Gower Bibliography

The Love Debate Tradition in the Reception of Gower's Confessio Amantis in the Iberian Peninsula

Quejigo, Grande and Javier, Francisco and Santano Moreno, Bernardo. "The Love Debate Tradition in the Reception of Gower's Confessio Amantis in the Iberian Peninsula." Disputatio 5 (2002), pp. 103-126.


The authors address the appearance of CA in Portuguese and Castilian—the unique instance of the translation of an English poem into either language in the Middle Ages—by demonstrating how the Confessio fits into the tradition of works intended for the education of the nobility in the Iberian peninsula in the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries. They use as their principal points of comparison the Arcipreste de Hita’s Libro de Buen Amor and Don Juan Manuel’s Conde Lucanor. The external evidence that all three works responded to the same educational and cultural need is the presence of both Spanish texts in the library of King Duarte of Portugal, who also owned the only surviving copy of the Portuguese translation of the Confessio. The internal evidence consists of the similarities in form and theme and in their assimilation of Latin and vernacular models for educational purposes. All three make use of narration within a frame. The Libro de Buen Amor consists of a dialogue between a dejected lover and Amor into which the author has inserted a series of exempla and discussions of moral topics. Many of the exempla are drawn from Ovidian sources, and they are typically preceded by a passage of doctrinal exposition and followed by a brief moral explanation, as in the Confessio, and they include both positive examples and exempla ex contrario, the procedure that Gower follows in presenting Amans as guilty of the wrong sort of love in his poem’s conclusion. The exempla in El Libro de Buen Amor are more evenly balanced between the disputants than in CA, however. In its use of the confession frame CA is closer to the Conde Lucanor, which also incorporates moral exempla but within a question and answer structure that is more typical of works intended for the education of nobles. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 23.2]

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

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