Gower Bibliography

Gower's Geta and the Sin of Supplantation

Wright, Stephen K.. "Gower's Geta and the Sin of Supplantation." Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 87 (1986), pp. 211-217. ISSN 0028-3754


Gower derived his tale of "Geta and Amphitrion" (CA 2.2459-95) from the "Geta" of Vitalis of Blois, a widely circulated twelfth-century Latin comedy roughly contemporary with the "Comedia Babionis," from which Gower drew his tale of "Babio and Croceus" (5.4808-62), and the "Pamphilus," borrowings from which have been detected in both MO and VC. The roles of the male characters have been altered in Gower's version, however. Either he knew the source only indirectly or, more likely, he indulged in a playful misreading in which Amphitrion usurps the role of Jupiter, Geta usurps the role of his former master, and the priestly narrator himself supplants his esteemed auctor in this intentionally garbled imitation, all illustrating the sin with which Gower's exemplum is ostensibly concerned. Both Paul Olson (1986) and Roy J. Pearcy, "The Genre of Chaucer's Fabliau-Tales," in Leigh A. Arrathoon, ed., Chaucer and the Craft of Fiction (Rochester, Michigan: Solaris Press, 1986), p. 372, cite Gower's use of the "Comedia Babionis" in a discussion of the influence of the Latin comediae on Chaucer's fabliaux. Pearcy identifies a fourteenth-century English MS in which "Pamphilus," "Babio," and "Geta" all appear together, and notes that Chaucer too refers to the "Pamphilus" in his "Tale of Melibee," 1555 ff. See also Macaulay's note, "Complete Works," I: 429. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society: JGN 6.1]

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

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