Gower Bibliography

Poetics of the Past, Politics of the Present.

Urban, Malte. "Poetics of the Past, Politics of the Present." PhD thesis, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 2005.

Review

The thesis examines the poetics and politics of 'olde bokes' (Legend of Good Women, G25) in selected works by Chaucer and Gower, paying particular attention to the way in which both writers appropriate their sources and the theories of history and political ideas informing these appropriations. It argues that Chaucer eschews metanarratives in his appropriations of the past and its writings, emphasizing the multiplicity of voices that are contained in written discourse across time. In contrast, Gower, while acknowledging the presence of multiple voices, appropriates the writings of the past in an attempt to arrive at a harmonized poetic voice of his own. These poetics of the past result in different politics of the present in both writers' work. While Gower's politics are generally nostalgic and conservative, Chaucer is apolitical and primarily interested in the processes of political discourse. In this respect, Gower is a writer who strives to make sense of history and tradition and formulate poignant political statements in the face of contemporary struggles, whereas Chaucer does not offer unambiguous statements, but rather creates a multi-facetted poetic voice that highlights the reasons why such statements are impossible to achieve in the face of discursive heterogeneity." [JGN 27.1]

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Subjects:Backgrounds and General Studies
Sources, Analogues, and Literary Relations

Gower Bibliography Editors Only: edit metadata