Gower Bibliography

John Gower's Use of the "Mediaeval Ovid" in Confessio Amantis

Mainzer, Conrad. "John Gower's Use of the "Mediaeval Ovid" in Confessio Amantis." Medium Ævum 41 (1972), pp. 215-222.


Mainzer argues for Gower's usage of medieval texts of Ovid's Metamorphoses, Fasti, Heroides, and Ibis for many of the exempla in the CA. Much of the body of Mainzer's essay consists of a series of close comparisons between Gower's Ovidian tales and their equivalents in Ovid's Metamorphoses and various versions of the Ovide Moralisé. By means of verbal parallels and shared narrative details a picture emerges of extensive borrowing from the medieval adaptations of Ovid. In addition, Gower appears to get the names of Eolen (Hercules' love interest) and Arrons (Tarquin's son) from some thirteenth-century glossed manuscripts of the Fasti. Similarly, Gower's telling of the story of "Demophon and Phyllis" was likely influenced by medieval commentaries on the Heroides, even though he could have borrowed the same details from Boccaccio's Genealogia Deorum. Lastly, Gower's knowledge of a glossed version of the Ibis may be established by his substitution of Dionysius in the place of Diomedes as the tyrant condemned in Book 7 for feeding human flesh to his horses. [CvD]

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

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