Chaucer, Gower and Lydgate were the three poets of their time considered to have founded the English poetic tradition. Gower, like Lydgate, eventually fell victim to changing tastes but is now enjoying renewed scholarly attention. Current work in manuscript studies, linguistic studies, vernacularity, translation, politics, and the contexts of literary production has found a rich source in Gower's trilingual, learned, and politically engaged corpus. This Companion to Gower offers essays by scholars from Britain and North America, covering Gower's works in all three of his languages; they consider his relationships to his literary sources, and to his social, material and historical contexts; and they offer an overview of the manuscript, linguistic, and editorial traditions. Five essays concentrate specifically on the Confessio Amantis, Gower's major Middle English work, reading it in terms of its relationship to vernacular and classical models, its poetic style, and its treatment of such themes as politics, kingship, gender, sexuality, authority, authorship and self-governance. A reference bibliography, arranged as a chronology of criticism, concludes the volume.
Contributors J.A. BURROW, ARDIS BUTTERFIELD, NATHALIE COHEN, E.H. COOPER, SIAN ECHARD, ROBERT EPSTEIN, JOHN HINES, EDWARD MOORE, DEREK PEARSALL, RUSSELL PECK, A.G. RIGG, SIMON ROFFEY, JEREMY J. SMITH, DIANE WATT, WINTHROP WETHERBEE, ROBERT F. YEAGER.
SIAN ECHARD is associate professor, Department of English, University of British Columbia.
The Companion can serve as an introduction to Gower and his works for the advanced undergraduate or graduate student, and the essays will also be of interest to experts in Middle English studies and in Gower.
A welcome addition to the shelf of essay collections on Gower, in large part because of its scope. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND GERMANIC PHILOLOGY
The reader will come away with an enriched sense of Gower's true place in the history of English literature.... Eminently readable...Highly Recommended. CHOICE A place to begin work on this poet, to consider and reconsider his considerable achievement - processes which are facilitated by the helpful chronology of Gower criticism appended to this book. NOTES & QUERIES