Choreographing Lust and Love: Chaucer’s Pandarus

  • Gretchen Mieszkowski
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Like a matrix, or the warp and weft of a tapestry, or the streets and avenues of a city laid out on a grid, the go-betweens for idealized love and the go-betweens for lust and sexual conquest underlie Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (1385–86). As Chaucerians will recognize at once, Chaucer’s Pandarus is an anomalous aberration from this sharply bifurcated Western medieval tradition. Differentiated as these two types of go-betweens had been for nearly three centuries, Pandarus belongs to both types at once. He is as deeply rooted in the rich intertextuality of the go-betweens for idealized love as he is in the equally rich intertextuality of the go-betweens for lust—a virtual contradiction in terms. The Latin comic tale, fabliau, novella, and exemplum, the genres in which the go-betweens for lust are most often found, participate in wholly different views of the world than the romances, and yet Pandarus is the outgrowth of both.


Love Affair Love Story Romance Convention Canterbury Tale Courtly Love 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Larry D. Benson, “Courtly Love and Chivalry in the Later Middle Ages,” in Fifteenth-Century Studies: Recent Essays, ed. Robert F. Yeager (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1984), p. 240 [237–57].Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Mary Hamel, “The Franklin’s Tale and Chrétien de Troyes,” Chaucer Review 17.4 (1983): [316–31].Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Eleanor Prescott Hammond, ed., “The Chance of the Dice,” Englische Studien 59 (1925): 9 [1–16],Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    John Hill, “Aristocratic Friendship in Troilus and Criseyde: Pandarus, Courtly Love and Ciceronian Brotherhood in Troy,” in New Readings of Chaucer’s Poetry, ed. Robert G. Benson and Susan J. Ridyard (Cambridge, UK: D.S. Brewer, 2003), pp. 165–82.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Karl Young, The Origin and Development of the Story of Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer Society, 2nd Series 40 (London: Kegan Paul, 1908).Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    William George Dodd, Courtly Love in Chaucer and Gower, Harvard Studies in English 1 (Boston: Ginn, 1913), p. 147.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Albert C. Baugh, ed., Chaucer’s Major Poetry (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1963), p. 80.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Paolo Savj-Lopez, “Il filostrato di G. Boccaccio,” Romania 27 (1898): 468–69 [442–79].Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    Laura F. Hodges, “Sartorial Signs in Troilus and Criseyde,” Chaucer Review 35.3 (2001): 231 [223–58].Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    Richard W. Fehrenbacher, “ ‘Al that which chargeth nought to seye’: The Theme of Incest in Troilus and Criseyde” Exemplaria 9.2 (1997): 344 [341–69].Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    Richard E. Zeikowitz, Homoeroticism and Chivalry: Discourses of Male Same-Sex Desire in the 14th Century (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 134–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 22.
    Steven R. Guthrie, “Chivalry and Privacy in Troilus and Criseyde and La Chastelaine de Vergy,” Chaucer Review 34.2 (1999): 150, 154, 167, 172 [150–73].Google Scholar
  13. 33.
    C. David Benson, Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990), p. 120.Google Scholar
  14. 34.
    Peter Christmas, “Troilus and Criseyde: The Problems of Love and Necessity,” Chaucer Review 9.4 (1975): 286 [285–96].Google Scholar
  15. 35.
    Carolyn Dinshaw, “Readers in/of Troilus and Criseyde,” Yale journal of Criticism 1.2 (1988): 87 [81–105].Google Scholar
  16. 36.
    John P. Hermann, “Gesture and Seduction in Troilus and Criseyde,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 7 (1985): 107–35,Google Scholar
  17. 41.
    Carolyn Dinshaw, Chaucer’s Sexual Poetics (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), pp. 28, 37–38.Google Scholar
  18. 45.
    Sealy Gilles, “Love and Disease in Chaucer’s Troiius and Criseyde,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 25 (2003): 191 [157–97].Google Scholar
  19. 47.
    Elaine Tuttle Hansen, Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), pp. 12–13, 20.Google Scholar
  20. 49.
    James I. Wimsatt, “Medieval and Modern in Chaucer’s Troiius and Criseyde” PMLA 92.2 (1977): 208 [203–16].Google Scholar
  21. 55.
    Tison Pugh, “Queer Pandarus? Silence and Sexual Ambiguity in Chaucer’s Troiius and Criseyde,” Philological Quarterly 80.1 (2001): 18 [17–35].Google Scholar
  22. 59.
    T.A. Stroud, “The Palinode, the Narrator, and Pandarus’s Alleged Incest,” Chaucer Review 27.1 (1992): 23 [16–30].Google Scholar
  23. 61.
    John V. Fleming, “Deiphoebus Betrayed: Virgilian Decorum, Chaucerian Feminism,” Chaucer Review 21.2 (1986): 188 [182–99].Google Scholar
  24. 62.
    James F. Maybury, “Pandarus and Criseyde: The Motif of Incest in Chaucer’s Troilus,” Xavier Review 2 (1982): 82–89.Google Scholar
  25. 64.
    Sarah Stanbury, “The Voyeur and the Private Life in Troilus and Criseyde” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 13 (1991): 155 [141–58].Google Scholar
  26. 69.
    Ida L. Gordon, The Double Sorrow of Troilus: A Study of Ambiguities in Troilus and Criseyde (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), pp. 115–16.Google Scholar
  27. 70.
    Elizabeth Salter, “Troilus and Criseyde: A Reconsideration,” in Patterns of Love and Courtesy: Essays in Memory of C.S. Lewis, ed. John Lawlor (London: Arnold, 1966) pp. 99–100 [86–106].Google Scholar
  28. 76.
    Laurie A. Finke and Martin B. Shichtman, ed., “intro.,” Medieval Texts & Contemporary Readers (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987), p. 9 [1–11].Google Scholar
  29. 81.
    Barry Windeatt, Troilus and Criseyde: Oxford Guides to Chaucer (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 148.Google Scholar
  30. 83.
    Gayle Margherita, “Criseyde’s Remains: Romance and the Question of Justice,” Exemplaria 12.2 (2000): 261 [257–92].CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Gretchen Mieszkowski 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gretchen Mieszkowski

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations