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The image of the blind cupid in dream-vision poems in the late fourteenth, fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in England

Richard John Cupich, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The image of the blind Cupid is central in a number of dream-vision poems of the late fourteenth, fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in England. Allusions to the love-god, traced to Ovid and Virgil, have been interpreted by the twelfth and thirteenth-century mythographers as a metaphor for erotic love. This erotic allusion emerges in earlier French influences, such as The Romance of the Rose. The theme of the blind Cupid then carries into the literature within this time frame to be discussed in this dissertation, including Chaucer's "The Hous of Fame," Clanvowe's "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale," Lydgate's "The Temple of Glas," James the First of Scotland's The Kingis Quair, and Dunbar's "The Goldyn Targe." These dream-vision poems are interrelated in a number of ways. They disclose a dialectic between the misdirected dreamer and the personifications of his vision. All allegorize an erotic realm in the dream-vision, such as a crystal castle or firmament in the sky. The concupiscent and arbitrary properties of the blind Cupid can emerge in other mythical figures such as Apollo, Fame, Fortune, and characters in The Romance of the Rose. Lastly, many references to Romance and inverted allusions to the Bible underscore the self-derision in the dreamers' erotic accounts as a victim of the blind Cupid. These interrelationships under the family of dream-vision poems, which allude to quite similar sources, serve to provide a deeper understanding of the authors' designs. Each of these poetic accounts works to provide the learned readers with the necessary allusions to the blind Cupid in order to unveil the authors' moral intentions.

Subject Area

Literature|Middle Ages|British and Irish literature

Recommended Citation

Cupich, Richard John, "The image of the blind cupid in dream-vision poems in the late fourteenth, fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in England" (1992). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9225467.
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI9225467

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