Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.
Poetry Creation as Space of Union between Natural and Supernatural: A Reading of The House of Fame
Cosmos, planets and astrology occupy a significant place in medieval dream poems, which have been analysed as models of cosmological dream allegories, supernatural voyages, and intellectual journeys exploring the universe. The dreamer often soars above the Earth acquiring a privileged view of the Earth and the Cosmos. However, it seems to me that similarities between the ascending structure of some medieval literary works and the mystical ascent towards the mystical marriage with the Divine has been overlooked.
In this paper I will examine Chaucer's The House of Fame. After reviewing the stages recognized by medieval mystics to seek mystical union with the Divine, I will identify specific linguistic markers employed by Chaucer, taken from the language of mysticism, which serve as signposts for the dreamer's ascent to the sky. I will then illustrate how the dream mirrors the mystical journey, how the Introduction of the poem can be interpreted as a microcosm and the three books of the poem as macrocosm.
I will argue, finally, that the ascent of the dreamer-poet to the sky to the House of Fame represents the poet bridging the material and the supernatural, Earth and Heaven - and that the dreamer-poet's possible 'stellification' symbolizes that poetry is a sacred space in which this union becomes possible.