Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto.
                           Heauton Timorumenos 77 (painted on Michel de Montaigne’s study tower’s ceiling)

                        ’Tis sufficient to say, according to the proverb, that here is God’s plenty.
                            John Dryden on Geoffrey Chaucer

                         Dedicated to Lucy Walker, who produced Adelphoe and Phormio in Denver

In the Laurentian Library in Florence are several manuscripts written out in Boccaccio’s hand.  One, Laurentian Pluteo 38.17, is of all Terence’s Comedies. Another, Laurentian Pluteo 54.32, of all Apuleius’ writings.1 (Plut. 38.17 and Plut 54.32 are available virtually at http://teca.bmlonline.it/TecaRicerca/index.jsp.) The marvellous mixture of two excellent African writers, Terence and Apuleius, creates the Decameron in Tuscan Italian. Which in turn creates the “God’s plenty” in Middle English of the Canterbury Tales.  Already, before Giovanni Boccaccio and Geoffrey Chaucer, Dante Alighieri, in the same century, had created the Commedia in Florentine Italian, though in exile from that city whose bread has no salt. Tragedy is about dysfunctional royalty; comedy, instead, is about healing democracy.2 These authors borrow from Terence his circular theatre and they borrow from him his plots, his tales. These authors, copying Terence, play games of dialogue between noble and labourer, between women and men, and even children; they play games of tales within tales, of narrations within narrations, they indulge in Baktinesque and Gospel Magnificat turnings of the world upside down, in which the slaves, women and children come out on top to healing laughter and applause. Such tales like those in Terence manuscripts can end with 'FELICITER' in rainbow capitals.

It should be noted that Terence, the freed African slave associated with the Scipios in Rome, wrote in such pure Latin that his Comedies were used throughout Europe in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to teach that language in monasteries, convents and schools, to both men and women, and especially to children. England possessed one such (ca. 1150 CE), which came to be owned by St Albans Abbey and is now in the Bodleian Library (Auct. F.2.13=27603). It is one of the thirteen illustrated manuscripts from before 1300 that have survived for us; these typically provide the actors’ masks on their rack and often illustrate the plays’ scenes.
3 Later manuscripts could be lavishly illuminated, giving rise to printed books with woodblocks for every scene.

There were two strands to the writing of plays. One was of straight drama. The other came from the law courts of Athens, where logographers trained defendants in trials to make their own speeches—and who to do so astutely studied their clients’ psychology and the context of their crimes in order to present convincingly what was a lie as a convincing alibi. These became Theophrastus’ Characters and Terence’s dramatis personae—and even Brunetto Latino’s examples of law cases in the Athenian, Roman, Byzantine, and Florentine agora in his Rettorica and his Li Livres dou Tresor III.4 A drama articulated a grouping of such character studies, setting the masks, the personae, the characters, as its machinery, in motion.5 The author thus multiplied his voices, his own multiple personalities. Terence’s use of intricate double-plotting created even further complications and ironical conjunctions.

For example, in the Adelphoe, of the two younger pair of brothers, Aeschinus is in love with an Athenian-born Pamphila, who is about to bear a child, while he pretends to seize a flute-girl, procuring her in reality for his love-lorn brother Ctesipho. Sannio is the slave dealer seeking payment for the flute-girl; Geta is the slave appalled at Aeschinus’ seeming betrayal.  The older brothers, Demea, the father of both boys, and Micio, who has adopted the older one, disagree on how to raise them, Demea being severe, Micio lenient. Sostrata, Pamphila’s mother, laments that her wronged daughter has no dowry, and she has only a ring dropped by Aeschinus. All the exchanging and disguising is resolved when the father and uncle switch places: Demea, who had been harsh, becoming too lenient.

The Woman from Andros, like Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale, tells the story of a shipwreck, the father dying, the baby living. Now grown, that child, Glycerium, in turn gives birth to a child, its father’s father Simo preventing the marriage because he believes her to be the sister of a prostitute. Simo arranges instead for Pamphilus to marry Chremes’ daughter, with whom Pamphilus’ friend Charinus is in love. Pamphilus is distraught, nor does the slave Davus’ attempts to resolve the matter help. Crito arrives and identifies Glycerium as the lost niece of Chremes and all ends well with the double wedding of Pamphilus and Glycerium, of Charinus and Chremes’ nameless daughter.

The other four Terentian dramas play similar games with youthful heirs courting brides and concubines, their fathers instead preoccupied with rank and dowries. As if in a quadrille danced at Bath in a Jane Austen novel, the concerns are about class and wealth, in Austen’s time being about getting a living in the Church or a commission in the Army. Jane Austen’s mask is Elizabeth Bennett (Austen=Augustinian; Bennett=Benedictine). Terence’s mask is Geta, the slave, who so skilfully stage manages the whole that all shall be well. Women and slaves outside of power yet speak truth to that power. Here is Geta in Phormio defending himself to Demipho with the argument that he cannot accuse or defend anyone in a court of law: servom hominem causam orare leges non sinunt / neque testimoni dictiost (‘The laws don’t allow a slave to argue a case in court or to give evidence’, 292-93). The endings of both novels and plays then have their protagonists marry and live happily ever after: vos valete et plaudite.

We should not forget that liturgical dramas of scriptural events and of saints’ legends were created in the monasteries, whose libraries contained Terence manuscripts, for the young oblates to act, thereby learning their Latin and their Gregorian chant simultaneously—in play. Among these plays was the Winchester/Fleury Officium Peregrinorum of Luke 24, in which the disguised Christ, with intense dramatic irony, appears as a pilgrim to Luke and Cleopas, who do not recognize him; Jesus then dines with them at the inn at Emmaus, blesses, breaks the bread, and vanishes.7 Other dramas, such as the Resuscitatio Lazari and the Visitatio Sepulchri, movingly use the scarlet-clad figure of Mary Magdalen, in the first with Lazarus, her dying leprous brother. All these dramas were influenced by Terence, whose manuscripts were copied out in monastic scriptoria and treasured in monastic libraries. Their continuation, the vernacular cycle plays for lay audiences enacted by guilds, are also influenced by Terence and explicitly so in those plays written by the Wakefield Master.8

After Chaucer, there would be a flurry of fine illuminated Terence Comedies in Paris, often created to educate the King of France’s sons. Besides the dramatis personae and scenes of the plays these illustrations, both as manuscript illuminations and as woodblock prints, could include a diagram of a theatre, as it was later thought to have been, a structure somewhat like the Globe of Shakespeare’s production or a baroque opera house with the spectators ranged in tiers, the mimes on stage, while Calliopius sings the chorus.9 The 1490, 1493 woodblocks go so far as to show the prostitutes plying their trade outside these theatres, reflecting Plato’s Symposium’s flute girls, the Gospels’ Mary Magdalen, Boethius’ ‘whores of the theatre’, and the ‘red light cum theatre’ districts of Chaucer’s Tabard Inn and Shakespeare’s London Globe Theatre in Southwark and New York’s Forty-Second Street.



I. Terence's Comedies and Dante Alighieri’s Commedia

For his own theatre of Hell, Dante adopts a structure consisting of circle upon circle of sinners in whose crimes he, and we, participate. Their voices create dialogues across time and space. Finally we meet their ‘author’, the ‘father of lies’, enmeshed in icy silence with flapping bats’ wings, seeming like a windmill, amidst giants who seem like towers (Inferno XXXIV). Dante then turns this tragic theatre upside down, or the right way round, as he and his now-lost guide Virgil climb into the Antipodes of Purgatory to find a similar but inverse theatre of comedy, whose actors/spectators interact upon the cornices of a mountain, now facing outward instead of inward, to have Dante arrive at Beatrice, leaving behind Virgil—and tragedy. Ultimately they meet God, the supreme Author of the drama of mankind, the mirror reverse of bat-like Satan, into whose playbook all the ‘God’s Plenty’ of the scattered leaves of the universe are bound and gathered up into one volume (Paradiso XXXIII.85-90, 130-31). God is thus a mirror to Dante’s Terentian motto, homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto.

Dante first has his mirroring authorial protagonist/sorcerer’s apprentice journey through lugubrious Hell, guided by Virgil, the poet of lacrimae rerum, the ‘tears of things’. The pagan world viewed life as tragic, to be confronted with Stoicism or Epicureanism. The ambience of Christendom, instead, saw reality through the lens of mercy, of redemption, honoring the outsider from power. Needing Latin to be kept alive for centuries this now Christian cultural ambience turned naturally to a writer like Terence, who wrote in a living Latin, the Latin of families, the Latin presenting the perspectives of slaves, children, and women, all of whom the Christian Gospels upheld in a similar world upside down. Hrotsvita and Heloise could feel comfortable, at home, within the pages of a Terence manuscript. Dante knew this, but elected even further to write in the vernacular, Florentine, the language which even women and children had by then come to most readily understand in Tuscany (De vulgari eloquentia, I.1). He also shows us this culture of oral literature in Italian of women and children in Paradiso XV.121-26, in a landscape that foretells of Boccaccio’s Fiesolan Decameron:

L’una vegghiava a studio de la culla,
e, consolando, usava l’idioma
che prima i padri e le madri trastulla;
l’altra, traendo a la rocca la chioma,
favoleggiava con la sua famiglia
di’ Troiani, di Fiesole e di Roma.

   One woman watched with loving care the cradle
and, as she soothed her infant, used the way
of speech with which fathers and mothers play;
   another, as she drew threads from the distaff,
would tell, among her household, tales of Trojans,
and tales of Fiesole, and tales of Rome.

In doing so, Dante reflects his teacher Brunetto Latino’s choice of writing in the vernacular. Brunetto’s family came from La Lastra in Fiesole, Brunetto’s father and brother being notaries to the Bishop of Fiesole, the Franciscan Filippo da Perusgia, and with him were involved with embassies to Constantinople, preserving classical humanism in the Middle Ages, which was then taught to Guido Cavalcanti, Francesco da Barberino, and Dante Alighieri. Brunetto translated the classic works of Aristotle and Cicero into French and Italian but did so while also expecting his students to learn to write in a living Latin. Joseph Russo has argued that Dante could have had access to Terence in Verona.11 It is far more likely that Dante alreadsy knew Terence as a school boy studying under Brunetto Latino long before his exile from Florence, in whose libraries can still be found important manuscripts of Terence predating Dante’s time. (Florence’s Laurentian Library, http://teca.bmlonline.it/TecaRicerca/index.jsp has Plut.38.27 and Plut.38.24a; Plut.38.27 being a manuscript of the ninth to eleventh century, which came to be owned by Giannozzo Pucci, for whose wedding Botticelli painted a series of paintings illustrating the Decameron’s Fifth Day’s Eighth Tale, and then by a Medici son).

One can glimpse Dante’s love of Terence in the commentary written by his son, Pietro Alighieri, on the Commedia:

Libri titulus est: Comoedia Dantis Allegherii: et quare sic vocetur, adverta. Antiquitatis in theatro, quod erat area semicircularis, et in ejus medio erat domuncula, quae scena dicebatur, in qua erat pulpitum, et super id ascendebat poeta ut cantor, et sua carmina ut cantiones recitabat, extra vero errant mimi joculatores, carminum pronuntiationem gestu corporis effigiantes per adaptionem ad quem libet, ex cujus persona ipse poeta loquebantur ... et a tale pulpitum seu domunculum, ascendebat poeta, qui de more villico caneret, talis cantus dicebantur comoedia ... Item quod poeta in comoedia debet loqui remisse et non alte, ut Terentius in suis comoediis fecit.12

The title of the book is the Comedy of Dante Alighieri: and pay attention why it is called so. In antiquity in the theatre, which was a semicircular area, in the center of which there was a small edifice, which was called scena, in which was a pulpit, into which climbed the poet or the cantor, in order to recite his song or sing it, outside of which where miming actors, who, as the song was pronounced, adapted the gestures of their bodies to it at will, according to the person concerning whom the poet was speaking ... and into such a pulpit or little edifice the poet ascended from which he sang of common things, therefore such a song was said to be a comedy ... Thus the poet in comedy ought to speak of low things and not high, just as Terence did in his comedies.

