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.
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]
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|Subjects:||Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations|
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