Theses Doctoral

Toward a Supreme Fiction: Dante, Chaucer and the Dream of the Rose

Petracca, Eugene Anthony

This dissertation examines the rise of first-person fiction in the later Middle Ages, arguing that the modern concept of fiction can to be seen to have emerged during this period. As I show, the Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, the Commedia of Dante, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales each offers a unique response to the question of how truth can be manifested in writing. I analyze key passages of these three poems, as well as earlier writings by Dante and Chaucer – in particular, Dante’s Vita Nuova and Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess, as well as Chaucer’s other dream-poems – in order to show how the classical, and more specifically Platonic, subordination of fiction to philosophy was challenged and ultimately overturned through French dream-allegory, Dante’s visionary epic, and the general framework to The Canterbury Tales, where Chaucer can be seen to engage both French and Italian predecessors.


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2025-05-04.

More About This Work

Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Thesis Advisors
Baswell, Christopher C.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 14, 2020