Gower Bibliography

Illustrations of the Lives and Writings of Gower and Chaucer collected from authentic documents

Todd, Rev. Henry J. "Illustrations of the Lives and Writings of Gower and Chaucer collected from authentic documents." London: Woodfall, 1810

Review

Gower figures prominently in sections 2-4 of Todd's work, as well as in his Introduction. Todd points out that he usually deals with Gower before Chaucer, not because he gives "precedence in respect to talents" (xxvi), but because of "chronological propriety" (xxvi); later writers generally considered Gower to have been the senior and, to some extent, prior writer. Section 2 provides a copy of Gower's will, along with a deed from 1346, witnessed by a John Gower (and to which another hand, at least a century later, added "Sr. John Gower the Poet"). In the Introduction (see especially xii-xxi), Todd argues that the poet's bequests in his will show his wealth and opulence. The will also suggests that Gower was nobly born, which he must have been if he was able to study in the Inns of Court. The deed in section 2 further demonstrates that he was of the House of Stitenham in Yorkshire. Section 3 provides an overview of the extant manuscripts of Gower's work, with descriptions of their contents and history. Special attention is given to the CB, from which a number of ballads are transcribed. Todd also suggests that the MO is no longer extant, and that prior critics have mistaken it for the Traitie (111). One additional Gower manuscript is mentioned amid the discussion of Chaucer's works (127). Section 4 of Todd's book includes the dedication and preface from Berthelet's 1532 edition of the CA; the Tale of the Caskets (from Book 5); a short selection from Book 6 (about gratification derived from the sense of hearing); and some commentary. In his comments, Todd compares The Tale of the Caskets to various analogues. He also argues that the selection from Book 6 shows Gower's skill as a poet (Todd compares him to Milton), and as a lover of romances. There are, finally, a few sporadic references to Gower in the rest of Todd's work (see, for instance, the discussion of Gower's contribution to the Flower and the Leaf debate (275-80). [CvD]

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations
Vox Clamantis
Cinkante Balades
Biography of Gower
Facsimiles, Editions, and Translations
Confessio Amantis
Traité pour Essampler les Amants Marietz
Manuscripts and Textual Studies
Mirour de l’Omme (Speculum Meditantis)

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