Gower Bibliography

Producing the Middle English corpus: Confession and medieval bodies

Meyer, Cathryn Marie. "Producing the Middle English corpus: Confession and medieval bodies." PhD thesis, The University of Texas at Austin, 2006.

Review

"My dissertation explores confession as a form or structure organizing four late-medieval texts: John Gower's Confessio Amantis, Geoffrey Chaucer's Legend of Good Women, The Book of Margery Kempe and Robert Henryson's Testament of Cresseid. I find that in these medieval texts confession functions as a discourse for producing truth and for constructing or inventing textualized bodies. Therefore, in part, I approach confession through the popular medieval analogy of a "the body" to "the book" and thereby consider how confession works to represent "truth" via the figure of a Christian body divided between inner and outer space. In each of the four texts I discuss, memorable bodies emerge as effects of confessional discourse: the senex amans in the Confessio ; the suffering women of the Legend ; the chaste body of Margery Kempe; and Cresseid's leprous body in the Testament. These problematic bodies all bear out the difficulties and frequent failures of confessional representation. Ultimately, during a period of institutional collapse and social, religious, and political upheaval, I demonstrate that desire ---for truth, renewal of faith, recuperation of the fallen body, stability, closure---underlies the need to confess." Directed by Elizabeth Scala and Marjorie Curry Woods.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:Dissertation Abstracts International A68.05 (2008)
Subjects:Confessio Amantis

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