Gower Bibliography

Notes on Gower's Prosody

Owen, Charles A., Jr.. "Notes on Gower's Prosody." Chaucer Review 28 (1994), pp. 405-13.


Owen offers his "notes" as extensions of some of the findings of Masayoshi Ito (1976) and R.F. Yeager (1990), who have been among the few to give attention to this neglected aspect of Gower's verse. Within "prosody" Owen embraces Gower's use of rhyme and his use of run-on lines, and also some instances of verbal repetition. In his discussion of rhyme, he focuses on rime riche and on what Ito calls "quasi rime riche" and Owen "identicals," that is, the use of identical syllables at the end of successive lines if not necessarily identical final words. He finds the use of rhyme in MO to be mainly decorative, despite, or perhaps because of, the use of only two rhyme sounds in each twelve-line stanza, a technical feat that recalls the difficult rhyme patterns of some of Gower's French predecessors. He gives several examples to demonstrate that in the couplets of CA, on the other hand, rhyme is frequently used to enhance the sense as well as the liveliness and colloquialism of the dialogue between Genius and Amans. Owen uses the introductory lines in Books 1, 5, and 8 to demonstrate the effectiveness of Gower's use of enjambement. He concludes with a comparison of the two different versions of Gower's final prayer: though the first is marked by a greater number of enhanced rhymes than the second, "I think there can be no question as to the improvement of the passage" (pp. 410-11). [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 14.1]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Style, Rhetoric, and Versification
Confessio Amantis
Mirour de l’Omme (Speculum Meditantis)

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata