Gower Bibliography

John Gower’s Reputation: Literary Allusions from the Early Fifteenth Century to the Time of 'Pericles'.

Gilroy-Scott, Neil W. "John Gower’s Reputation: Literary Allusions from the Early Fifteenth Century to the Time of 'Pericles'." Yearbook of English Studies 1 (1971), pp. 30-47.

Review

In the two centuries after Gower's death, the poet's name is mentioned respectfully alongside that of Chaucer. However, Gower had not nearly the same popular appeal. There are three main reasons for this difference: Gower wrote two extended works in French and in Latin; he concerned himself greatly with the welfare of his country in his works; and he distributed copies of his works primarily to eminent men in church and state, thereby limiting their general dissemination. Initial references to Gower are brief, and most are influenced by Chaucer’s allusion to "moral Gower" at the end of Troilus and Criseyde. From there Gilroy-Scott traces Gower's influence through the Scottish Chaucerians, Caxton, Skelton, Berthelet, Puttenham, Sir Philip Sidney, Robert Greene (at some length), and Shakespeare (in Pericles). Gower is generally praised for his morality (although some severe voices object to the lust of Venus) and commended for his compendious knowledge. Nevertheless, with the passage of time his rhymes are increasingly seen as "quaint" and by the time of Shakespeare he has become "an antique figure endowed with a measure of rustic wisdom" (47). Lacking popular appeal, Gower was eventually assigned to "the preserve of the scholar and antiquarian" (47). [CvD]

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

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