Gower Bibliography

John Gower's Illustrative Tales.

Shaw, Judith. "John Gower's Illustrative Tales." Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 84 (1983), pp. 437-447. ISSN 0028-3754


"Recent critical studies of the Confessio Amantis tend to see the tales as reflections of the major thematic patterns of the poem while ignoring their more immediate function as illustrations of the vices and virtues. And yet, as a comparison of John Gower's second exemplum contra presumption with its source makes clear, it is the nature of the particular sub-sin or virtue being illustrated that determines what other functions a given exemplum will serve. For this reason, any reading of the poem must begin by placing the tales within the sin framework before expanding to consider them in other contexts. A similar emphasis on individual morality is evident in Gower's social and political theories, making the exemplum, with its multileveled construction, a fitting vehicle for Gower's personal philosophy." [Author's summary. JGN 3.2]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata