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The Oxford Companion to Chaucer
Douglas Gray


an early poem of Boccaccio's, written in the late 1330s in ottava rima, is the main source of Troilus and Criseyde. In this the story of the lovers Troiolo and Criseida and their friend Pandaro, set in the doomed city of Troy, is told in a vivid narrative, with fine psychological detail. It is an exciting and lyrical work, full of dramatic scenes. Boccaccio hints at parallels with a (probably fictitious) love affair of his own. It provided Chaucer with more than story material; quite clearly, it excited his creative imagination. While keeping the general outline of the plot, he transformed the work completely. Long scenes are added, altering the tempo of the story; the characters of the main personages are differently conceived; the autobiographical and personal hints are replaced by a narrator who purports to be simply a servant of the servants of love, a complex passion which he affects not to comprehend. Comedy is added, but at the same time the philosophical interests of Boccaccio are extended. It is possible that Chaucer also used a French translation of the Italian.


Branca, V. (1964–98) (ed.), Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio (Milan);Find this resource:

    Griffin Nathaniel E. and Myrick, A. B. (1929) (ed. and trans.), Boccaccio Il Filostrato (Philadelphia).Find this resource: