Gower Bibliography

A study of 'Apollonius of Tyre': Three English Adaptations of an Ancient Greek Romance

Achorn, John Howard. "A study of 'Apollonius of Tyre': Three English Adaptations of an Ancient Greek Romance." PhD thesis, University of Toronto, 1998.

Review

“This thesis involves three English versions of Apollonius of Tyre: the Old English translation (OE) of the Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri (HA), John Gower's version (CA) in the Confessio Amantis, and Shakespeare's Pericles. I discuss the social climate surrounding the production of each work and then concentrate on the tale's restorative property, particularly as it relates to gender issues. “Because HA represents the ‘architext’ of all subsequent versions, my Introduction fo-cuses on it. I compare HA to five extant Greek romances of an earlier period to ascertain what features they share, and to determine what distinguishes HA. HA's affiliation with hagiography proves especially instructive. The story's Providential motif is the source of the story's restorative power. However, along with this motif comes the potential for subversive content. This thesis examines the extent to which each text handles these seemingly divergent aims. “OE contains additional Christian resonances. As a result, the Providential motif becomes more evident. However, OE also retains the emphasis HA places on female rights, and therefore proves subversive of the norm. In contrast, Gower's text seeks to restore a Golden Age, one saturated in patristic ideals. The Providential motif is elaborate, but since CA seeks to reclaim past order, the subversive element gets quelled. Shakespeare revitalizes it. He gives voice to orthodoxy by means of his choric figure, but also raises questions about the ade-quacy of this figure and insists upon the value of femininity. “In the final analysis, all three versions prove restorative. CA offers hope by giving a clear message about the truth of Providence: despite the vagaries of fortune, Appolinus’s life has meaning in the end. OE and Pericles have a restorative effect, too, only these works achieve this effect in a different way. Both contain Providential overtones, but more importantly, by presenting a liberal view towards women's rights and by projecting current institu-tions as harmful to the welfare of a nation, both inspire a healthy rejection of patriarchal norms.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International 59 (1999): 4432A.
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Confessio Amantis

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