Abstract

From his initial reading of Macrobius to the bird choir's parting roundel, the narrator of Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls must consider competing versions of love, nature, and human agency, but at the end he remains as uncertain and unresolved as he was at the beginning. Rather than settling the questions with which the poem is concerned, Chaucer, through the waking and dreaming experience of his poetic persona, enacts a psychodynamic interchange in which the ongoing negotiations between experience and authority, flesh and spirit, nature and the divine, are fluid, bidirectional, and mutually dependent. This suggests not only that the condition of embodiment forms the nexus of the poem's various conceptualizations of love, but also the more incisive point that the formulation of any higher good depends on our ability to have clashing ideas “knyt by evene noumbres of acord.”

You do not currently have access to this content.