Gower Bibliography

The Allegorical Figure Genius

Knowlton, E. C. "The Allegorical Figure Genius." Modern Language Notes 39.2 (1924), pp. 89-95.


This brief article is a sequel to Knowlton's 1920 piece by the same title, published in Classical Philology. In the sequel, Knowlton focuses on the characterization of Genius after the composition of the De Planctu Naturae by Alan of Lille. Knowlton argues that after "his establishment on a lofty plane by Alan of Lille, Genius steadily altered for the worse, either in power or in morality" (95). In Jean de Meun, Genius is already portrayed more cynically, although he retains his respectable authority. Gower, afterwards, "brought him back to sober consideration by associating him directly with human beings, and accordingly deprived him of the majestic aloofness of Alan's excommunicator; still, he did not leave him as Jean's half-grotesque, vigorous demigod" (89). Knowlton further points out that Gower's Genius acts inconsistently. While Genius professes to know little except Venus's service, he provides an extensive account of knowledge in Book 7 of the CA. He also denies the divinity of Venus in Book 5. After this short exposition of Gower's Genius, Knowlton investigates the late medieval French reception of Genius, with a particular focus on Jean Lemaire and Clément Marot. [CvD]

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

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