Gower Bibliography

Traitors and Lovers: The Politics of Love in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women, Gower's Confessio Amantis and Usk's Testament of Love

Hanrahan, Michael. "Traitors and Lovers: The Politics of Love in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women, Gower's Confessio Amantis and Usk's Testament of Love." PhD thesis, Indiana University, 1995.

Review

"My dissertation . . . examines the literary preoccupation with amorous infidelity that flourished during the 1380's. This decade was, not coincidentally, a period that witnessed a heightened interest in treason law. By contextualizing the literary trope that links treason and love, I demonstrate how the political concerns of Chaucer, Gower and Usk are displaced and restated in another discursive register. . . . Gower's Confessio Amantis urges rulers to avoid tyranny and false counsel by shunning lechery. The Confessio thus offers an art of love as a manual of advice for rulers: by depicting deviant forms of love as treason, the poem links sexual regulation and good governance. In the Confessio, Amans' sexual reform serves as an example for Richard II to emulate. This seemingly innocuous example ultimately aligns Gower's poem with the rhetoric of subversion that alleged the transgressive sexual practices of Richard's court. Given the political environment in which these texts were written, treason in love acquires a referentiality that exceeds its literary locus. By historicizing the literary trope, I show how these writers' treatments of amorous infidelity situate their texts in the unstable and treacherous world of Ricardian politics." [JGN 15.1]

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International 56(1995): 2248-A.
Subjects:Confessio Amantis

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