For Dante uses the word comedia, as his son states, to mean writing in a humble style. For instance, in the De vulgari eloquentia, he says: deinde in hiis que dicenda occurrunt debemus discretione potiri, utrum tragice, sive comice ... si tragice canenda videntur, tunc assumendum est vulgare illustre ... si vero comice, nunc quandoque mediocre, quandoque humile vulgare sumatur (‘about the possible subject matters of poetry we must have the judgment to understand whether they are to be written about in tragedy or comedy ... If they are to be sung tragically, then the illustrious vernacular is to be used ... Or, if comically, then sometimes the middle level of the vernacular, sometimes the low', II.4). In one of his Epistles (XIII.10), Dante notes that the word comedia signifies ‘rustic song’ (villanus cantus). He add that by nature comedy ‘deals with certain adverse conditions but ends happily, as appears from the comedies of Terence’ (comedia vero inchoat asperitatem alicuius rei, sed eius material prospere terminatur, ut patet per Terentium in suis comediis). Concerning its diction, comedy employs an unstudied and low style (vero remisse et humiliter), and here Dante supports his comments by quoting Horace’ Ars Poetica (93-96). Then he finally justifies the title of his own work:

et per hoc patet quod Comedia dicitur presens opus. nam si ad materiam respiciamus, a principio horribilis et fetida est, quia Infernus, in fine prospera, desiderabilis et grata, quia Paradisus; ad modum loquendi, remissus est modus et humilis, quia locutio vulgaris in qua et muliercule comunicant.

And from this it is clear that the present work is to be described as a comedy. For if we consider the subject-matter, at the beginning it is horrible and foul, as being Hell; but at the close it is happy, desirable, and pleasing, as being Paradise. As regards the style of language, the style is unstudied and lowly, as being in the vulgar tongue, in which even women-folk hold their talk. And hence it, is evident why the work is called a comedy.13

In the Purgatorio, Dante has Statius ask Virgil where Terence is, and Virgil replies that he is in the first circle of Hell, a circle reserved for virtuous pagans like himself:

dimmi dov’è Terenzio nostro antico,
Cecilio, Plauto e Varro, se lo sai;
dimmi se non dannati, ed in quel vico.’
‘Costoro e Persio, ed io, a altri assai,’
rispuose il duco mio, ‘siam con quel Greco
che le Muse lattar più ch’altre mai,
nel primo cinghio del carcere cieco.’ (XXII.97-105)

  ‘Tell me where is our ancient Terence, and Caecilius
and Plautus, where is Varius, if you know;
tell me if they are damned, and in what quarter.’
  ‘All these and Persius, I, and many others,’
my guide replied, ‘are with that Greek to whom
the Muses gave their gifts in greatest measure.
   Our place is the blind prison, its first circle.’

It is with this encounter with the mask of Statius that we first learn overtly that Dante has modeled each encounter of two with a third, as it happens again and again in the Commedia, upon that other drama, the Officium Peregrinorum (Purgatorio XXI.7-9). He equates Statius, the secretly baptized Roman poet, with the disguised Christ, Virgil as the elderly Cleopas, himself as the younger Luke, the omniscient writer of the text, presenting himself as the foolish participant in the text, as one whom Christ in the Gospel chides for being slow and dull of heart not to recognise the Saviour.14 Indeed, the Officium Peregrinorum takes pains to note that an oblate or the abbot is chosen ad representandum Christi. He is not Christ but he acts the role, the mask, the disguise of Christ, further disguised as a pilgrim who is not recognized as Christ. In a similar mode, Dante can play games with real people acted out as masks in a fiction, among them his own teacher, Brunetto Latino, or pagan poets, such as Homer, Virgil, and Statius.

Terence populates his plays with masks of daughters, wives, and prostitutes, with merchants, soldiers, sailors, sons, and fathers, the full spectrum of the social order, as in the prologue of Eunuchus:

qui magis licet currentem servom scribere,
bonas matronas facere, meretrices malas,
parasitum edacem, gloriosum militem,
puerum supponi, falli per servom senem,
amare, odisse, suspicari? (36-40)

How is it more permissible to present a running slave or good matrons or wicked courtesans or a greedy parasite or a boastful soldier or babies being substituted or an old man being deceived by his slave or love or hate or suspicions?

Following the same pattern, Dante adds nuns, monks, and friars, Emperors and Kings, Popes and Cardinals. Dante places these Theophrastian and Terentian characters, modeled upon historical persons within a further machinery, that of teaching Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, acquired for Florence by Brunetto Latino, his Master, who translated the text into the vernacular French and Italian, as well as that of the Gospels and Christ’s world-upside-down parables.

In the Commedia, we listen to dramatic voices, but in Italian, to a dramatic dialogue, as if from a Terence play. We listen to voices which are placed even as if in Terence’s mansions, in the various circles of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Aristotle defines tragedy as a work where the recognition, the anagnorisis, comes too late, whereas in comedy it is timely. In Hell, for instance, the knowledge comes too late, as in the scene with Guido Cavalcanti’s father, in Inferno X.61-72,15 while in Purgatorio and Paradiso, knowledge comes in time for redemption, as with the recognition by Statius of Virgil to Dante’s laughter of delight (Purgatorio XXI.97-136).

Though Dante alludes to Terence’s Comedies in his writings, it has been suggested that he may not have read the plays. The mention of Chremes in Epistola XIII, quoted above, is taken from Horace’s interpretation of Terence. A reference in Inferno XVIII.133-36 to the courtesan Thais, a character in the Eunuchus, shows that Dante’s use of the play may derive from Cicero’s De amicitia, not from the Eunuchus itself;16 Hrotsvita also uses powerfully the figure of Thais from the writings of the Desert Fathers. But, given his arguments that we saw above, concerning Terence’ humble style, we can note the ways in which he switches codes: the poet displays remarkable versatility, from the proud Ghibelline speech, which as logographer he concocts for Farinata in Inferno X, to the common words ‘giri . . . il villan la sua marra’ (‘let the peasant turn his mattock’), about a contadino used in Brunetto Latino’s Inferno XV.96, which echoes the discourse between laboring Menedemus and critical Chremes of the Heauton Timorumenos (53-174).

We can find the Terentian/Gospel hilarity in the account by the Dominican St Thomas Aquinas of the life of the Franciscan founder, St Francis of Assisi. Lady Poverty was wed to Christ, then no one wanted the afflicted widow until St Francis came and married her. Immediately, all his followers hurriedly pursued her, as if she were the village prostitute.17 Giotto or a follower painted that episode in Assisi’s Lower Church: Lady Poverty in rags, gaunt, emaciated, with thorns about her, being married to Francis, the singer of love songs to her.18 Shadowed behind that hilarity are those Terentian episodes of the proud poor maidens who are ultimately revealed to be Athenian citizens with dowries. Boccaccio’s, Petrarch’s, and Chaucer’s Grisilda is shaped in their mould.

