Gower Bibliography

The Language of Gower.

Samuels, M.L and Smith, J.J. "The Language of Gower." Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 82 (1981), pp. 295-304. ISSN 0028-3754


Discusses the manuscript tradition of Gower's English poems, and selects the Fairfax and Stafford MSS of the Confessio Amantis for a fresh examination of the dialect. The results of this examination show that Gower's language combined features of two entirely separate regional dialects, which can each be pinpointed, one in a narrowly delimited area of N. W. Suffolk. This result is then found to tally exactly with external historical evidence concerning the Gower family. The article concludes with a brief discussion of some of the implications the evidence of Gower's mixed dialect has for our understanding of late 14th-century speech patterns in and around London. [PN. Copyright the John Gower Society. JGN 4.2] This socio-linguistic study, based ona new language analysis of readings in the Fairfax and Stratford MSS., discusses the relationships of the MSS. of the Confessio Amantis and In Praise of Peace an concludes it is questionable that Gower's English is that of the court at London or that of Chaucer. Linguistic features isolated here suggest two distinct authorial dialectical strata: N.W. Kentish and S.W. East Anglian (localized in the triangle in S.W. Suffolk bounded by Bury St. Edmunds, Clare, and Lavenham). The study thus suggests the linguistic hypothesis of two separate regional influences in Gower's upbringing. The hypothesis is confirmed by the external fact that Gower's family owned land at Kentwall (within the noted triangle) and at Otford in N.W. Kent. Included are three MS, stemmata and a dialectical map. [Douglas J. McMillan. Copyright the John Gower Society. JGN 2.2]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Language and Word Studies
Biography of Gower

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata