Gower Bibliography

The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History.

Hudson, Anne. "The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History." Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988


Hudson considers Gower alongside of Chaucer, Trevisa, and Langland in her chapter on "The Context of Vernacular Wycliffism," in this detailed and in many respects eye-opening new survey of the growth and influence of the Lollard movement (pp. 408-11). Gower seems to have had little knowledge of the details of Wycliffe's doctrine, she concludes, though he criticizes Lollardy in CA (Prol. and Book 5) and in the later Carmen super Multiplici Viciorum Pestilencia for the threat it poses to the unity of the faith. She also perceives a modification of Gower's own criticism of the church between Book 3 of VC and the composition of CA. The former contains some substantial anticlerical satire; in CA, however, Gower has evidently become more circumspect, and the passages on the failings of the church are "muted" and relatively short. ronically, Gower later dedicated a copy of VC to Archbishop Arundel, who as the scourge of the Lollards came to take even such criticism of the church as Gower offers as exceptionable; and as Macaulay noted, despite his own defense of orthodoxy, Gower seems to come very close to advocating the Wycliffite doctrine of dominion. Hudson's entire book is of interest as background to Gower, if only because the richness of her survey makes clear how far removed the poet was from the actual theological issues of the time. See also the detailed review by David C. Fowler, SAC 12 (1990): 296-305. [PN. Copyright The John Gower Society. JGN 10.1]

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Backgrounds and General Studies
Vox Clamantis
Minor Latin Poetry
Confessio Amantis

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata