The Catholic University of America


 Rachel Moore's Response

Questions on "A Love that Bears No Fruit: Aubades and Unnatural Love in Troilus and Criseyde"


Question #1

What first motivated you to submit to Inventio, and having gone through the process as an author has your perspective on academic writing changed in any way, if so how?


Everything Chaucer is just too delightfully frustrating for me to keep to myself, and when I came across the aubades in Troilus and Criseyde during my ENG 352 class, they stood out to me so much that I just had to say something about them. I was happy to find out in my research that there's already a conversation going about the aubades in Chaucerian scholarship. Speaking of this "conversation," the publication process for Inventio has taught me that that's what scholarship is all about in the end--a conversation, a dialogue about ideas rather than an assertion that this-is-this or that-is-that. I think this is especially important to keep in mind with Chaucer. Even after 600 years, we haven't come to a clear answer about what exactly he's trying to say throughout his works (but knowing a clear answer would take all the fun out of reading him)! On another note, I think what Chaucer has to say about the dangers of unnatural love may be relevant today--just think of dating apps and The Bachelor. Would Chaucer call these things organic at all? Should we still direct our love to operate in accordance with nature, the cosmos, and religion?


Question #2

In your essay, you cite Dante and Boethius as influencing Chaucer’s assertion that love should coincide with nature, the cosmos, and religion. Why do you believe these authors influenced Chaucer and where do you see evidence of their influence in his work?


The simple answer is: they just did. In fact, we find echoes of Dante and Boethius throughout plenty of medieval literature by the mere fact that they had such a huge impact shaping the medieval mind. We see similar echoes all throughout Chaucer's work in the language and themes he borrows from the authors (yes, "borrows"--the medieval mind had a different idea about plagiarism than we have today). One of my favorite instances of Chaucer's “borrowing” occurs in Canticus Troili in Book III of Troilus and Criseyde. I elaborate more on this in my paper, but here Chaucer is essentially reproducing Boethius' words on cosmic order from The Consolation of Philosophy in Troilus' song: "‘Love, tht of erthe and see hath governaunce

Love, that his hestes hath in hevene hye,

Halt peples joined, as him list hem gye,

Love, that knetteth lawe of companye,

And couples doth in vertu for to dwelle,

Bind this accord, that I have told and telle” (III, 1744-49).




Question #3


Throughout your paper, you posit cupidity and charity as opposites; is it possible for a love to be both cupidinous and charitable?


When I see cupidinous, I think "selfish," and when I see charitable, I think "selfless." It's an interesting question, but I think the more pressing question Chaucer explores throughout his work is whether or not love can be both erotic and charitable. Can passion and charity coexist in a romantic relationship?