Gower Bibliography

Reading for the Moral: The Ethics of Exemplarity in Middle English Literature (John Gower, Geoffrey Chaucer)

Mitchell, J. Allan. "Reading for the Moral: The Ethics of Exemplarity in Middle English Literature (John Gower, Geoffrey Chaucer)." PhD thesis, Dalhousie University, 2003.

Review

"I argue that John Gower and Geoffrey Chaucer engage in a case-based ethics, or moral casuistry, which has roots in traditions of Aristotelian ethics and Ciceronian rhetoric passed down through the Middle Ages in a wide variety of philosophical, rhetorical, and homiletic sources. Focusing on Gower's Confessio Amantis and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, I claim that the fourteenth-century poets presuppose an approach to discovering practical precepts that depends on both the rhetoric of exemplarity and the deliberation of readers. The thesis is therefore an interdisciplinary investigation into the ethical and aesthetic qualities of early English literature. As a metaethical inquiry, my study inaugurates a critique of the notion that morality in the Middle Ages was invariably restricted to a uniform system of values, a naive conception of divine-command, or prescriptive ideological statements." [JGN 23.1]

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International 64.1 (2003): 155A.
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata