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This article analyzes Chaucer’s Complaint Unto Pity within the current renewed interest in form and English-French literary relations. I argue that a knowledge of medieval French poetic conventions reveals an interplay between form and meaning in Pity that would have been obvious in its original fourteenth-century bilingual Ricardian setting, but which is overlooked in modern readings. By exaggerating and twisting multiple components of the French love literature tradition, Chaucer creates a poem that is simultaneously both a clever critique and a loving homage of complaint.
Playing the Game of Love explores the Findern manuscript, a late medieval scrapbook created by gentry families in Derbyshire. The manuscript contains both excerpts of Chauceriana and also poetic responses to those texts written by its readers. As the only surviving Middle English miscellany that contains both sources and substantial responses, the Findern gives us a unique opportunity to see those source texts "doing" what they were written to do—provoking responses to their embedded love questions and debates. My investigation of these intertextual connections reveals a wealth of playfully irreverent, as well as heartfelt, connections. Rather than showing fin'amor to be a matter between two lovers, these late medieval gentry responses show it to be the foundation of a cultural "game of love" that privileges social reading and verbal debate.