Gower Bibliography

'Peised Evene in the Balance': A Thematic and Rhetorical Topos in the Confessio Amantis

Cooper, Helen. "'Peised Evene in the Balance': A Thematic and Rhetorical Topos in the Confessio Amantis." Mediaevalia 16 (1993), pp. 113-139.


Adopts a sober view of the morality of CA. Following Fisher and Porter, Cooper sees Gower as preoccupied with disorder, both in society and in the individual. One of the major images that he counterposes to disorder in CA is that of balance, particularly as represented in the two pans of the scale which, when equal, are also stable. Gower expresses this concept not only in his specific allusions to weighing and to scales but also rhetorically, in his use of what Cooper calls "parison," the "balancing" of units of similar length and similar syntactic function. Gower's use of the device in CA is far more frequent than in his French or Latin works, perhaps because of the nature of the language, perhaps because of the possibilities afford by the four-stress line and Gower's use of couplets rather than stanzas. But it is also, she asserts, related to the dominant thematic concerns of the poem, and she goes on to provide literally dozens of examples in which Gower uses the device in thematically significant contexts. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 13.1]

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Guest issue edited by Robert F. Yeager.
Subjects:Style, Rhetoric, and Versification
Confessio Amantis

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