Type of Document Thesis Author Beall, Joanna Maria URN etd-06272003-141919 Title Chaucer's Sublime Philosophy in the House of Fame Degree Master of Arts Department English, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title David F. Johnson Committee Chair Bruce Boehrer Committee Member Eugene J. Crook Committee Member Keywords
- House of Fame
Date of Defense 2003-01-01 Availability restricted AbstractThis thesis considers The House of Fame as an allegory in which the dreamerís quest to
write love poetry masks a pilgrimage towards Truth: through Neo-Platonic and Christian views
of Fall, Redemption, and Judgment. The analysis treats these concepts as sublime themes that
Chaucerís audience would have interpreted in light of the iconography of this enigmatic dream
The Introduction expands the argument stated above, and locates the terms of the thesis
in their fourteenth century context. This section refers to texts that are generally acknowledged
as philosophical sources for Chaucer and his contemporaries, and which inform this study.
They include Boethiusís Consolation of Philosophy, and Macrobiusís Commentary on the
Dream of Scipio. Sublimity is also defined here in light of the rhetoric described by
Longinusís On the Sublime, and it is argued that Chaucer was familiar with the concept from
classical and Neo-Platonic literature, if not from the first century A. D. Greek treatise.
The ensuing chapters offer close readings of each book of the poem. Each reading
i) identifies the imagery and describes how its significance conflates philosophical, sacred, and
secular allusions; ii) analyzes the function of this sublime iconography and rhetoric; and iii)
traces the tropological and anagogical progress of the dreamer. The final chapter interprets the
ending of the poem in light of the foregoing analyses, and supports the view that Chaucer
anticipated that contemporary and future audiences would participate in continuing the
narrative through interpretation and performance.
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