Gower Bibliography

The Dante Anecdote in Gower's Confessio Amantis, Book VII

Tarantino, Elisabetta. "The Dante Anecdote in Gower's Confessio Amantis, Book VII." Chaucer Review 39.4 (2005), pp. 420-435. ISSN 0009-2002


Gower's brief tale of Dante's rebuke of a flatterer (CA *7.2329-37), while unique in its emphasis on the power of flattery, appears to combine elements from two different previously existing anecdotes, one (as told by Petrarch, usually cited as Gower's source) recounting Dante's reply to Cangrande regarding which servant is more pleasing, playing upon the similarity between the lord and the fool that he has rewarded, and another, originally told of Marco Lombardo (see Purg. XVI), invoking a difference in material rewards and addressing the rebuke to the fool himself. Sarantino surveys and reprints the most important surviving examples of each tradition (almost all Italian), noting the several points at which they intersect. Because of the difficulty of explaining Gower's access to any of these written texts, the most economical and therefore most likely explanation of Gower's immediate source, she concludes, is an oral tradition in which the elements of the two anecdotes had already been combined, and while it requires some adjustment in our understanding of the dating of the "second recension," she proposes that one possible conduit for the oral tradition was the party of Henry of Derby, who passed through northern Italy on his return from Jerusalem in 1393. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society: JGN 25.1]

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

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata