Gower Bibliography

Gower's Women in the Confessio

Edwards, A. S. G.. "Gower's Women in the Confessio." Mediaevalia 16 (1993), pp. 223-237.


Takes issue with the prevailing critical orthodoxy that Gower showed particular compassion for his female characters. Beginning with the four virtuous women of Amans' final vision, and proceeding with a comparison between Gower's and Chaucer's treatment of some of the same figures — Thisbe, Constance, Lucrece, Virginia, Phyllis, Medea — he demonstrates that Gower's male characters receive greater attention to their feelings and greater sympathy for their suffering, that the women's feelings tend to be deflected or marginalized, that the women's situation is subordinated to that of the men around them, and that Gower's women in general tend to be defined by the way in which they affect the lives of men. Rather than being hostile to women, Edwards concludes, Gower simply appears to have felt that they were less significant than men. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 13.1]

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Guest issue edited by Robert F. Yeager.
Subjects:Confessio Amantis

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