This volume makes available in translation the texts that lie behind Chaucer's dream poems - The Book of the Duchess, The Parliament of Fowls, The House of Fame
and Prologue to the Legend of Good Women
. Chaucer's dream poems are now being increasingly studied and appreciated. With their attractively bookish dreamer figure and their graceful use of conventions and traditions, they have their distinctive place in Chaucer's work. But the nodern reader of these medieval poems particularly needs a sense of their literary context in the tradition of comparable narrative poems - largely in OId French - which Chaucer knew and drew upon. None of these French poems has ever been made available in English translation before, and many of the texts are difficult to access, being available only in dated French scholarly editions. The authors represented are Froissart, Machaut and Deschamps, as well as some minor and anonymous poems, and there are also relevant translations from Cicero and Boccaccio. The book gives an idea of what Chaucer's sources were in themselves, and in what ways the English poet was inspired to use and go beyond them, and this presents a picture of the poet at work. Some of the French poems are translated carefully by Chaucer, while with other poems he is selective, interested in certain sections of his sources only. In further cases, the original material can be seen to have provided a more general point of departure for Chaucer's own developments on his work.