Comedy in Chaucer and Boccaccio

September 2009
166 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Chaucer Studies
ISBN: 9781843842019
Format: Hardback
Library eBook

Comedy in Chaucer and Boccaccio

Carol Falvo Heffernan

A comparison of Chaucer and Boccaccio sheds new light on both writers, indicating their mutual use of ancient comic literary traditions.
Although many of Chaucer's sources have been exhaustively studied, relatively little work has been done on the influence of his contemporary Boccaccio, a gap which this book aims to fill. It examines the relationship of the comic tales, the so-called fabliaux, in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio's Decameron, demonstrating that not only did Chaucer draw on Boccaccio's work, but that they shared the same comic literary tradition stretching back into antiquity. By putting the tales and the characters side-by-side, it throws new light on Chaucer's inventiveness and mode of working.

Professor CAROL FALVO HEFFERNAN teaches at the Department of English, Rutgers University, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
Introductory Matters
The Comic Inheritance of Boccaccio and Chaucer
Parallel Comic Tales in the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales
Antifraternal Satire
Boccaccio's Filostrato and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde: Adding Comedy


Carol Falvo Heffernan's achievement is to have written a full and balanced synthesis while extending the discussion to a comparative evaluation of Boccaccio's writing. [Her] study will provoke much further debate. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

Author Bio

Professor Carol F Heffernan is Professor at the Department of English, Rutgers University, New York.

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