Gower Bibliography

The Exemplum As Legal Case: John Gower and the Limits of the Law.

Van Dyk, Conrad J. "The Exemplum As Legal Case: John Gower and the Limits of the Law." PhD thesis, University of Western Ontario, 2007.


This thesis examines the legal aspects of the writings of the fourteenth-century poet John Gower, with particular attention paid to his Confessio Amantis. The first chapter discusses the generic similarities between the legal case and the exemplum and argues that Gower frequently uses the exemplum to analyze difficult legal questions. The three subsequent chapters elaborate on the types of legal problems that Gower broaches, ranging from questions of jurisdiction in international law (the legal status of emperor, pope and king) in chapter two, to the constitutional powers of the king in chapter three, to the legality of private vengeance in chapter four. In the process a number of other legal topics are also analyzed, such as key jurisprudential concepts (e.g., equity and the rigor iuris) and aspects of criminal law (particularly treason, felony, and malice aforethought). Whereas Gower's association with the law has traditionally been approached through biographical readings (the life records), this thesis attempts to broaden our understanding of the legal dimension of his literary writings.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International 69A.02 (2008)
Subjects:Confessio Amantis

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