The Legend of Good Women is - apart from The Canterbury Tales - Chaucer's most accomplished attempt of a collection of stories linked by a narrative frame. The poem is unfinished and the Prologue occurs in two versions, traditionally referred to as F and G. The main sources are Ovid's Heroides and Boccaccio's De Claribus Mulieribus and his Vitae Virorum et Feminarum Illustrium. Chaucer composed the poem between 1372 and 1386, although one version of the Prologue may have been written as late as 1394.

The poem opens with one of Chaucer's famous reflections on the relation of authority and experience, which is followed by a passage in praise of the daisy.

Then the narrator establishes the conventional scene of the May morning and falls asleep. He dreams that he encounters the God of Love and his Queen, Lady Alceste. The dreamer is rebuked of having composed anti-feminist poems and promises to make amends with this poem in praise of women.

The nine stories that follow are those of Cleopatra, Thisbe, Dido, Hypsipyle and Medea, Lucrece, Ariadne, Philomela, Phyllis, and Hypermnestra.

The poem is interesting as such, but even more challenging is its relation to The Querelle de la Rose fought at Paris some years later with Christine de Pizan being one of the most prominent contestants.

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The Legend of Good Women