  Cassone panel depicting Gualtieri
        and Griselda
Francis weds Povertà                                                  The Marquis weds Griselda, far right

Despite its tragic ending, the real-life story of Piccarda Donati resonates with Terentian comedy. Dante places the Donati family siblings, to whom he was related by his marriage to their cousin Gemma Donati, separately: Corso Donati in Hell (discussed in Purgatorio XXIV.82-87), Forese Donati in Purgatory (Purgatorio XXIII.40-XXIV.25, 74-103), and Piccarda Donati in Paradise (Purgatorio XXIV. 10-15, Paradiso III.16-123). Piccarda’s vocation as a virgin nun was brutally violated by her brother Corso, who kidnapped her from her Clarissan house and forcibly married her off to his associate Rossellino della Tosa. We find her, still faithful to her Vows in spirit in the sphere of the Moon in Paradise.

Ultimately the feliciter of Dante’s text shall be St Bernard’s Hymn to the Virgin, heaping paradox upon paradox, that she is daughter of her son, this pregnant maiden, this madre ragazza, who, as Theotokos, births God in Paradiso XXXIII.1-39, upon whom Dante and his Beatrice, the wife of another, gaze.

The Florence of Dante and Boccaccio put into ethical practice the Seven Acts of Mercy, giving drink to the thirsty, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the stranger, visiting the prisoner, tending the sick, burying the dead, building vast hospitals for pilgrims and for abandoned babies, such as the Buonomini di San Martino, the Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova, the most beautiful Ospedale degli Innocenti, which taught the boys skills and gave the girls dowries, and the Arciconfraternita della Misericordia members, who tend to the sick and dying and who bury the dead, who laid the first stone of the new Duomo seven hundred years ago, and whose feet each Maundy Thursday the Cardinal washes. Those ‘world-upside-down’ structures continue into the present and, side by side with the upstart Medici ascendancy, shaped a Florence which carefully copied out Terence manuscripts. The Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana with its manuscripts of Terence, Apuleius,  Dante and Boccaccio, bound in red kermes leather with horn labels, brass bosses and iron chains anchoring them to reading desks, in Michelangelo’s design for them, was open democratically to the public.

II. Terence's Comedies and Boccaccio’s Decameron

We are not sure of Dante’s actual reading of Terence, though we can be certain of his knowledge of him. We know that Giovanni Boccaccio not only read all of Terence, but he even copied out not only the Commedia of Dante but also all the Comedies of Terence in his own hand, the latter into the manuscript, Laurentian Plut. 38.17 (http://teca.bmlonline.it/TecaRicerca/index.jsp). To create his works, such as the Teseida and the Decameron, Boccaccio blended together classical writers, among them Statius, Apuleius, and Terence, as well as his beloved Dante.

Again, like Dante, he creates tales within tales, making use of the dramatis personae, the rank of masks, of daughters, wives, prostitutes, merchants, soldiers, sailors, sons, and fathers, adding to these masks those of nuns, monks, and friars. The seven women and the three men, who meet in the church of Santa Maria Novella in plague tide, and who then journey with their quarrelling tale-telling servants to the abandoned villas around Fiesole telling ten tales, each day for a fortnight, create thus a hundred tales, mirroring Dante’s hundred cantos of the Commedia. From the midst of tragedy and chaos of the city of Florence during the plague they come to its beauteous countryside and repeat what Dante had already described, of women telling tales while they rocked the cradle and spun the yarn in Fiesole in centuries past. Pampinea, the first Queen to be crowned to preside over the first day, appoints Dioneo’s manservant, Parmeno—from the rotuli of Terence’s plays and racks of masks—to be steward and to organize their lodgings and meals for each day, while Chremes as a name is re-cycled for Boccaccio’s Tenth Day’s Eighth Tale. The voices of Terence, the conversations Dante holds with those whom he encounters in the Cantos, the tales Boccaccio's brigata of ten tell, multiply into the countless dialogues of countless masks within their dramas, ‘God’s Plenty’.

Drama had been seen as therapy in the classical world, especially at the great theatre by Aesculapius’ temple at Epidauros. Similarly the telling of tales is about healing and salvation, as with Scheherazade in a Thousand and One Nights. Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale is a tale much like those in Terence, of abandoned babies restored to their parents. Bruno Bettelheim, survivor of Auschwitz, wrote The Uses of Enchantment, advocating the telling of tales for children.19 Leslie Silko showed how the telling of tales among Native people functions as consolation.20 Germaine Greer in her Guardian essay, ‘Grandmother’s Footsteps’, eloquently advocates the telling of such tales.21 While Stith Thompson22 and Vladimir Propp23 showed how these tales share in specific formulae, as indeed we find is the case in Terence, Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Shakespeare. Nor should we forget a marvelous bit of self-referentiality in Boccaccio’s Sixth Day’s First Tale on how not to tell a tale, particularly in confusing the characters and jumbling the plot, that follows upon the servants’ row, in which Licisca boasts of women’s sexual exploits and infidelities to put down Tindaro. Chaucer will play the same joke with his offending, aborted ‘Sir Thopas’ in the Canterbury Tales. We remember such moments of seeming incompetence and muddle-headedness on stage engineered by the hero-slaves cum author, who save the day and organize the plot in Terence's Comedies and in Luke's Gospel.

Let us now discuss some parallels between Terence’s Comedies and Boccaccio’s Decameron in more detail. In Terence’s Hecyra, Pamphilus, in love with the courtesan Bacchis, is married off to Philumena against his will. She becomes pregnant by him when, in his drunkenness, he rapes her, not knowing who she is, and takes a ring from her by force. To hide her pregnancy she leaves her mother-in-law, Sostrata, and returns to her mother, Myrrina. Laches believes that the marriage breakdown is due to his wife, not to his son. The child is born, and Pamphilus acknowledges his wife and son only when the ring is recognized by Philumena’s mother, Myrrina, through the kindness of Bacchis, the courtesan with the heart of gold. All ends well, even though, as Pamphilus says, in an exception to the rule of comedies (866-69), the parents and his servant ignore the dark secret of his formerly unknown consummation of marriage.

In the second prologue to the play, Terence requests that it inspire others to write to follow suit: mea causa causam accipite et date silentium, / ut lubeat scribere aliis mihique ut discere / novas expediat posthac pretio emptas meo (‘For my sake listen to my plea and grant me silence, so that other authors may be encouraged to write and it may be worth my while in the future to put on new plays bought at my own expense,’ 55-57). Boccaccio indeed retells the story in the Decameron, as does Shakespeare also in All’s Well That Ends Well. In Boccaccio’s Third Day’s Ninth Tale, Neifile, the Queen for that day, recounts the story of the unwilling husband, Count Bertrand of Roussillon, his pregnant wife, Gillette of Narbonne, and a ring. Gillette wins Bertrand as her husband through curing the King of France of a fistula; Bertrand is reluctant and replies to the king that he would never marry a she-doctor. Rejected Gillette then follows Bertrand to Florence where, disguised as a poor pilgrim, she bears him twins. Shakespeare next turns the tale back into a play with Bertrand and Helena/Diana for Philumena and Bacchis in Terence, and doubles the rings: Helena’s is the gift from the king whom she has healed, to exchange with Bertrand’s ancestral one. Then Helena appears on stage not bearing two sons in her arms but heavily pregnant (with twins?). Both Boccaccio and Shakespeare dwell on the Count Roussillon’s snobbishness in not wedding/bedding the low-born Helena, while in both works the King of France disagrees with Roussillon’s arguments, as later would Louis XIV in supporting Molière and his Tartuffe. Shakespeare then ends the play with an epilogue straight out of Terence:

[King] The king’s a beggar, now the play is done.
All is well ended, if this suit be won,
That you express content; which we will pay,
With strife to please you, day exceeding day:
Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts;
Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.
                    Exeunt omnes. (All’s Well, V, Epilogue, 335-40)

But the story of the unwanted wife and the ring in Terence, Boccaccio, and Shakespeare has very ancient roots in drama: a similar literary device is found in ancient Sanskrit drama, with a notable example in Kālidāsa's play Abhijñānaśākuntalam ('The Recognition of Shakuntala'), which is based on an episode from the earlier Indian epic, the Mahabharata. As the title suggests, The Recognition of Shakuntala revolves around the idea of recognition. It tells the story of King Dushyanta who, while on a hunting trip, meets Shakuntala and marries her. A mishap befalls them when he is summoned back to court: Shakuntala, pregnant with their child, inadvertently offends a visiting sage and incurs a curse, by which Dushyanta will forget her completely, until he sees the ring he has left with her. On her trip to Dushyanta’s court in an advanced state of pregnancy, she loses the ring and has to come away unrecognized. The ring is found by a fisherman, who recognizes the royal seal and returns it to Dushyanta, who then regains his memory of Shakuntala and sets out to find her. After more travails, they are finally reunited.

All these versions of the tale, whether in India or in Rome or in Florence or in London, lend themselves to analysis with Stith Thompson’s Folklore Index (1955-58) and Vladimir Propp’s ‘Functions’ (1968): ß = absentation; g = interdiction; d = violation; e = reconnaissance; z = delivery; h = trickery; B = mediation; C = beginning counteraction; ↑= departure; D = first function of the donor (testing or interrogation); E = the hero's reaction; F = provision or receipt of a magical agent [ring/rings]; G = spatial transference between two kingdoms; ↓ = return; O = unrecognized arrival; M = difficult task; N = solution; Q = recognition; W = wedding, concluding with the ‘FELICITER’ of Terence manuscripts.

Emilia tells the Second Day’s Sixth Tale. It is a story in which disaster at first threatens, then it is resolved, much in the manner of The Woman from Andros, with the recognition of a shipwrecked child. Set in the times of Manfred and the Sicilian Vespers, in the landscapes of Lunigiana and Sicily, it has one very moving speech by the lost son, Giannotto/Giusfredi, who is imprisoned for having seduced his host’s daughter. Giannotto/Giusfredi speaks to Currado, father of the girl:

'Currado', he replied, 'neither the lust for power nor the desire for riches nor any other motive has ever led me to harbour treacherous designs against your person or your property. I loved your daughter. I love her still, and I shall always love her, because I consider her a worthy object of my love (amai tua figliuola e amo e amerò sempre, per ciò che degna la reputo del mio amore). And, if in wooing her, I was acting in a manner that would commonly be regarded as dishonourable, the fault I committed  was one which is inseparable from youth (la giovinezza congiunto), In order to eradicate it one would have to do away with youth altogether (che se via si volesse tòrre, converebbe che via si togliesse la giovinezza), Besides it would be considered half so serious as you and many others maintain, if old men would remember that they once were young, and if they would measure other people's shortcomings against their own and vice versa. (se i vecchi si volessero ricordare d’essere stati giovani e gli altrui difetti colli loro misurare e li loro cogli altrui). I committed this fault not as your enemy, but as your friend. It has always been my wish to do what you are now proposing, and if I had thought  your consent would be forthcoming, I would have asked you long ago for your daughter's hand. . . . Send me back to prison and have me treated as you like. Whatever you do to me, I shall always love Spina, and for her sake I shall always love and respect her father' (tanto sempre per amor di lei amerò te e avrotti in reverenza).24

These words epitomize Terence’s arguments in many of his comedies, from Andria to Adelphoe. This is clearly a Terentian sentiment to be echoed also in Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, ‘Wostow nat wel the olde clerkes sawe/ That “who shal geve a lovere any lawe?”’ (I.1163-64).

Terence’s Phormio and the Decameron’s Fifth Day’s Tenth Tale share the joke, in which what is criticized by one participant turns out to be a mirroring wrongdoing, which effectively silences both. Terence’s Phormio would have been better titled the Geta, for he, the slave, is the true hero and resolver of difficulties. He has been left in charge of two sons, Antipho and Phaedria, sons of Demipho and Chremes respectively, two brothers, who are away on business. Demipho returns first, furious that Antipho has married dowryless Phanium, through the parasite Phormio’s ruse that an Athenian citizen left orphaned must be married to her kin. Phaedria is in love with a flute girl, Pamphila, and cannot buy her from her slave-dealer, Dorio. In fact, Chremes/‘Stilpho’ has gone to Lemnos seeking his daughter by a bigamous marriage only to find that she and her mother had already come to Athens where her mother died, leaving Phanium in the care of Sophrona, her old nurse. Geta contrives the price for Pamphila by begging for the dowry for Phanium to marry Phormio. There is wonderful stage business, to be copied by Shakespeare in Winter’s Tale, where Geta tells Antipho and Phormio of overhearing, off-stage, of Chremes telling Demipho of parenting Phanium. Phormio then informs Chremes’ first wife, Nausistrata. She next defends Phaedria’s acquisition of the flute girl on the basis that Chremes had thought he could get away with having two wives.

In Boccaccio’s Fifth Day’s Tenth Tale, told by Dioneo, both wives in Perugia are being unfaithful to their rich elderly husbands. The story ends with Pietro de Vinciolo agreeing to let his wife’s lover share supper with them, and more than that. Likewise in Phormio, Nausistrata invites the parasite to join them at Chremes’ table. A similar tale is found in Boccaccio’s Seventh Day’s Eighth Tale, told again by Neifile, of aged Arriguccio Berlinghetti and his young, unfaithful and noble wife, Sismonda, where again silence is the response and resolution. (Compare this tale with the Fourth Day’s Fifth Tale on Lisabetta/Isabella and the Pot of Basil, mirrored in Keats’ poem on the same and in Pre-Raphaelite Holman Hunt’s painting of his dying pregnant wife,25 which, however, lacks an analogue in Terence but does show the power of these tales to be mirrored/echoed through time, generation upon generation.)

Medieval society had adopted classical society’s priestly celibacy for their clergy. Both Boccaccio and Chaucer give stories concerning scandals of clergy abuse. The Terence play which comes closest to this is the Eunuch. Thais, the courtesan, is given by the captain Thraso (who has a dissolute parasite companion, Gnatho), an Athenian-born girl, who had been raised with her as her sister. Phaedria, who is in love with Thais, presents her the old eunuch Dorus. Chaerea, Phaedria’s brother, in love with Thais’ young ward, disguises himself as a eunuch instead, on the suggestion of the slave Parmeno, and enters the house to seduce the maiden. Chremes, her Athenian brother, then arranges her marriage to Chaerea.

In that play a scene caused Terence’s fellow-Carthaginian Augustine’s concern (City of God 2.7), where Chaerea, the young disguised hero, is sexually aroused through seeing the erotic painting of Danae where Zeus comes to her in a shower of gold. Dante’s rendering of the real-life tale of Paolo and Francesco is in the tragic, though Christian, Arthurian mode and that scene of pornographic adultery does not partake of the imitatio Terentii, except for this scene, so deplored by Augustine, when the pair read together of the story of Lancelot and Guinevere’s adultery against their king and her husband, Arthur, which becomes Inferno V.137’s meretricious line, ‘Galeotto fu il libro e chi lo scrisse’ (‘A Gallehault indeed, that book and he who wrote it, too’).
Boccaccio even draws that scene as well as writing it out in Riccardian 1035:

This engenders further Boccaccio’s:


Here begins the book called Decameron, otherwise known as Prince Galeotto, wherein are contained one hundred stories told in ten days by seven ladies and three young men.

Dante and Boccaccio have combined Terence’s scene from the Eunuch with the Matter of Arthur, where, in the story of Guinevere and Lancelot, their assignation takes place through the machinations of the Prince Gallehault, and in the story of Tristan and Isolde, the boatman who leads that pair astray into adultery is likewise named ‘Gallehault’; Dante’s Inferno V is a ‘Galeotto’ to Paolo and Francesca in Ravenna and even to himself and ourselves. Terence is writing plays for the red-light district; the writers of Arthurian romances, Dante, and Boccaccio are writing ‘pillow books’.

III. Terence's Comedies and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Chaucer never mentions either Terence or Boccaccio, even though he does refer to Dante and Petrarch. Arguably his clearest use of Terence’s Comedies is of the dramatis personae, where the General Prologue presents each pilgrim tale-teller assembled at the Tabard Inn and ambling along the Canterbury road from London. For Chaucer takes up the Boccaccian frame tale of tales being told, marshaling his pilgrims together in a flock, not by the Parson, but by Harry Bailly, the innkeeper of the Tabard, and includes himself amongst their number on the journey to Canterbury. The General Prologue (and especially so in the illuminated Ellesmere Manuscript), thus functions like the Masks upon the Rack, so typical of early illustrated Terence manuscripts, such as that at Oxford (Bodleian Library Auct. F.2.13=27603).


The Table below gives the correspondences between Terence’s characters and Chaucer’s:

Mask Terence, Comedies Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
Meretrix Bacchis, Heutontimorumenos
Thais, Eunuchus
Philotis, Bacchis, Hecrya
Bacchis (muta), Adelphoi
Wife of Bath
Obstetrix Lesbia, Andria
Nutrix Canthara, Heutontimorumenos
Sophrona, Eunuchus
Sophrona, Phormio 

Anus Syra, Hecyra
Canthara, Adelphoi
Wife of Bath
Ancilla Mysis, Andria
Pythias, Eunuchus

Virgo Blycerium (muta), Andria
Antiphila, Heutontimorumenos
Pamphila (muta), Adelphoi
Second Nun
Sostrata, Heutontimorumenos    
Nausistrata, Phormio
Sostrata, Myrrina, Hecyra
Sostrata, Adelphoi
Guildsmen's Wives
Wife of Bath
Servos, Laborator                               
Davos, Byrria, Andria
Syrus, Dromo, Heutontimorumenos                                                                                           
Parmeno, Sanga, Eunuchus
Davos, Geta, Phormio
Parmeno, Sosia, Hecyra
Geta, Parmeno (muto), Adelphoi
Cook; Ploughman; Miller, Reeve; Yoeman; Manciple
Lorarius Dromo, Andria
Leno Dorio, Phormio
Sannio, Adelphoi

Libertus Sosica, Andria Franklin
Merchant, Gildsmen
Puer Dromo, Adelphoi
Adulescens Pamphilus, Charinus, Andria
Clitipho, Clinia, Heutontimorumenos
Phaedria, Chaeria, Chremes, Antipho, Eunuchus
Antipho, Phaedria, Phormio
Pamphilus, Hecyra
Aeschinus, Ctesipho, Adelphoi
Eunuchus Dorus, Eunuchus Monk; Clerk; Pardoner; Summoner; Friar; Nuns' Priest; Canon's Yoeman; Parson
Advocati Hegio, Cratinus, Crito, Phormio Man of Law
Parasitus Gnatho, Eunuchus
Phormio, Phormio

Miles Thraso, Eunuchus Knight
Senex Chremes, Crito, Andria
Chremes, Menedemus, Heutontimorumenos
Demes seu Laches, Eunuchus
Demipho, Chremes, Phormio
Laches, Phidippus, Hecyra
Demea, Hegio, Adelphoi

Harry Bailly, like Calliopus, like Chaucer himself, defies pigeon-holing.

In this arrangement, as had Dante and Boccaccio before him, Chaucer adapts the masks of Classical Latin drama to the divisions of Christian culture which kept aside God’s servants in sexual abstinence, as if eunuchs, and which divided society into the Three Estates of Ploughman, Knight, and Monk, each presented in the General Prologue.26 The Ellesmere Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales27 and the Luttrell Psalter28 are both exquisite—except for the comic faces and distorted bodies of some of their characters. Then one realizes that both illuminators, and also Chaucer himself, were familiar with Terence’s Comedies, in which this is the tradition. Terence, as much as Aristotle, gave medieval culture a mirror in which to view itself, albeit at times a distorting cruel funhouse, a writer’s desk with pigeonholes, a set of mocking masks to don.

The Ellesmere Canterbury Tales Miller

The Luttrell Psalter, Psalm 96, fol. 173

Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde based on Boccaccio’s Filostrato is magnificently illustrated in the Cambridge Corpus Christi College manuscript, with Chaucer in a pulpit structure, a domuncula, preaching the tale to his king, Richard II, who is clad in cloth of gold, and to his court; behind them can be seen the scene of the prisoner exchange of the tale.

          Vision Print

In a word, it is constructed as the Middle Ages perceived Terence’s theatre to be with Chaucer as Calliopus.

The Canterbury Tales
is also filled with references to drama, to theatre. The Knight’s Tale, based on Boccaccio’s Teseida, combines both tragedy and comedy. Its tale of two young men, cousins, in love with the same maiden, is resonant of many Terentian plots./30 Arcita is tragically killed following his victorious duel/tournament played out in an elaborate theatre built by Theseus, structured like a windrose, a compass, where the mansions become temples, replete with intense allegorical meanings (CT KT I.1885-1892), while Palamon lives and marries Emelye, following the funeral games, ‘Ne how the Grekes pleye / the wake pleyes’ (I.2959-60). We recall that two of Terence’s plays, Hecyra and Adelphoe, were performed at the funeral games for Lucius Aemilius Paulus. This classic construct is echoed in medieval plays in England, such as the Castle of Perseverance, where the domunculus becomes a castle,29 and in the Cornish dramas30.


The Miller’s Tale machinery involves the play of Herod and the Noah play (I.3384, I.3513-82). The Wife of Bath enjoys going ‘to playes of myracles’ (III.558). While the Franklin’s Tale plays with the subtle and noble theatre of dinner entertainments, of ships seeming to sail on oceans and hunting scenes (V.1141-50, 1189-1204), evocative of Boccaccio’s Fifth Day, Eighth Tale, painted by Botticelli for the wedding of Giovanozzo Pucci.

        Botticelli 076.jpg


        Botticelli 075.jpg

Chaucer, though he never mentions Boccaccio, is Boccaccio in English. He rewrites Boccaccio’s Filostrato as Troilus and Criseyde and Boccaccio’s (Statius’) Teseida as his Knight’s Tale.31 the first story of the Canterbury Tales. Chaucer thus creates of the Canterbury Tales a sequel as it were, a copy, of Boccaccio’s Decameron. In addition to Chaucer’s intertextual relationship with Boccaccio and thus with Terence, there are his acknowledged debts to Dante and to Petrarch: the Wife of Bath (CT III.1125-1130) uses Dante’s Convivio (IV.iii), to argue that ‘gentilesse’ is not from the hereditary nobility but accessible to all through the practice of virtue, an argument also found in Boethius, and influenced by both Terence and the Gospels; the Friar’s Tale against the Summonour (CT III.1520) mentions Dante; the Monk (CT VII.2407-2462) retells Dante’s infernal tale of Ugolino of Pisa (Inferno XXXIII.1-90), and the Second Nun (CT VIII.36-49) translates Paradiso XXXIII,1-39’s invocation to the ‘Mayde and Mooder, doghter of thy Sone’. Chaucer passes off Boccaccio’s final tale of the Decameron as Petrarch’s, for Petrarch had admired it so much that he had translated it into Latin, concealing its true source; Chaucer gave it to his Clerk of Oxenforde to tell (CT V.31-33, 1147-48).

To discuss the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales is to understand the second as using analogues of the first, rather than as considering the Decameron as an open source. The Hundred Tales of the Decameron veer from courtly romance to raucous fabliau; and so do the Canterbury Tales. In addition, we see in Chaucer the legends of saints and the kind of moral and allegorical romance, found in the pages of the Golden Legend and the Gesta Romanorum. The Miller’s, Reeve’s, and Cook’s Tales are more fabliaux than romance, more Boccaccio than Terence. The Miller’s Tale is of a January/May marriage, and so is that of the Merchant. In Boccaccio, this pattern even becomes the tale of the Tenth Day’s Fifth Story, where the Lady asks the would-be lover for the miracle of a May garden in January, which will become the Franklin’s Tale, given a local habitation and a name in Brittany.

But let us pass over the parallels between Boccaccio and Chaucer in this chapter on Terence’s influence upon both of them, and instead delight in the fullness of all these authors, their humanity, their celebration of diversity. E. E. Cummings best caught the Terentian aspects of boundary transgression, of pyramid busting, of pilgrimage liminality, in Chaucer’s great comedy:

honour corruption villainy holiness
riding in fragrance of sunlight (side by side
all in a singing wonder of blossoming yes
riding) to him who died that death should be dead

humblest and proudest eagerly wandering
(equally all alive in miraculous day)
merrily moving through sweet forgiveness of spring
(over the under the gift of the sky

knight and ploughman pardoner wife and nun
merchant frère clerk somnour miller and reve
and Geoffrey and all) come up from the never of when
come into the now of forever come riding alive

down while crylessly drifting through vast most
nothing’s own nothing children go of dust.32

Let me also end with a fine aphorism in a Florentine Humanist Terence manuscript, now in the British Library, that can embrace all our writers, Terence, Luke, Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Shakespeare: quid est comedia, comedia est imitatio vite, speculum consuetudinis et imago veritatis (London, British Library, Harley 2526, formerly owned by Randulphi de Ricasoli of Florence).


Editions and translations used in this essay are: Terence,
Publius Terenti Afer, Comoediae recognovervnt brevique adnotatione critica instrvxerunt, ed. Robert Kauert and Wallace M. Lindsay (Oxford: Clarendon, 1979) Oxford Classical Texts; The Lady of Andros, The Self-Tormentor, The Eunuch. Sargeaunt, J, trans. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986) Loeb Classical Library 22; Phormio, The Mother-in-Law, The Brothers, trans. J. Sargeaunt (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983) Loeb Classical Library 23; Dante Alighieri, La Commedia secondo l'antica vulgata (Mondadori, Milan, 1966); Tutte le opere, ed.Luigi Blasucci, Luigi, ed. (Florence, Sansoni, 1987); The Divine Comedy, trans. Allen Mandelbaum (New York: Bantam, 1902-1986); Giovanni Boccaccio, Opere, ed. Cesare Segre (Milan: Mursia, 1978); The Decameron, trans. C.H. McWilliam, (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991); Geoffrey Chaucer, The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Benson, Larry D. Benson and F.N. Robinson (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1987); William Shakespeare, The Complete Works. ed. Hardin Craig and David Bevington (Glenview: Scott, Foresman, 1973).

