Gower Bibliography

Monstrous Anxieties: Reading Mirabilia in Chaucer and His Contemporaries (Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Sir John Mandeville)

Lightsey, Robert Scott. "Monstrous Anxieties: Reading Mirabilia in Chaucer and His Contemporaries (Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Sir John Mandeville)." PhD thesis, University of Delaware, 2001.

Review

“My dissertation explores the depiction of marvels and wonders in fourteenth-century English literature. I argue that late medieval representations of mirabilia -- such as Chaucer's flying Horse of Brass, the monstrous body of King Alexander, and Eastern wonders like Mandeville's automated peacocks -- reflect the preliminary stages of what would become in the seventeenth century a clockwork universe. . . . Chapter four expands on the notion of man's transgressive technological progress through a reading of John Gower's use of marvels and hybrid monsters in the story of Alexander the Great, representations of whom reflect the uncertain new position of man in the universal machine. . . . Throughout the study I examine how traditional marvel-stories were rationalized in transmission, in effect becoming readings of older marvel-texts that render former wonders into mundane, self-consciously portrayed hybrids of myth and science. My object is to balance the metaphor and the reality of the clockwork universe of the later fourteenth century in order to reveal new avenues for the consideration of the period's vital and lively intercourse with mirabilia." [JGN 21.1]

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International 62.5 (2001): 1845A.
Subjects:Confessio Amantis

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