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John Gower, Trilingual Poet


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John Gower wrote in three languages - Latin, French, and English - and their considerable and sometimes competing significance in fourteenth-century England underlies his trilingualism. The essays collected in this volume start from Gower as trilingual poet, exploring Gower's negotiations between them - his adaptation of French sources into his Latin poetry, for example - as well as the work of medieval translators who made Gower's French poetry available in English. "Translation" is also considered more broadly, as a "carrying over" (its etymological sense) between genres, registers, and contexts, with essays exploring Gower's acts of translation between the idioms of varied literary and non-literary forms; and further essays investigate Gower's writings from literary, historical, linguistic, and codicological perspectives. Overall, the volume bears witness to Gower's merit and his importance to English literary history, and increases our understanding of French and Latin literature composed in England; it also makes it possible to understand and to appreciate fully the shape and significance of Gower's literary achievement and influence, which have sometimes suffered in comparison to Chaucer.

Elisabeth Dutton is Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford.

Contributors: Elisabeth Dutton, Jean Pascal Pouzet, Ethan Knapp, Carolyn P. Collette, Elliot Kendall, Robert R. Edwards, George Shuffleton, Nigel Saul, David Carlson, Candace Barrington, Andreea Boboc, Tamara F. O'Callaghan, Stephanie Batkie, Karla Taylor, Brian Gastle, Matthew Irvin, Peter Nicholson, J.A. Burrow, Holly Barbaccia, Kim Zarins, Richard F. Green, Cathy Hume, John Bowers, Andrew Galloway, R.F. Yeager, Martha Driver


Presents new information about Gower's work and raises new provocative questions. . It is an excellent addition to the growing scholarship. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND GERMANIC PHILOLOGY

The level of critical energy, enterprise, and imagination generally on show in this collection of essays is exceptionally high, and it significantly advances studies of Gower's whole corpus. MEDIUM AEVUM

[A] notable contribution to the study of Gower, who emerges here as an erudite and wide-ranging poet in Latin, French, and English. STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER

Making available new work by well-known scholars as well as fresh contributions by younger scholars, the collection yields abundant proof, if proof were needed, of the ongoing vitality of Gower studies. [...] There is no doubt about the value of this collection. These essays represent the current flourishing state of Gower studies. MEDIEVAL REVIEW


First Published: 16 Sep 2010
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843842507
8 black and white illustrations
Pages: 370
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: D.S.Brewer

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Introduction. John Gower: Readings in the Work of a Trilingual Poet
  • 2  Southwark Gower - Augustinian Agencies in Gower's Manuscripts and Texts - Some Prolegomena
  • 3  The Place of Egypt in Gower's Confessio Amantis
  • 4  Topical and Tropological Gower: Invoking Armenia in the Confessio Amantis
  • 5  Saving History: Gower's Apocalyptic and the New Arion
  • 6  Gower's Poetics of the Literal
  • 7  Romance, Popular Style, and the Confessio Amantis: Confict or Evasion?
  • 8  John Gower: Prophet or Turncoat?
  • 9  The Parliamentary Source of Gower's Cronica Tripertita and Incommensurable Styles
  • 10  John Gower's Legal Advocacy and "In Praise of Peace"
  • 11  Se-duction and Sovereign Power in Gower's Confessio Amantis book V
  • 12  The Fifteen Stars, Stones, and Herbs: book VII of the Confessio Amantis and its Afterlife
  • 13  "Of the parfite medicine": Merita Perpetuata in Gower's Vernacular Alchemy
  • 14  Inside Out in Gower's Republic of Letters
  • 15  Gower's Business: Artistic Production of Cultural Capital and the Tale of Florent
  • 16  Genius and Sensual Reading in the Vox Clamantis
  • 17  Irony v. Paradox in the Confessio Amantis
  • 18  Sinning against Love in Confessio Amantis
  • 19  The Woman's Response in John Gower's Cinkante Balades
  • 20  Rich Words: Gower's Rime Riche in Dramatic Action
  • 21  Florent's mariage sous la potence
  • 22  Why did Gower write the Traitié?
  • 23  Rival Poets: Gower's Confessio and Chaucer's Legend of Good Women
  • 24  Reassessing Gower's Dream Visions
  • 25  John Gower's French and His Readers
  • 26  Conjuring Gower in Pericles
  • 27  Bibliography