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STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER doubt that this narrative, which moves us "from plague to plea­ sure," has a therapeutic aim among its more exclusively literary concerns, such doubt should be weakened in light of early commen­ tary on the work, and particularly in light of the "plague tracts," treatises concerned specifically with means of surviving the plague, one of which was to encourage cheerfulness with "songs, stories, and melodies." There is relatively little on Chaucer in Olson's book, though there is some fresh insight into the relation between the narrator's melancholy in The Book ofthe Duchess and his subse­ quent turning to a book for solace. Literature as Recreation is a dense and intricately argued book, but it is demanding without being tiresome. Those who choose to use it for "reference," or to enter its argument by way of the index, will do so at t,heir own peril, for it is the relatedness of the materials Olson presents, the recurrent qualification of one position by an­ other, that lend the book its authority. If Olson's connections between theory and practice are sometimes tenuous, they may help us appreciate the dilemma of thoughtful persons during a crucial phase of intellectual history: "The expanded secular culture of the later Middle Ages still relies heavily on the recreational idea to understand and justify its interest in worldly pleasures. It does not yet give those pleasures independent status as goods in themselves" (p. 232). RICHARD M. PIERSOL Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University RUSSELL A. PECK, ed., Chaucer's Lyrics and "Anelida andArcite": An AnnotatedBibliography, 1900 to 1980. Toronto: Univer­ sity of Toronto Press, 1983. Pp. xx, 226. $36.00. Peck's bibliography is the first in a new series, The Chaucer Bibliographies, under the general editorship of A.J. Colaianne and R. M. Piersol, ofVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. As set out in the General Editors' Preface, the series is designed to 216 REVIEWS provide comprehensive annotated bibliographies from 1900 on­ ward, in separate volumes, on Chaucerian works, groups of works, and special topics- coverage that is discriminating in that more significant items are usually accorded longer annotations. Following a concise but graceful Introduction, dealing with the problems of textual tradition, canon, reputation, and autobio­ graphical content of the lyrics, the bibliography of 575 numbered, annotated entries is divided as follows: (1) editions, arranged chronologically, beginning with the Skeat edition of 1894 and ending with the Parkes and Beadle facsimile edition of 1979; (2) bibliographies, indexes, manuscript, and textualstudies, listing catalogues of manuscripts in Britishlibraries, followed by studies in an alphabetical arrangement by author which is used thereafter in the bibliography; (3) metrics, versification, and vocabulary; (4) general studies; and (5) individual studies arranged under twenty-two titles. The apparatus includes Preface, Abbreviations, and a very full Subject-Author Index. Although Peck's is the best guide available for Chaucer's lyrics and Anelida and Arcite, he has not rendered other bibliographies totally obsolete. He makes no claim for definitiveness, that some­ times dubious virtue. Although he has, of course, made extensive use of preceding bibliographies listed in his Preface, nowhere is the work a slavish compilation. He has omitted relatively useless items and has included several valuable items, especially parts of books, listed in no other bibliographies ofthe lyrics, and thus, but for him, not easily found. He includes only a few unpublished dissertations and only substantive or significant reviews, which he places conve­ niently following items to which they pertain. Occasionally, as in no. 273, he also gives opposing opinions from articles, books, etc.; a few items, in fact, seem to be entered merely to justify noting opposing criticism, as for example, no. 109, the insubstantial and inadequate entry on Chaucer in the DNB. The bibliography is flexible. A major problem, the identity of Adam, receives separate billing under Chaucers Wordes Unto Adam, His Own Scriveyn, for example. Although cross-referencing is usually very full, occasion­ ally an important item is overlooked, as for example, item no. 48 on Proverbs, which is buried in Bibliographies, Indexes, etc., and not 217 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER referred to under Proverbs, though it is found...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 216-219
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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