Gower Bibliography

Some Observations on the Dates and Circumstances of the Fifteenth-Century Portuguese and Castilian Translations of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis

Santano Moreno, Bernardo. "Some Observations on the Dates and Circumstances of the Fifteenth-Century Portuguese and Castilian Translations of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis." SELIM 1 (1991), pp. 106-122.

Review

The translation of Gower's Confessio exists in one manuscript, Escorial g-ii-19, rendered in the Castilian dialect, with some evidence of an Aragonese scribe. The only extant edition is rife with errors of language and transcription, and a rare book as well, thus making the need for a reliable and available scholarly text paramount. Many salient questions remain unanswered about the Castilian MS, including especially its date and origin. Not a holograph, the Escorial copy represents the work of at least two scribes. Their exemplar was an earlier Spanish MS (now lost), itself a translation by one Juan de Cuenca of the work of Robert Payn, an Englishman resident in Portugal who rendered Gower's English into Portuguese. Neither the date of the Escorial MS, nor that of the lost Portuguese translation of Payn, has been established with certainty. Moreno presents the various proposed dates and dismisses them, calling attention to two indications in the Escorial MS itself which seem to fix de Cuenca's works as occurring between 1433 and 1435. The first date is de Cuenca's naming himself, in the first paragraph of his translation, a citizen of the city ("cibdad") of Huete, a technical reference impossible before formal incorporation of Huete in 1428. The second is the translation of Gower's monetary "an hundred pounds" (CA V, 2719) as "six hundred coronas" ("seys cientas coronas"). This Moreno argues could only have come into the Escorial MS as a direct carry-over from the Portuguese, following the establishment of the exchange rate in 1433 by King Duarte of Portugal of reaes and coroas to the English pound in quantities equating a hundred pounds to 612.5 coroas – or "coronas", in Castilian. Hence on internal grounds, Moreno places the date of de Cuenca's version of the Confessio Amantis at 1433-1435. THIS articles also appears under the title "The Fifteenth-Century Portuguese and Castilian Translations of John Gower, 'Confessio Amantis'" in Manuscript 35 (1991): 23-34. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 13.1

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Facsimiles, Editions, and Translations
Confessio Amantis
Manuscripts and Textual Studies

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