Gower Bibliography

Representations of the 'Third Estate': Social Conflict and its Milieu around 1381

Aers, David. "Representations of the 'Third Estate': Social Conflict and its Milieu around 1381." Southern Review (Australia) 16 (1983), pp. 335-49.


Aers sets out to assess "some major literary representations of the 'third estate'" (335) and consider how these representations reflect and foster ideological assumptions about class. In his analysis, both Langland and Chaucer interrogate traditional social hierarchy, although in different ways, while Gower (in Book 1 of VC) and Walsingham affirm it and, in doing so, reflect and promote the common late-medieval reaction to the Uprising of 1381 (Peasants' Revolt). Gower's depictions of lower-class people as bestial and anarchic, Aers asserts, indicate his "unselfreflexive, violent hatred" of these people "whose actions are seen to be conflicting with the traditional ideal of the social order" (345); like Walsingham's, Gower's social view is "unreflective, dogmatic, and appallingly self-righteousness" (347). [MA; Cited in JGN 10.1, without an abstract.]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Vox Clamantis

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