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Chaucer’s Dorigen and Boccaccio’s Female Voices Michael Calabrese California State University-Los Angeles The specific Boccaccian analogues for Chaucer Franklin’s Tale have received detailed critical treatment. Scholars consider Menedon ’s story in the Filocolo the likely source, and even though there is no absolute critical consensus that Chaucer knew the Decameron, the version of the story in that collection (10, 5) has nonetheless fruitfully been compared to Chaucer’s tale. Over the past twenty years, in fact, the complex relations between Boccaccio and Chaucer have been receiving ever expanding and dynamic treatment, without critics compelling themselves to determine whether Chaucer actually read the Decameron and employed it as a source.1 I want to further these inquiries by engagI offer thanks to Frank Grady, to the anonymous readers at SAC, and to Tracy Adams, Albrecht Classen, R. W. Hanning, Roberta Morosini, and Bonnie Wheeler; I also thank Orlando and Joseph Calabrese, who were there on the banks of Loch Lomond . 1 The essential critical studies include David Wallace, Chaucer and the Early Writings of Boccaccio (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1985), and Chaucerian Polity: Absolutist Lineages and Associational Forms in England and Italy (Stanford: University Press, 1997); Leonard Michael Koff et al., The Decameron and the Canterbury Tales: New Essays on an Old Question (Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000); Karla Taylor, ‘‘Chaucer’s Uncommon Voice: Some Contexts for Influence,’’ in Koff, 47–82. Robert R. Edwards, ‘‘Rewriting Menedon’s Story: Decameron 10.5 and the Franklin’s Tale,’’ in Koff, 226–46, traces the shifts in both authors’ versions of the Filocolo source. The essay is reprinted in his comprehensive assessment of the two poets, Chaucer and Boccaccio: Antiquity and Modernity (New York: Palgrave, 2002), pp. 153–72; see also his ‘‘Source, Context, and Cultural Translation in the Franklin’s Tale,’’ MP 94, no. 2 (1996): 141–62. N. S. Thomson , Chaucer, Boccaccio, and the Debate of Love (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), esp., pp. 318–21 , describes Chaucer’s potential exposure to the Decameron; Nick Havely, Chaucer ’s Boccaccio (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1980), offers an anthology of the primary Boccaccian works that directly influenced Chaucer, whose relationship with the Italian author Havely calls ‘‘a working partnership between equals’’ (p. 12). An important overview of the issue of sources, including editions of all the relevant texts, is conveniently found in Robert M. Correale and Mary Hamel, Sources and Analogues of the Canterbury Tales I (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer 2002), 211–65, which also includes a succinct critical and bibliographical summary of Chaucer’s potential use of the Decameron, in Helen Cooper, ‘‘The Frame,’’ pp. 7–13. Most recently, Warren Ginsberg, ‘‘Gli scogli neri il niente che c’è: Dorigen’s Black Rocks and Chaucer’s Translation of Italy,’’ in PAGE 259 259 ................. 16596$ $CH8 11-01-10 14:07:14 PS STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER ing the Decameron beyond the obvious analogue at 10, 5 to include other novelle that reflect the conflicts and dramas of Chaucer’s difficult tale, primarily concerning male desire and woman’s language. I will also consider Boccaccio’s understudied Elegy of Lady Fiammetta, a festival of woman’s language and desire that offers striking parallels to the discourse of Chaucer’s heroine.2 I make no historical case for Chaucer’s knowledge of the Fiammetta, but I believe Chaucer was familiar with the Decameron and thus align myself with those critics who treat it as an analogue, however firmly one defines that term.3 However, my arguReading Medieval Culture: Essays in Honor of Robert W. Hanning, ed. Robert M. Stein and Sandra Pierson Prior (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 2005), pp. 387–408, has examined the Franklin’s adaptation of Menedon’s tale as a cultural translation of Boccaccio’s world of social self-interest into the narrator’s own social project as an ‘‘arriviste ’’ into gentility. On The Franklin’s Tale itself, the criticism is vast; see Kenneth Bleeth, Chaucer’s Physician’s, Squire’s, and Franklin’s Tales, An Annotated Bibliography, 1900–2000 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming); I thank Professor Bleeth for providing me an advanced copy. A pre-1979 survey of...


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