Italian Humanist manuscripts of Terence derive from Angelo Poliziano’s copy, Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze, Banco Rari 97, made from the fifth-century Vatican 3226 Bembino manuscript in rustic capitals.
Victor Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Antistructure (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968) discusses pilgrimage and liminality which can be applied equally well to comedy, in particular to Terence, in which social distinctions are annihilated, as in Moliere’s Tartuffe where the maidservant Dorine saves the day, and likewise the butler in James M. Barrie’s The Admirable Crichton.
3 Oxford, Bodleian Library
Auct. F.2.13=27603, is published in Major Treasures in the Bodleian Library: Medieval Manuscripts in Microform, 9, ed. W.O. Halsall (Oxford, 1978),  and discussed in Otto Pächt and J.J.G. Alexander, Illuminated Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981), III.16; Leslie Webber Jones and C.R. Morey, The Miniatures of the Manuscripts of Terence Prior to the Thirteenth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1913).
Julia Bolton Holloway, Twice-Told Tales: Brunetto Latino and Dante Alighieri (Berne: Peter Lang, 1993), 259-85.
Mary Hatch Marshall, 'Boethius’ Definition of Persona and Medieval Understanding of the Roman Theater', Speculum 26 (1950), 471-82.
Sir William Empson, ‘Double Plots,’ Some Versions of Pastoral (New York: New Directions, 1960), 27-88.
7 Julia Bolton Holloway, The Pilgrim and the Book: A Study of Dante, Langland and Chaucer (Berne: Peter lang,
1995), 27-55.
The Towneley Plays. (1897) England, George F., ed. Early English Text Society, Oxford. EETS 71.
9 Millard Meiss, French Painting in the time of Jean de Berry: The Limbourgs and their Contemporaries (Braziller, New York, 1974) passim and plates 7, 19, 63-64, 171-199, 201-221, 226-227, 230.
10 Arthur M. Hind, An Introduction to the History of Woodcut. (New York: Dover, 1963); Pierre Courcelle, La Consolation de philosophie dans la tradition littéraire, antécedents et posterité de Boèce (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1967).
11 Joseph Russo, 'Did Dante Know Terence?', Italica 24 (1947), 217.
12 Pietro Alighieri, Commentum di Pietro Alighieri nelle redazioni ashburnhamiana e ottoboniana, eds. Roberto Della Vedova, Roberto e Maria Teresa Silvotti (Florence: Olschki, 1978), pp. 8-9.
13 Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia
, in Tutte le opere, ed. Luigi Blasucci (Florence: Sansoni, 1981).
14 Holloway, The Pilgrim and the Book: A Study of Dante, Langland and Chaucer (Berne: Peter Lang, 1987), pp. 27-84.
15 Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, trans. Willard Trask (Garden City: Doubleday, 1957), pp. 151-177.
16 Russo, p. 212.
17 Auerbach, 'St. Francis of Assisi in Dante’s ‘Commedia’, Scenes from the Drama of European Literature (New York: Meridian, 1959), pp. 79-98.
Meiss, Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death: The Arts, Religion and Society in the Mid-Fourteenth Century, (New York: Harper and Row, 1973), p. 109, fig. 102.
Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (New York: Random House, 1977).
Leslie Silko, 'Language and Literature from the Pueblo Perspective', Tales within Tales: Apuleius through Time, ed. Constance S. Wright and Julia Bolton Holloway (New York: AMS Press, 2000), pp. 141-156.
Germaine Greer, ‘Grandmother’s Footsteps’, Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/may/15/germaine-greer-old-wives-tales).
Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk Literature. A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folktales, Ballads, Myths, Fables, Mediaeval Romances, Exempla, Fabliaux, Jest- Books and Local Legends (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976), 6 vols.
Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folktale, trans. Laurence Scott (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).
Giovanni Boccaccio, Opere, ed. Cesare Segre (Milan: Mursia, 1963-78), pp. 116-17; Decameron, trans. G.M. McWilliam (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1995), pp. 119-120.
25 William Holman Hunt buried his wife Fanny in Florence's 'English' Cemetery, in a tomb he sculpted for her.
Georges Duby, The Three Orders: Feudal Society Imagined, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Jill Mann, Chaucer's Medieval Estates Satire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973).
27 Theo Stemmler, The Ellesmere Miniatures of the Canterbury Pilgrims (Mannheim: University of Mannheim, 1977), Poetria Mediaevalis 2.
28 Janet Backhouse, ed. The Luttrell Psalter (London: British Library, 1989).
39 David Anderson, Before the Knight’s Tale: Imitation of Classical Epic in Boccaccio’s Teseida (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988).
30 David Bevington, The Macro Plays: The Castle of Perseverance, Wisdom, Mankind: A Facsimile Edition with Facing Transcriptions (Washington, DC: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1972).
Richard Southern, The Medieval Theatre in the Round (London: Faber and Faber, London, 1957); Markham Harris, The Cornish Ordinalia. A Medieval Dramatic Trilogy (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1969).
32 E.E. Cummings, Complete Poems, 1904-1962, ed. George J. Firmage (New York: Liveright, 1991), 52, p. 661.

Go to:

Brunetto Latino and Dante Alighieri
I Bankers and Their Books: Italian Manuscripts in French Exile
II Brown Ink, Red Blood: Brunetto Latino and the Sicilian Vespers
III The Vita Nuova's Pilgrimage Paradigms
IV Stealing Hercules' Club: Inferno XXV's Metamorphoses  

Geoffrey Chaucer
V Black and Red Letter Chaucer
VI Fact and Fiction: Women in Love
VII Convents, Courts and Colleges
VIII The Tomb of the Duchess Alice

Terence, Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Shakespeare
IX God's Plenty: Terence in Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Shakespeare Newest

Epilogue: Attica State Prison, Boethius the Exile, Dante the Pilgrim

This is a Chapter from the Book, Sweet New Style: Brunetto Latino, Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer, created, 1993; 'Sweet New Style' e-book Website created, Pentecost 2003-10


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