It has long been recognized that Chaucer's poetry consistently foregrounds acts of reading and writing, and nowhere so prominently as in the dream visions. This essay contributes to this ongoing discussion with a particular emphasis on Chaucer's stylistic choices in three of the four major dream poems, including his hyper-frequent use of the word “rede” and his continual play with its numerous valences in Middle English, aspects of a larger stylistic program that serves to articulate a poetics of writing as a process of rereading old texts, and of reading as an equivalent process of new creation. Each of the poems discussed dramatizes at least one act of reading within the narrative in such a way that it illustrates this joint ars poetica/ars legendi in action, and the resultant “failures” of reading are often the most instructive. Finally, through his self-positioning in relation to his own pre-texts, Chaucer also sets forth guidelines regarding how his readers should approach his own works in a similarly collaborative fashion.

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