Gower Bibliography

The Fifteenth-Century Portuguese and Castilian Translations of John Gower, 'Confessio Amantis'

Santano Moreno, Bernardo. "The Fifteenth-Century Portuguese and Castilian Translations of John Gower, 'Confessio Amantis'." Manuscripta 35 (1991), pp. 23-34.


Santano Moreno offers important new evidence on the dates of both the surviving Castilian translation of CA by Juan de Cuenca and the lost Portuguese translation of Robert Payn on which it was based. It has been assumed that the Portuguese version was done during the reign of João I (1385-1433), who was married to Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt (ob. 1413). Santano Moreno finds, however, that the Spanish translator's rendering of Gower's "an hundred pounds" (CA 5.2719) as "seys çientas coronas" corresponds almost precisely to the rate of exchange fixed by decree during the first years of João's successor, King Duarte (1433-38), who was also well known for his own literary activity. Such a date is not inconsistent with what is known about the life of Robert Payn. Duarte is also known to have corresponded with his cousin Juan II of Castile about their common interests in literature, accounting for the subseqeunt transmission of the work into Spain. Santano Moreno cites Juan de Cuenca's reference to himself as a "vesjno de la çibdad de Huete" to demonstrate that the Castilian translation could not have been done before 1428, the year in which Huete first received a royal charter. He also provides a new date for the single surviving manuscript: where it has been believed until now that was written between 1400 and 1450, Santano Moreno maintains on the basis of the watermarks and the hand that it must date from the last decades of the fifteenth century. In the course of his argument, Santano Moreno summarizes most that has previously been written about the two translations, and he provides a bibliography. His essay is now the best place to begin for anyone interested in the transmission of Gower's work outside of England. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 10.2] [This article also appears as "Some Observations on the Dates and Circumstances of the Fifteenth-Century Portuguese and Castilian Translations of John Gower's 'Confessio Amantis'." SELIM 1 (1991): 106-22.]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Facsimiles, Editions, and Translations
Confessio Amantis

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