and Criseyde.