Gower Bibliography

Gower, Chaucer and the Art of Repentance in Robert Greene's Vision

Dimmick, Jeremy. "Gower, Chaucer and the Art of Repentance in Robert Greene's Vision." Review of English Studies 57 (2006), pp. 456-73. ISSN 0034-6551


Many Gowerians were first introduced to Robert Greene's 1594 Greenes Vision, with its presentation of a fictionalized debate between Gower and Chaucer, by Helen Cooper's delightful essay in Echard's Companion to Gower (see JGN 24, no. 1). Dimmick pursues the analysis of Greene's work in greater depth. From his own abstract: "The guest appearances by Chaucer and Gower in Greenes Vision reflect a fifteenth- and sixteenth-century tradition of paired citation; here they represent rival literary values and styles, exploited by Greene in a complex and playful mock-repentance. While Greene claims to be moving away from a licentious, Chaucerian comedy, he is really expanding his range to incorporate the farcical vein of the recently published anonymous Cobler of Canterburie, and the tale offered by Gower as a corrective to the former follies of Greene's pen in fact closely resembles his earlier romances. Within the vision the authority of both the poets is dismissed when King Solomon appears to reject every study except Theology; what appears to be a dramatic conversion from folly to wisdom is in fact a much more playful and unstable piece in which all claims to literary authority come to look suspect." Despite the wildly inaccurate portrayal of Gower in this rivalry and the lack of any evidence of any actual stylistic influence on the tale that Greene attributes to him, Dimmick suggests that the entire presentation is based on a "genuine critical engagement" with the issues of morality and authority that are posed in both Chaucer's and Gower's works. [PN. COpyright The John Gower Society. JGN 26.1]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Influence and Later Allusion

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