Gower Bibliography

Poet and Scribe in the Manuscripts of Gower's Confessio Amantis

Nicholson, Peter. "Poet and Scribe in the Manuscripts of Gower's Confessio Amantis." In Manuscripts and Texts: Editorial Problems in Later Middle English Literature. Ed. Pearsall, Derek. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1987, pp. 130-142.


Summary provided by the author: "Macaulay's account of the textual history of CA, particularly of the evolution of its three "recensions," depends on his assumption that Gower himself supervised the copying of the early MSS of his work. A close examination of the Fairfax and Stafford MSS, the earliest copies of "recension three" and "recension two," reveals that each is the complex product of several different layers of textual history, in none of which is Gower's own hand absolutely clear. Gower's revision of the poem, therefore, did not necessarily take place in the stages that are embodied in the surviving copies, and though it will make the job of Gower's next editor immensely more complicated, we must distinguish between the history of these MSS and the history of the text." [JGN 6.1]

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Confessio Amantis
Manuscripts and Textual Studies

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata