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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.

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More About This Work

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