Gower Bibliography

Incest and Moral Poetry in Gower's Confessio Amantis.

Benson, C. David. "Incest and Moral Poetry in Gower's Confessio Amantis." Chaucer Review 19 (1984), pp. 100-109. ISSN 0009-2002


Chaucer's Man of Law correctly reads Gower's intent in treating incest, that is, as sin unmitigated by "lawe of kinde." The story of Canace and Machaire, often cited as evidence of Gower's acceptance of natural responses when followed in innocence, is better understood as "the essential image" of the "wild aberration of sexual love." Since Chaucer never offers us characters who finally abandon themselves in passion, Gower's courage exceeds his friend's here; yet because of his willingness to portray passion directly, Gower "seems unable to provide any practical penitential 'remedy' for those enslaved by such sins." As a result, CA is a flawed penitential effort, although "a more complex literary achievement than we might expect from 'moral' Gower. [PN. Copyright the John Gower Society. JGN 4.2]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Confessio Amantis

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