Gower Bibliography

The Tale of Ceïx and Alceone: Alceone's Agency and Gower's 'Audible Mime'

Krummel, Miriamne Ara. "The Tale of Ceïx and Alceone: Alceone's Agency and Gower's 'Audible Mime'." Exemplaria 13 (2001), pp. 497-528. ISSN 1041-2573


Reading Gower's tale of "Ceix and Alceone" alongside its analogue in Ovid (Metamorphoses, Book 11), Machaut ("Le Dit de la Fonteinne Amoureuse"), and Chaucer (BD), Krummel finds two key alterations. First, where the three earlier versions all have Ceix himself speak to Alceone in her dream, Gower has "Ithecus" and "Panthasas" provide her with a re-enactment of the storm and of the sinking of Ceix's ship. Krummel describes what Alceone observes in her dream as an "audible mime," and she places it in the context of the history of silent mimetic performance in the Middle Ages. Because of this performance, Rummel also asserts, Alceone is given a more active role, acting upon what she sees and less under the direct control of Ceix and his instructions, which is part of "Gower's more general subversion of the patriarchal and hegemonic script" (506) also evident in Gower's greater care to have the dream appear in response to Alceone's direct request for information about her husband. In combination, she concludes, Alceone's agency and the vision itself, which steers away from any overtly religious comment even though it is directly concerned with death, perform their own act of "silent speaking,"for they require us to read the poem "without the filtering distortions of a clerical prism"(498). [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 21.1]

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

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