Gower Bibliography

The Elements of Chaucer's Troilus.

Wood, Chauncey. "The Elements of Chaucer's Troilus." Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1984


This study of T&C, which we ought to have noticed here somewhat sooner, is notable for its use of VC to create what Wood openly calls a "Gowerian" reading of Chaucer's poem (pp. 168-69). The passages from VC that he draws upon most heavily are the opening chapters of Book 5, on love and knighthood; Book 6, chapter 12, on the king; the indictment of contemporary England in Book 7, chapter 24; and the general treatment of free will and fortune in Books 1 and 2. Citing the dedication of T&C to "moral Gower" and the likelihood of extensive personal contacts between the two men, he argues that Chaucer could not have presented the poem to Gower if it contained a view of love radically different from the dedicatee's. He concludes that T&C, like VC, is a condemnation of illicit passion, particularly among the nobility; that like VC, it was written at least in part in response to the grave social and political disturbances of the 1370's; and that "the issues of love, freedom, marriage, and loyalty in Old Troy [in T&C] are essentially the same as those treated by John Gower in his poem Vox Clamantis about the New Troy" (p. 165). Wood refers to CA only in passing, and then implying it advances the same straightforward view of love as VC; he gives short shrift to the suggestions that Gower's reading of T&C might have inspired the more complex and more sophisticated treatment of love in CA. On at least one small point Wood may be corrected: the many references to blind ness in a poem dedicated to Gower are merely coincidental, for the Dedicatory Epistle to VC that Wood cites as evidence of Gower's blind ness (p. 162) was only added after 1399. Reviews by Ian Bishop, SAC, 7 (1985), 270-72; and A.V.C. Schmidt, Medium AEvum, 55 (1986), 135-37). [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 8.1]

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Vox Clamantis

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