Gower Bibliography

Authors in Love: The Exegesis of Late-Medieval Love-Poets

Minnis, Alastair J.. "Authors in Love: The Exegesis of Late-Medieval Love-Poets." In The Uses of Manuscripts in Literary Studies: Essays in Memory of Judson Boyce Allen. Ed. Morse, Charlotte Cook and Doob, Penelope Reed and Woods, Majorie Curry. Studies in Medieval Culture (31). Kalamazoo: Western Michgan University, 1992, pp. 161-89.


Minnis is concerned with the sort of authority that derives from authorship as viewed by scholastic commentators in the late Middle Ages. "Can one be an author and be in love?" he asks, as he examines how vernacular poets sought validation in auctoritas while writing about love and the effects of love. Gower is one of several authors he examines, along with Juan Ruiz, the anonymous author of the commentary on "Les Echecs Amoureux," the participants in the querelle de la Rose, and commentators on Dante (including the poet himself). Gower imitated one of the formal devices that had been used to create auctoritas in earlier writers when he attached an "extrinsic prologue," dealing with wisdom generally, to the beginning of his work. He also provided his poem with its own commentary, in the form of Latin marginal glosses, which distinguish between the poet and the persona who is the victim of love, and which adopt a strict and consistently moral view of the characters in the tales. Rather than an opposition between the glosses and the English text, Minnis prefers to speak of an "interpretive distance": the English poem offers an abundance of genuine "lore," while the gloss sometimes only anticipates ethical views made clearer somewhat later, and "consolidates" the moral views of the English text. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 14.2]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Confessio Amantis
Manuscripts and Textual Studies

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata