The Book of the Duchess and Other Poems Summary | GradeSaverThe Book of the Duchess is a poem of the dream-vision genre, presumably composed as an elegy for the death of Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster the wife of Geoffrey Chaucer 's patron, the royal Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt in or The poem was composed sometime in the few years after this event, and it is generally considered to be flattering to both the Duke and the Duchess. It is composed in octosyllabic rhyming couplets, and it runs lines. The poet tells of his insomnia. Finally, upon reading Ovid's Metamorphoses , he falls asleep. He tells the story of his dream, which begins with him awakening in a chamber covered with pictures of the Trojan War. The dreamer hears the sound of a horn signaling the start of a hunt, and he joins it.
The Book of the Duchess
The Canterbury Tales , first published c. Among these is The Book of the Duchess , composed c. Blanche died in CE, probably from the plague, at the age of 26, and John of Gaunt mourned her for the rest of his life even though he would remarry. The Book of the Duchess is thought to have been composed on the second anniversary of her death. The poem is written in Middle English and belongs to the literary genre known as the high medieval dream vision in which a narrator opens by relating some problem he is experiencing and then falls asleep, has a dream which suggests or clearly reveals a solution to the problem, and wakes feeling at peace or resigned to his situation. This being so, the entire poem should be understood as having been written after the narrator woke from the dream and so his problem of unrequited love — which he describes as a "sickness" he has suffered from for eight years lines — continues even after the dream. Chaucer would have crafted the piece in this way to highlight the difficulty in moving on from loss.
The Book of the Duchess was written by Geoffrey Chaucer sometime following the death in or of John of Gaunt's first wife Blanche, the Duchess of Lancaster, and features a journey into an imaginative dreamscape where Geoffrey encounters a black knight who has lost a wife named Blanche. - Four dreadful plagues laid England waste in Chaucer's lifetime. Chaucer and his wife, also named Philippa, were both attached to the royal household, and they received an allowance of black cloth for mourning.
Most sources put the date of composition after 12 September when Blanche of Lancaster died and before , with many recent studies privileging a date as early as the end of Overwhelming if disputed evidence suggests that Chaucer wrote the poem to commemorate the death of Blanche of Lancaster , wife of John of Gaunt. The evidence includes handwritten notes from Elizabethan antiquary John Stowe indicating that the poem was written at John of Gaunt's request. There are repeated instances of the word "White", which is almost certainly a play on "Blanche". At the beginning of the poem, the sleepless poet lies in bed, reading a book.