After Pandarus interrupts Criseyde listening to a book on the siege of Thebes, she and he describe this work in two contrasting ways. The apparent disconnect between their descriptions, along with the fact that the book remains unnamed, has led scholars to advocate for either the Latin Thebaid or the French Roman de Thèbes as the likely candidate for this work. This article will argue that the exegetical exercise we must perform in our search for Criseyde's book is precisely the point. In our futile search for the book's identity—in our comparative study of “Theban gestes”—we retrace a pattern of authorial erasure and misprision prevalent in medieval works on Thebes. In describing Criseyde's book in two ways, and in leaving it nameless, Chaucer thus points his readers to the inevitable silencing and manipulation that accompany textual transmission and translation.

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