Gower Bibliography

Notes on the Influence of the Secretum Secretorum.

Gilbert, Allan H. "Notes on the Influence of the Secretum Secretorum." Speculum 3.1 (1928), pp. 84-98.


Gilbert's article examines the influence of the Secretum Secretorum (SS) on Book 7 of the CA (84-93) and on Hoccleve's Regement of Princes (93-98). Whereas Macaulay suggested that Gower is indebted to the SS only for "scattered fragments" (85), Gilbert argues not only for additional verbal parallels, but also suggests an important structural similarity. Just as Gower's division of philosophy into three parts is derived from Brunetto Latini, so Gower's five points of policy in the second half of Book 7 are likely based on some version of the SS that is no longer extant. In Gower's marginal Latin, two of the points are spoken of as policies "principum regiminis" or "ad principis regimen," and the SS was frequently referred to by the title De Regimine Principum (86). The point of policy that receives the most attention from Gilbert is Liberality, which Gower calls "largitas" in the Latin, following the SS rather than, for instance, the medieval translation of Aristotle's Ethics (used by Aquinas) where the term liberalitas is employed (88). After also dealing with passages from the sections on Justice, Pity, and Chastity, Gilbert concludes with some thoughts about which language Gower read the SS in. It seems likely that "Gower possessed the whole work in Latin" (93), although none of the extant versions accounts for all of Gower's borrowings. [CvD]

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

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