Gower Bibliography

'Unkynde abhomynaciouns' in Chaucer and Gower

Goodall, Peter. "'Unkynde abhomynaciouns' in Chaucer and Gower." Parergon 5 (1987), pp. 94-102.


In expressing his distaste for "unkynde abhomynaciouns" in his introduction, ML distinguishes his tale from stories like "Apollonius of Tyre." The distinction results in a peculiar distortion of the Apollonius story, in which the brief episode of incest at the beginning is overshadowed by the lengthy account of the power of "kynde" in the adventures of the hero. It also draws attention to a feature of the traditional Constance story that ML suppresses, the father's incestuous desire for his daughter which both motivates the ensuing action and gives sense to the many variations of parent-child relations throughout the tale. MLT is marked by this attempt to suppress that which ML finds repugnant but also by the repeated reassertion of the incest theme in subtle but ironic ways. Gower's version exhibits no such preoccupation. Unlike ML, Gower directly links his "Constance" to his "Apollonius": in addition to the remarkable similarities in plot, he emphasizes in both the power of "kinde love" that draws father to daughter at the end, and he uses almost the same words to describe the two reunions (CA 2.1381-82; 8.1707-8). Like Chaucer, Gower was probably aware of the incest motive in the traditional Constance story, but he kept Trivet's version of the opening since incest was to be a central theme in both "Apollonius" and Book 8 of CA. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 7.1]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis

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