Gower Bibliography

Die Wirkungen der Rhythmus in der Sprache von Chaucer und Gower

Bihl, Josef. "Die Wirkungen der Rhythmus in der Sprache von Chaucer und Gower." Heidelberg: Carl Winters, 1916

Review

Bihl sees Chaucer and Gower's language as the culmination of the gradual fusion of English and French (and to a lesser degree Latin). Both metrically and grammatically, Gower is more conservative and archaic, while Chaucer is more progressive. Chaucer uses everything that has "Kraft und Leben" (power and life) and is the fountain of language, at least until Shakespeare. However, Bihl's main thesis has less to do with general differences between the two authors (most of the book describes only minor differences), and more with the effect of rhythm and rhyme on grammar and diction. Bihl argues that "Der Rhythmus wirkt also night nur als ein erhaltendes, sondern auch als ein neu schöpfendes Agens" ("Rhythm also does not work only as an agent of conservation, but also as one that creates anew"; 3). For example, since Middle English has a substantial hoard of synonyms and alternate word forms (e.g., coroun – croune), each poet's diction heavily depends on the constraints of versification. In addition, the accentuation of syllables is unregulated, which further increases the poet's versatility (especially Chaucer's). To demonstrate this thesis, Bihl's work is organized into five chapters: chapter 1 deals with syllabification and touches on the final –e, elision, and syncopation; chapter 2 examines meter and stress (where again Chaucer is more flexible than Gower), chapter 3 looks at word formation, particularly in relation to affixes (where aphesis occurs) and suffixes; chapter 4 reveals what remains of the old declensions in the late fourteenth century; and chapter 5 treats the subject of syntax. [CvD]

Item Type:Book
Subjects:Language and Word Studies
Style, Rhetoric, and Versification

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