Gower Bibliography

Transformations in Gower's Tale of Florent and Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale

Beidler, Peter G. "Transformations in Gower's Tale of Florent and Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale." In Chaucer and Gower: Difference, Mutuality, Exchange. Ed. Yeager, R.F.. ELS Monograph Series (51). Victoria, B.C.: English Literary Studies, 1991, pp. 100-114.

Review

Undertakes a detailed, point by point comparison of Gower's and Chaucer's tales--the portrayal of the hero, the nature of his crime, the terms of his quest, his behavior both before and after his marriage, his final choice, and the concluding "disenchantment"--in order to bring to light the authors' separate purposes, and to defend the notion that Gower's tale has a logic and beauty of its own, however different from Chaucer's. The principal difference between the two embraces their moral purpose and their use of transformation: in Beidler's words: "Gower has Genius tell the Tale of Florent as a means of transforming Amans, a character outside the tale, into a man worthy of a good woman's love, while Chaucer, on the other hand, has Alice tell the 'Wife of Bath's Tale' to illustrate how a lusty young knight inside the tale is transformed into a man worthy of a good woman's love. . . . Gower's tale demontrates how a cautious and near-perfect knight does behave in a dangerous and hostile situation, whereas Chaucer's tale shows how an impulsive and most imperfect knight learns how to behave in a far less threatening situation" (pp. 100-101). Gower's is a more straightforward sort of romance, while Chaucer's might be seen as a feminist parody of the traditional romance form. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 11.1]

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

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata