Gower Bibliography

A History of Anglo-Latin Literature 1066-1422.

Rigg, A. G.. "A History of Anglo-Latin Literature 1066-1422." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992

Review

Gower is given more than six pages (286-93) in Rigg's new survey, compared to the one-sentence than he gets in the epilogue to F.J.E. Raby's History of Secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages (2 vols., 1934). The importance of this new book, however, lies neither in the prominence that it gives to Gower, nor even in what Rigg has to say about Gower's works, but in the company in which Gower appears here. The six-page account is mostly summary, of VC, TC, and the shorter Latin poems, with some pertinent critical comment and some description of the Latin passages in CA as well. But who other than Rigg would have thought of declaring that VC is "the first substantial Anglo-Latin work in unrhymed elegiac couplets since Henry of Avranches," and where else but here can one turn to find out who Henry of Avranches was, and what he wrote? Rigg surveys over one hundred named authors in this book, most of whom are entirely neglected in all conventional accounts of "English literature," plus an uncounted number of anonymous writers. For each, the description is necessarily brief, but well illustrated with excerpts, and alert both to the special qualities of each author and to his or her place in the literature of the time. The arrangement is chronological, and each chapter begins with a brief but useful account of the political and literary context of the period. What is most remarkable about all this is the sense of a history that Riggs is able to create, in contrast to the isolation in which so many writers in English seem to have worked during most of this time. And not only does Gower's Latin writing appear much less of an anomaly, but one begins to notice parallels to Gower's work in Rigg's account of some of his predecessors, suggesting whole new areas of research for future scholars for whom Rigg's book will be an indispensable vade mecum. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 12.2]

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Vox Clamantis
Minor Latin Poetry
Cronica Tripertita

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